OK, Bill: Hand over that remote!
By Chris McKendry
Page 2 columnist

Has a grandparent ever said something that just made you cringe with embarrassment? That's how I felt after hearing 83-year-old "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney say on "The Boomer Esiason Show" last week that what bugs him about television's coverage of football are "those damn women they have down on the sidelines." It's his opinion that a woman has no business trying to comment about a football game.

Andy Rooney
Despite what Andy Rooney says, there are plenty of women who know sports.
Andy's facts are wrong. Plenty of us know exactly what we're talking about when it comes to sports.

But Rooney's opinion is just that ... his opinion. He's entitled to it and, on top of that, I'm sure many other male 80-somethings share it. Does he sound sexist, almost senseless? Of course. He also sounds like someone whose generation is uncomfortable with the idea of women -- any women -- in the work force, let alone women working in high-profile positions in what has long been considered a man's industry.

Still, Andy's comments sadden me, if only because his voice is so powerful. What scares me are the 30-somethings who might agree with him.

And it's with that in mind that I ask ... has a brother or friend who also happened to be a guy ever said something that just made you burn with anger? That's how I felt after reading my cohort Bill Simmons' column called "It's a Sports Guy Thing" two weeks ago.

Bill, who's usually hilarious, was answering a reader's e-mail. Kathleen in Virginia said she was a woman who knew sports but wanted to know how to convince guys to let her watch a game with them.

Somewhere from the depths of the 1950s, Bill came up with 10 ground rules for watching sports with him and the other guys. After reading them, I found myself wondering if this was The Sports Guy ... or The Chauvinist Guy.

And, naturally, it got me thinking about the Female Sports Anchor's Seven Reasons Why Women Who Know Sports Hate Watching With Men Who Think They Invented Sports.

Jimmy Johnson
If you knew NFL personnel as well as Jimmy Johnson, you'd be in the NFL.
1. Armchair GMs
If you knew how to draft better than Jimmy Johnson or pick apart an offense better than Brian Billick, you would not be spending your days shouting obscenities at your big-screen TV. There is nothing worse than guys who second-guess every stinking move made by a franchise so that on that lone occasion when they're right, they look smart.

We're not talking about debating plays, which everyone does. We're talking about those who debate rosters and player statistics without any knowledge of a player's personality, work ethic or impact on team chemistry. In other words, without an understanding of the intangibles, armchair GMs are trying to pass off guesswork as fact. It's bravado and it's boring. By the way, successfully second-guessing Cincinnati Bengals general manager Mike Brown doesn't exactly make you a genius.

2. Overuse of the word "we"
We won. ... We stink. ... We wuz robbed. You are not on the team. It likely has been at least a decade since you ran your last wind sprint. As I've asked many times to my husband when he says "we," "Is Joe Torre calling your number next?"

3. Control freak
This speaks to remote control flipping. First of all, male or female, flipping is only fun for the person who is handling the remote. There's nothing worse than a guy who flips quickly to the next game out of frustration and without consideration for others in the room. I, for one, hate missing replays. Today's camera angles add so much to the production of a game and allow the analyst to do his best work.

Of course, if the guy with the remote thinks he knows more than the analyst, then why stick around to watch? To the remote hogs who think they knew what's best for the group, I have four words for you: I was watching that! (Well, actually five words, if I hadn't been raised so well.)

4. Guy-on-guy PDA
I do agree with Simmons that watching a game with a group of friends is no time for a lovey-dovey moment ... guy-on-guy PDA can be a bit much, too. With these type of guys, the rule seems to be: You can't hug your girl ... but you can hug, fist pump, high-five and pat your best friend on the back or butt.

I don't want to be a party pooper, because there is nothing more fun than when the whole room is into a game and screaming, but some guys just don't know when to stop. And, fellas, I think you know who you are.

Tony Gonzalez
If you don't start Tony Gonzalez in your fantasy league, you deserve to be ridiculed.
5. Fantasy leagues
Just one more way for guys to prove to themselves -- and, if it's their lucky year, to their friends -- that they know more than the GM. Fantasy league players should be open game for criticism. It's part of being an owner or GM, right? And isn't that the fantasy you bought? So, if your picks stink, everyone should know and your feelings are fair game. Or as a girlfriend of mine once said, "If a guy plays Shockey over Gonzalez, I'll laugh at him all afternoon."

6. Failure to recognize a lost cause
There is a good time to ask if a game is over. (Like, when the Jets take the field! Just kidding, dear.) When it's obviously over and time to move on to a better watch, let's not debate the point. It's just a game, time to move on. Which brings me to my big point ...

7. Failure to see sports for the simple games they are
Anyone can learn the rules of a game, the players' names and traditions. Of course, growing up surrounded by sports knowledge is the greatest benefit and usually the root of fanaticism. But they're just games.

Here's an example of what I mean: About seven years ago, I was moderating an NFL (Now for Ladies) 101 course in Washington. It was a basic introduction to football and its rules. Ron Lynn, then the Redskins defensive coordinator, was explaining how simple defensive schemes can be. He was addressing the subtleties of the nickle package, when one lady raised her hand and said, "If defense is so easy, then why do I always hear the announcer say, 'There's another blown coverage'?"

"Good question," said then-head coach Norv Turner, looking at Ron. Out of the mouth of babes.

In other words, guys who think they invented sports have an uncanny ability to take the fun out of an afternoon.

Unfortunately, it's a "skill" men -- ages 18-85 -- put to use when they fail to recognize that sports are fair game for both sexes. That's a rule that goes for those women who watch from the best seat in the house, the sidelines, or from the broken couch in your mom's basement.

Now, Bill, while you're up, would you be a doll and grab me a cold one?

SportsCenter anchor Chris McKendry is a regular columnist for Page 2.



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