Sean McDonough is coming back to college football. This is a good thing because Sean McDonough might be the greatest case of an announcer clearly not made to call something he could not enjoy as an observer—i.e., Sean McDonough had to call NFL games for the past couple of years, did not take any pleasure in it, and could not despite his best veneer of professionalism hide it at all.
That’s not us guessing. That’s him, verbatim, from a radio interview this past week:
“If you go back and look at the schedule, generally we got one of the worst NFL games each week. You’re trying to make something sound interesting and exciting that isn’t,” he explained.
Note: Sean McDonough clearly does not care about ever calling the NFL again, because the notoriously thin-skinned league will hear that and assume McDonough has issues with the product on the field and beyond. His punishment will never be calling Browns/Ravens late on a cold night in November with Jon Gruden bellowing in his ear. He will also never have pro fans making fun of him for his voice cracking, which is only HIS ENTIRE PERSONALIZED FINISHING MOVE, YOU UNCULTURED HEELS.
Please, please, oh no do not throw Sean McDonough into this briar patch of inferior college football, he says, rolling his eyes the entire time. McDonough is going right back into that briar patch, of course, and that is nothing but great for college football. Sean McDonough is a very professional but unenthusiastic pro announcer, but he makes for a balanced but occasionally delirious college voice. The signature McDonough move: lie low for most of the game, and then let loose with a voice-cracking freakout if and only if the circumstances merit it.
Those examples have included, but are not limited to:
The time in 2015 when Michigan decided not to forget how to punt at the last second against Michigan State.
When Nebraska offered a gentleman’s chance for BYU to land a Hail Mary, and BYU happily accepted.
The time Alabama beat Georgia with a freshman quarterback in overtime of the college football playoff’s national championship game.
McDonough made the radio call, which is the second one here. All of these are very good, btw, including the Russian call, though for comic relief the Georgia one is still the best. The sound of both announcers choking down what just happened in front of their eyes is audible and obviously painful! It’s delightful.
Ooh! Randomly selected, of course, but McDonough called the time Jacquez Green got behind the defense and ruined Florida State’s 1997 season. (Not that we like to bring that up every chance we get.) (But we do, and will, forever.)
The downside is losing Joe Tessitore to Monday Night Football, though even there we have a silver lining. No league is less equipped to deal with time overruns and chaos than the rigid workings of the NFL, and throwing a natural chaos magnet like Joe Tess into the NFL calculus all but guarantees at least one game ending in a baffling tie next year.
Reminder: NFL games, somehow, can still end in ties. Thank goodness we have the Kansas City Tiebreaker, which is definitely not at all the football equivalent of penalty kicks. Nope. Nothing like a blatant borrowing of soccer’s kinda random way of ending the game, not one bit, because this is an American sport, and we don’t do random. Now watch this kicker line up from fifty yards away to decide an entire game played by non-kickers. NOT RANDOM AT ALL, AND TOTALLY UNLIKE SOCCER. YUP.