|Beatle invasion of broadcast booth|
By Jim Caple
John Lennon and George Harrison were the lucky ones. They're dead, so they didn't have to see their old mate Paul McCartney singing "A Hard Day's Night" with Terry Bradshaw.
Now, I'll refrain from commenting on Bradshaw, who works for a rival network, other than pointing out that regardless of what you think about the man, Dick Vitale has never partnered with Ringo on "Yellow Submarine." But as for Paul? The man who wrote "Yesterday," "Hey Jude" and "Let it Be" singing with a former quarterback on a halftime show? Good lord. And people thought he embarrassed himself with "Pipes of Peace."
Paul also provided some inspired game analysis, commenting tritely on the possibility of a team named the Patriots winning the Super Bowl five months after Sept. 11. Yeah, man, that's wild. Now, pass the dope and crank up the Ravi Shankar tapes.
It wasn't the first time Paul has teamed up with an ex-ballplayer, though. In 1969, he and Lennon appeared on "The Tonight Show" when Joe Garagiola was the guest host. And I swear to God, I'm not making that up. That time, however, Paul pretty much limited himself to asking "Where's Johnny?" and refrained from joining Joe in a touching rendition of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
And if you think that must have been an odd show, bear in mind that Howard Cosell interviewed Lennon during "Monday Night Football," with then-California governor Ronald Reagan sitting beside him and explaining the game to him.
So perhaps we're actually lucky. Perhaps Paul and John had a deep urge to be sports broadcasters instead of musicians. What would life have been like had they followed through? They not only would have robbed us of the greatest songwriting tandem since the Gershwins, it could have given us the following disturbing broadcast booth possibilities.
Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell, Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono
COSELL: "Good evening, and welcome to Texas Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys host the Oakland Raiders in a gridiron Armageddon matching two of the most electrifying and compelling figures in modern sports today: Cowboys quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach and the dazzling, beguiling, southpaw quarterback from the Bay Area, the Raiders' Kenny ... the Snake ... Stabler. One, as straight as Kansas, conservative as Orange County, clean-cut, star-spangled hero with a powerful right arm out of the Eisenhower era, the other a left-handed, bearded, avant-garde, counter-culture cult figure more at home on San Francisco's infamous corners of Haight and Ashbury.
PAUL: "Where is Dandy Don, and what in bloody hell is she doing in me broadcast booth?"
YOKO: "You simply can't accept a strong feminine presence threatening your career, can you, you sad, pathetic little boy."
PAUL: "Oh, and I suppose John likes to wear a bloody apron and play house husband in his flat."
YOKO: "John's a genius! A genius, do you hear me, a genius!"
PAUL: "Right! And his career has sky-rocketed since he met you, 'asn't it? You broke up the greatest rock 'n' roll band in history, you know that, don't you?"
YOKO: "Linda's a cow! Linda's a cow!"
PAUL: "Oh, go wash your hair and meditate somewhere!"
COSELL: "Paul, Yoko, please. Let us behave like the consummate professionals we are!"
PAUL: "I'm the bloody professional! Not her! Where are her gold records? Where are her recording contracts? John and I were the best songwriting duo in the world, until she came along and ruined everything!" (leaves)
YOKO: (wails like a leaf blower)
COSELL: "We'll be right back with the kickoff, right after this commercial message."
WGN Presents the Chicago Cubs
HARRY CARAY: "Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field for another afternoon of Cubs baseball. It's a beautiful day for today's game, with Greg Maddux and the Cubs taking on the San Francisco Giants and starter Scott Garrelts. Sitting to my left and filling in for Steve Stone is my good friend and former Beatle, Paul McCartney."
PAUL: "Thank you, Harry. It's certainly a beautiful day here."
CARAY: "It certainly is."
CARAY: "A beautiful day."
CARAY: "Beautiful day."
PAUL: "Right. I think we've covered that pretty well."
CARAY: (after an uncomfortable pause) "Paul, I've always wondered, when you and the Beatles were on tour and you needed to unwind, did you ever enjoy a nice cold Bud or were you strictly a cannabis man?"
PAUL: "Actually, Harry, we were more into psychadelic drugs at the time."
HARRY: "That's wild. I'm a Bud Man myself."
PAUL: "So I'm told."
HARRY: "Cub Fan and a Bud Man."
PAUL: "Ummmm, don't you think we should announce the starting lineups?"
HARRY: (stares off into space)
HARRY: (begins to hum)
PAUL: "Excuse me, Harry. Are you feeling all right? Can I get you something?"
HARRY: "I am the eggman. They are the egg-men. I am the walrus. Goo, goo, g'joob, g'goo, goo, g'joob ..."
PAUL: "Yes, well. Leading off for the Giants is the center fielder, Brett Butler. Batting second and playing second, Robby Thompson ..."
ABC's College Football
KEITH JACKSON: "Hello, and welcome everyone, between the hedges at Georgia's Sanford Stadium, where Herschel Walker and the Bulldogs place their No. 1 ranking on the line against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. It's a battle that will be decided in the trenches. If Georgia's Big Uglies can clear the holes for Herschel and give quarterback Buck Belue time to throw, the Tide could be in a whoooooole peck of trouble.
"And now, let me introduce my guest-analyst, John Lennon, filling in for Frank Broyles."
JOHN: "It's such a violent game, football. Don't you think?"
JACKSON: "Err, I suppose it's physical. But what do you think of 'Bama's defensive line? Do you think they can hog-wrestle Herschel or will it be Katie, bar the door?"
JOHN: "Universities devote so much money and effort to a violent game when they could be working to create a better world. Imagine a world with no athletic departments exploiting black athletes, no boosters teaching the youth to win at all costs, no polls, no NCAA hypocrisy. It's easy if you try."
JACKSON: "Perhaps, but what does this have to do with ..."
JOHN: "And the young women on the sidelines your cameras keep focusing on, these so-called cheerleaders. Aren't they merely reinforcing a sexist and stereotypical image of subservience?"
JACKSON: "That's a barn full of big words. What path are you leading this old cow home?"
JOHN: "It's all connected, don't you see? The violence here and the wars in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan? It's all a measure of totalitarians and their insatiable desire for more territory. Just give us 10 more yards, just another 10 more yards, only 10 more yards -- there's never an end to it, is there?"
JACKSON: "Whoa, Nellie! Are you calling Bear Bryant a dictator?"
JOHN: They're all dictators, that's the bloody point! Don't you see?"
JACKSON: "Hold your hosses a minute, the Bulldogs are kicking off ... the deep man takes it at the 10 ... he's to the 20 ... the 30 ... and FUMMMMMBBBLLLE!!!!!!"
JOHN: "Looks like it's going to be a long day for 'Bama."
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.