IT'S MIKE MAYOCK'S world now on Thursday nights, and we just have to despair in it.NFL Network's slogan is: "Together We Make Football." Mayock's slogan is: "By Myself I Destroy Football."For those of us who watch the NFL any time anywhere, NFL Network's weekly game is an exercise in joylessness, soiled by a Mayockian soundtrack of endless football-speak, overbearing babble and mind-boggling minutiae. It is death by a thousand small, analytical cuts.Mayock is the worst manifestation of a recent NFL jock trend - exemplified by Fox's Moose Johnston and John Lynch and CBS's Dan Dierdorf - in which a speech is delivered after every snap. Nothing is too obvious to comment on, and in Mayock's case, he speaks his own language.On Thursday nights, downfield blocks are "second-level blocks." Receivers don't jump to make catches, they "high-point the football." Players never fumble, they "put the ball on the ground."In a 15-minute span, Mayock will mention "double A-gap pressure" and "double X stunts on the inside." If a game goes to overtime, it's possible he'd make his way through the entire alphabet.Random Mayock: "And Hakeem Nicks with those big mitts. He's got as big a group of two hands as I've ever seen."Wall-to-wall Mayock is like being trapped in a telephone booth with a pregnant hyena. If a player dives over the pylon, he'll give you 20 seconds on the pylon. Heck, afforded the opportunity, he would analyze a doorknob.Mayock actually knows what he's talking about, but he doesn't know when to stop talking about it. Trying to listen to his replay breakdowns is like trying to gaze at a Rorschach test through a stained glass window.Stunningly, Mayock's TV stock is so high these days, he also serves as NBC's analyst on Notre Dame football.(Blissfully, I ignore Notre Dame telecasts, with the only chance I'd watch in the near future if the school recruits my 6-foot-5, 210-pound two-sport stepson Isaiah Eisendorf. But Isaiah's college-playing prospects probably lie with basketball rather than football. Either way - whoever wants to take him off our hands - we are looking for the "Reggie Bush package.")
Play-by-play partner Brad Nessler is a pro, but he'd be better off in a broadcasters' witness protection program than being waterboarded by Mayock every Thursday.When Tiquan Underwood made a nice catch the other night, he did "a heck of a job securing the football all the way through the contact with the ground."Random Mayock: "Nice job there by Greg Olsen working up the field, stems at the top and breaks it back out."Seriously, if someone were saying all this stuff sitting next to you in a bar while you're trying to watch a game, you'd leave the bar. If someone were saying all this stuff to you in your own home, you might put your home on the market.
If Mayock were doing commentary at a cemetery, the dead would rise and ask to be cremated.And in Mayock's rush to speak authoritatively about everything at every moment, he loves declaring countless players the best or one of the best he's ever seen. Everyone's the greatest; if Mayock ever visits the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, I assume he'd hyperventilate.
"I think Eli [Manning], when he sets his feet, he throws that slant as well as anyone in the league.""I think [Mike Tolbert] is one of the most underappreciated players in the league.""When [Sam Bradford's] got clean-feet vision, his accuracy on the deep ball is as good as anybody in football.""[Darrelle Revis] undercuts as well as any corner you'll ever see."
Random Mayock: "You want to talk about lateral jump cuts ..."I'd like to leave my beleaguered Couch Slouch community with Mayock's sound bite of the year, from the Sept. 26 49ers-Rams game. I'd give you the context, but I think it's better appreciated as a stand-alone monument to the maelstrom that is Mike Mayock:"Step. Step. Pat. Burp the baby. And now throw it."Ask The SlouchQ. My start-up company's only product is an intelligent remote that will automatically switch to mute when Tim McCarver is speaking. Will this be a broad enough market or should I program in other sportscasters? (Dave Couger; Santa Fe, N.M.)A. With McCarver alone, you're looking at back orders.Q. Wouldn't it be nice if we knew what Tim McCarver was actually trying to say versus what comes out? (Paul Gorman; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)A. My readers are very much in sync with me on McCarver.Q. So Bob Gibson used to yell at Tim McCarver to stay off of his mound. I wonder what he yells at his TV set now? (Eric Ruple; Harrisonburg, Va.)A. My anti-McCarver mailbag remains Christmas-like in volume.Q. When in New York City talking to the NFL, did the Oneida Indians also try to renegotiate the sale of Manhattan Island? (Bill Gayne; Richmond, Va.)A. Pay the man, Shirley.You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!