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Denmark Does the NFL Right

The NFL Network is not carried on cable in my particular part of the country, so I was forced to resort to unconventional means in gaining access to last night's epic battle between the Cowboys and the Packers. These included downloading and installing a shady media player (no spyware has shown up on my computer yet, thankfully) and using it to connect to a Danish broadcast, which was the actual NFL Network feed but with Danish announcers. I speak no Danish whatsoever, and therefore had no idea what these guys were saying, outside of the odd name and the occasional universal football term. But this did not prevent me from enjoying the telecast - in fact, not being able to understand most of the announcers' blather may have actually enriched the entire experience.

I learned a few things, in the process, about how the Danes cover football. First of all, I learned that the announcers are big on players' nicknames. For instance...they never referred to Terrell Owens by his full name, but only employed his famed abbreviated handle "T.O." It's possible, in fact, that the Danes do not know his full name, and think his mother actually named him T.O. And another nickname they enjoyed saying was "Neon" Deion Sanders. When Deion would show up on the sidelines doing whatever he was doing down there for the NFL Network, the Danes would start chirping about him, never failing to attach "Neon" to the front of his name, and seeming to take great joy in doing so.

The numerous otherwise indecipherable conversations about Deion taught me another thing - "shutdown corner" in Danish is "shutdown corner." The Danes, from what I could glean, think Deion was the greatest shutdown corner (I agree), and believe Champ Bailey to be the only current player worthy of being placed in his class. For some reason, cornerbacks tended to dominate the conversation overall - their hair being a matter of particular interest. Don't ask me why, but for some reason, the Danish football announcers seemed utterly fascinated with Packer corner Al Harris's dreadlocks. The conversation become so lengthy and involved, in fact, that another former dreadlocked Packer defensive back, Mike McKenzie, was brought into it. I dearly wished, at that moment, that I did speak Danish, so I could be privy to whatever it was they were actually saying about Harris and McKenzie's dreads. I only know that the conversation seemed to go on a lot longer than any discussion of hair should during a football broadcast.

The announcers, by the way, were not actually at the game, but were sitting in a little studio calling it off of the NFL Network feed. During breaks we got to see them - two tall, skinny Nordic types with Euro haircuts and a third big, non-Nordic fellow with a buzz who may or may not have once been a football player himself. It's possible that these guys' analyses of the action were brilliant, but again, I was only able to pick out the odd term like "on-side kick," spoken in a thick Scandinavian accent.

But here's what really grabbed me about all this: Rather than go to commercial every time there was a break in the action, the broadcast would cut back to these three guys and their banter. I'm quite certain this was a legit Danish TV broadcast, and yet, during the entire thing, I believe I only saw one block of ads, this during halftime. Which prompts me to ask the following question: Is this what all European television is like? Do they regularly go through a whole three-hour-plus telecast without hardly airing a single commercial? And if so, what the hell do we poor ad-bombarded Americans have to do to get access to more of this wondrous stuff?

I'm telling you, I don't care if I know what the announcers are saying - I just want to watch football without all the damn ads. I'll provide my own play-by-play (at the risk of causing my neighbors to call the men in the white coats to come haul me off). How amazingly refreshing it was not to have some beer commercial full of stereotypical babe-ogling doofuses banging me over the head anytime someone called a time-out. How wonderful not to have Geico try to sell me insurance in some bizarre way involving creepy Chatty Kathy dolls, angst-ridden Cro-Magnons or lizards that talk like British gangsters. This commercial-free broadcast - it was a revelation. I want more of it.

And yeah, it was nice not to have to listen to Bryant Gumbel either. I think they should replace that pompous dork with a gaunt, pasty-skinned, possibly stoned Danish fellow who digs dreadlocks and goes over the rainbow every time he sees Deion Sanders. The ratings could very well skyrocket.

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Rating: 5/5 (5 votes cast)


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Comments (1)

Hi there!I can assur... (Below threshold)

Hi there!
I can assure you that we also have a lot of commercials in Europe, but as Football is not really a sport many people watch there are very few commercials. When I first watched an US football broadcast I was shocked how many ad there were, I think after two games, I know them by heart.
But I also envy you that you can normally watch a lot of football, because here in Germany, the only game that is broadcasted in the whole year is the superbowl, and it starts at midnight and is over about 5 a.m. on monday, so if you have to work the next day, you can only get one hour of sleep. Lucky you! :-(


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