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Why Sometimes The Best Football Commentary Is None At All


Watching the brilliant game on Saturday between Fulham and Aston Villa — two shining examples of entertaining English football clubs outside of the Big Four, I decided to try something I occasionally do. I turned off the volume.

The results were remarkable.

Believe it or not, but you get to “see more of the game” with the volume turned off because you’re not limited by only what the commentator points out – which is usually the obvious. You’re not distracted by what the commentator says. Instead, you’re able to focus more intently on the game and find it easier to identity tactics, formations and players

Instead of being force-fed pointless statistics that really mean nothing at all and serve only to fill dead air, watching a game with the sound turned off forces your brain to pay more attention to the game so you, yourself, can make your own observations. A perfect example would be a incident in the penalty area. It’s so easy to be led by the co-commentators opinion. With the sound off, it’s easier to develop your own objective view regarding whether the incident should have been a penalty or not.

To me, watching a game of football in silence is like watching moving pictures in a dream-like state or a wonderful silent movie where you get to focus on the art of football. It worked magically for the Fulham against Villa game so my mind could isolate those deft touches. Plus, I found myself getting more absorbed in the game. Sometimes when I’m watching a match, the commentary literally lulls me to sleep.

It’s rare that football commentators are actually commentating from the stadium itself these days. Instead they’re in a studio in west London seeing the same thing you’re seeing. So, try it once to see if you like it. Don’t worry. You can always turn the audio on for those times when you feel you may want to hear their insight such as why subs are used.

PS — I tried doing the same thing for the Hull against Stoke match, but it didn’t work because the football wasn’t as dazzling as the brand offered at Craven Cottage. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the match with the Tigers, but it was better with the commentary switched on because the match itself wasn’t beautiful to watch.

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  1. TT

    May 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Turn the volume down so you don’t miss out completely on crowd noise but cannot really hear what the comms are blabbing on about (even easier when it’s in Japanese…)

  2. RaiderRich

    May 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    We’ll see… I don’t think ESPN will put up the money.

  3. Jaime

    May 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    I hope ESPN gets the rights, and if they do hopefully the english commentators come with it. Only drawback is that ticker on the bottom…

  4. The Gaffer

    May 11, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    SS Reporters,

    The bidding for the US TV rights to the Premier League haven’t been finalized yet. Fox said we should expect to hear an answer mid-summer. Right now, Fox, Setanta, ESPN and GolTV have all expressed an interest in capturing the rights.

    The Gaffer

  5. RaiderRich

    May 11, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    True, but commentators are a fact of life on televised sports and every TV producer is going to point to that game as an example.

  6. Jaime

    May 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Thats because american football needs the commentators there to keep you entertained. Im falling asleep just thinking about it…

  7. RaiderRich

    May 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    NBC tried to do a commentary-free game once for American football… didn’t work, nobody watched.

  8. Paul Bestall

    May 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Leeroy, both for TV and radio too.

  9. leeroy

    May 11, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Live EPL, Champions League, UEFA Cup, Football League, FA Cup, Carling Cup games shown in the UK ALWAYS have the commentators at the game

  10. SSReporters

    May 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    The commentators were Alan Parry and Kevin Gallacher and they were at the stadium. Actually, only somewhere between 1-5 games are commentated from a studio and that’s the international feed supplying their own commentators when Sky or Setanta have a live game.

    I do try that sometimes (mainly for games involving those idiots on ESPN). You can’t just talk talk talk all the time like some of these commentators do. However, I can’t do it for a full game because I need the atmosphere. When the crowd is chanting and rising to its feet for each chance I feel like I’m at the match. Watching Stoke City play may be like watching paint dry, but you can’t deny their fan support is not one to mute.

    All in all, I understand your statements and agree with most of them.

    I have a question unrelated to this: Have the American rights to the Premier League been announced? I want to know is FSC or ESPN or even Setanta (please no) has won anything.

  11. uh?

    May 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    are you trying to say something gaffer? i mean your blog is pretty useless but odd that you are actually admitting it. sometime the best football blog is none at all.

  12. Jaime

    May 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Ive done this before, when there were commentators I didnt like, and although that aspect was better something is lost when you cant here the crowd. I love listening to the fans, its as much a part of the football as the actuall game.

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