It’s not a stretch to say the Raiders radio broadcast this season has been seriously lacking. This offseason the Raider radio network fired longtime radio voice Greg Papa and dug up 79-year-old former color commentator Brent Musburger to take over in the booth alongside former Raiders tackle Lincoln Kennedy.
It hasn’t been a popular move.
Commentators are often disliked by the viewing/listening public. Being a play-by-play person is not an easy job. But Musburger has drawn considerable harsh, and, honestly well-desrved backlash.
I have only caught pieces of broadcasts myself, but what I have heard is subpar to say the least. And it isn’t Lincoln Kennedy who is the issue. It’s Musburger.
He’s just lethargic. He’s nearly 80 years old after all. He just doesn’t have the energy required to carry a radio broadcast. Greg Papa wasn’t impressed either.
“I popped him on for two or three minutes. It was just hard to listen to,’’ Papa told The Athletic. . . “It was just a very below-average broadcast.”
To be fair, that was the first broadcast Papa was listening to. He went on to listen to a second broadcast in October, which he said was much better than that initial broadcast, but his criticisms are the same as everyone else’s and it centers around an overall lethargic broadcast, which you just can’t have when all the audience must visualize the game and the energy of it through just the announcer’s voice.
“Football on the radio is hard because you have to attack it,’’ Papa said. “For football on television, a Pat Summerall-style delivery — understated, writing captions — works. But if you’re doing it on radio, you have to be a middle linebacker. You have to be on your toes and be ready to blitz. You got to go. You have to see everything, react to everything, otherwise it runs around you.
“(Musberger) was doing more of that. But it’s a hard thing to ask of a guy that late in his life … I wouldn’t want to try that. It took me a while to figure it out at age 35. So it’s hard to think of doing it at 79.”
Author Dan Brown had so much respect for Musburger’s work, he misspelled his name throughout the article, spelling it “Musberger” in every instance — a mistake I make several times when mentioning Musburger as well (which isn’t often).
Whether you like Papa or agree with his decision to openly critique the man who took over for him in the booth, it’s hard to deny he’s right. The radio broadcast is a snoozefest. Musburger is past it. He is five months into a three-year contract and the third year of that contract is the team’s inaugural season in Las Vegas. He’ll be 81 years old by then. That will excite no one.