And his analysis that Diego Costa’s injury and exit from the game in the ninth minute was “scripted” is inane. Why would a coach want to waste a substitution just to script Diego Costa into playing for 10 minutes and then walking out of the game? To make matters even worse, FOX Sports’ soccer analyst Warren Barton repeated the same thing at half time, saying “Obviously they had something planned. Maybe it was psychological.”
It’s this type of analysis that destroys everything they do well. It’s a perfect example of why I’m still concerned about what FOX Sports is going to do with the World Cup.
Since FOX Sports won’t listen to the complaints of soccer fans about how bad the coverage is, here are some select quotes from actual World Soccer Talk readers regarding today’s UEFA Champions League Final:
“Gus Johnson offers nothing as a match announcer other than name checks, time checks and shouting whenever the ball is in the penalty area. Other than that it’s mostly dead air. He has absolutely no clue what he is watching.”
“Do they pair Gus with Wynalda so Gus sounds better by comparison?”
“Well boy am I excited now if Gus is shouting. I’m so glad Fox has him to help me understand my soccer emotions. And he’s been very helpful telling me the distance between Mardid and Lisbon. And that Madrid has two teams – one in white and one in red and white stripes. Thanks Fox. Thanks Gus.”
“Gus has used up all the stats on his sheet and we are only 20 minutes in. Second time he’s informed me it’s an all Spanish final.”
With Johnson, today’s commentary is an example of how “good” it’ll probably get with him. I can’t see him reaching the level of an average professional soccer announcer. And I don’t see him changing his style any more than he has done already. Unless FOX Sports wises up and realizes they’ve made a mistake, or their advertisers understand that their brands are being tarnished by being associated with an inferior TV product, I don’t see things changing or getting any better.
FOX’s coverage of soccer has moved from being a joke to something that’s just second-rate. Unfortunately, I have no confidence or faith that it’ll get any better in the future. We’re stuck with it unless soccer fans continue to make their voices heard.