COS, UEFA Cup Final edition.
UPDATE (5/11): Alas, the Cone of Silence has been replaced by the Cone of Sucky. Boro showed their true face (at least the ones not behind a Batman mask) and they just weren't good enough. Their passing was poor and wasn't helped by a mostly static team. Sevilla put pressure on them with speed from the opening and Boro couldn't cope. Morrison was lost. Rochemback was lost. Even Boateng was getting dragged around the field. And Viduka was the Viduka who shows up day in and day out, rather than the forceful, effective Viduka who appears at the opening of every transfer window.
The only thing worse than Boro's performance was that of Max Bretos, announcing the game from LA for Fox Soccer Channel here in the USA. Just annoying. In Sports Guy parlance, he takes things off the table.
Bretos even suggested that McLaren might bring in Ray Parlour on the right wing. I honestly yelled "You idiot!" at the television, "He's going to bring in Maccarone!" My wife began wondering sarcastically why I wasn't in LA announcing soccer games if I know so much. But I was right, wasn't I?
• The Table Test:
It all comes back to my world-renowned Table Test, which can be used for any actor, athlete, writer or broadcaster. It centers on one phrase: "I'm not sure if Person X brings anything to the table." Hey, sometimes that's not a bad thing. We all have friends who don't say much or add much, but they're fun to have around, know when to laugh at the right times and generally fit in with everybody else in your group (the Robert Horry of friends). And maybe they don't bring that much to the table, but they also don't take things off the table -- they aren't rude, they aren't inappropriate, they aren't stupid, they don't act like drunken idiots, and so on. Think of it this way:
Scenario No. 1: Person X brings something to the table.
Scenario No. 2: Person X brings nothing to the table.
Scenario No. 3: Person X takes things off the table.
In certain circumstances, you can get away with bringing nothing to the table (No. 2); for instance, I'd much rather hear a play-by-play broadcaster pull a No. 2 over somebody trying too hard to be a No. 1.
You tell me, was that the stupidest commentary, or what?