Dave O’Brien Comes Out In Support of FOX Soccer’s Gus Johnson

Dave O’Brien, the sports announcer who still gives soccer fans nightmares after his dreadful World Cup 2006 calls, has come out in support of FOX Soccer’s Gus Johnson.

The promotion of Gus Johnson to FOX Soccer’s lead commentator has been met with a mixed response from soccer fans. Many have been energized by the addition of the basketball announcer to the broadcast of the world’s game. At the same time, there has been a lot of vocal opposition to his appointment from viewers who believe the quality of commentating has dipped as a result of Johnson being added.

O’Brien is in the Gus Johnson camp. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, O’Brien said:

“First of all, I think it is an inspired choice. Gus is a mainstream sports guy like me and not the first announcer I’d expect to call the World Cup. But I heard the same thing in 2006.

“There are soccer fans in the U.S. who are Premier League devotees and [are] used to British accents on game calls. There is a perception among those fans that that group of play-by-play announcers are the only ones who can best understand the game and interpret what is happening in the match. I have always disagreed with that. As long as the matches are well done and they are broadcast well, I would not care [about] the accent or nationality of the individual calling the game.

“But I think it’s a smart move to have this long of a run-up for Gus. That will benefit him tremendously. I think much of the criticism leveled at me and ESPN was predetermined. Gus has to be true to himself. Not everyone is going to love him and that’s just a fact of life when you are an American calling soccer.”

Not surprisingly, I think O’Brien has it completely wrong. It’s not the accent that is the issue. It’s a combination of knowledge, experience and authenticity that is lacking from Gus Johnson’s two games so far, and was severely lacking from O’Brien’s pitiful commentating in 2005-06.

My stance is that FOX Soccer should hire the best talent for the job. That doesn’t mean it has to be an Englishman or a Scot. It could be an American or someone from another country. Quality needs to be the main priority, not nationality.

In the case of both Gus Johnson and Dave O’Brien, the gulf in talent between those two and most soccer commentators is vast (although, to be fair, Johnson is miles better than O’Brien ever was). Johnson will improve over time, and shows far more potential than O’Brien had. But while FOX Soccer continues with the Johnson experiment, the level of commentating quality has certainly taken a nose dive.

Pages 1 2

70 Comments

  1. Dean Stell February 20, 2013
    • Dean Stell February 20, 2013
      • Mufc77 February 20, 2013
        • Wongo1 February 21, 2013
  2. Gerry Binks February 20, 2013
    • Morgan Wick February 22, 2013
  3. Frill Artist February 20, 2013
    • The Gaffer February 20, 2013
      • Frill Artist February 20, 2013
        • The Gaffer February 20, 2013
          • Frill Artist February 20, 2013
      • Larry February 21, 2013
        • The Gaffer February 21, 2013
    • Wongo1 February 21, 2013
  4. Fog February 20, 2013
    • Cantona February 20, 2013
      • The Gaffer February 20, 2013
        • BA14 February 21, 2013
          • Wongo1 February 21, 2013
    • paddy h. February 21, 2013
  5. stiglet February 20, 2013
  6. Harold February 20, 2013
  7. Todd February 20, 2013
    • paddy h. February 21, 2013
  8. rockstarbigdaddy February 20, 2013
    • Cantona February 20, 2013
    • BA14 February 21, 2013
      • Wongo1 February 21, 2013
  9. Fog February 20, 2013
  10. jtm371 February 20, 2013
    • Fog February 20, 2013
      • Guy February 21, 2013
  11. gbewing February 20, 2013
    • Frill Artist February 21, 2013
      • Cantona February 21, 2013
  12. Brian February 20, 2013
  13. Fog February 20, 2013
    • BA14 February 21, 2013
      • The Gaffer February 21, 2013
  14. trickybrkn February 21, 2013
  15. dust February 21, 2013
  16. Marc L February 21, 2013
    • Fog February 21, 2013
      • Marc L February 21, 2013
        • Fogette February 21, 2013
          • IanCransonsKnees February 21, 2013
    • jtm371 February 21, 2013
      • Guy February 21, 2013
  17. Fog February 21, 2013
    • jtm371 February 21, 2013
      • Fog February 21, 2013
        • Dust February 21, 2013
    • BA14 February 21, 2013
  18. Paul February 21, 2013
    • gbewing February 21, 2013
    • Guy February 21, 2013
    • Frill Artist February 23, 2013
      • The Gaffer February 23, 2013
  19. Guy February 21, 2013
    • The Gaffer February 21, 2013
    • gbewing February 21, 2013
      • Guy February 21, 2013
  20. Dust February 22, 2013
  21. Scrumper February 22, 2013
  22. Tom February 22, 2013
  23. Alex February 23, 2013
  24. Spurs fan February 24, 2013
  25. Mark March 7, 2013
  26. Stephen July 3, 2013
  27. john June 8, 2014

Leave a Reply