Honoring Jack Edwards
|Can you believe it's been five years now since the USA's run to the World Cup quarterfinals? I wanted to take a moment to salute the man who gave us so many memorable moments and catch phrases throughout that cup, and during his entire tenure as play-by-play announcer. He's also the source of this blog's title. That man is Jack Edwards.|
If you're a new US soccer fan and aren't familiar, then boy did you miss out (be sure to check point #4 below). He may have seemed corny at the time, but I really believe that 50 years from now we'll be listening to "mine eyes have seen the glory" and getting wistful.
Looking back, it's funny to think about all the criticism of Edwards compared to Dave O'Brien. Everybody complained all the time about Edwards, but I think I and most other fans would rather have him than O'Brien (Ty Keough sucked though). Edwards was and is a hockey guy first and foremost (he's currently doing Boston Bruins games), but he was incredibly passionate about the game. His style of announcing reflected that, and we could forgive his strange and untraditional terminology because we felt like he was on our side. That's a good thing; a US announcer should be a US fan as well. When it comes to O'Brien, he made far more basic mistakes and was much more prone to saying nonsensical things about the actual play.
Edwards certainly talked a lot though, probably again due to the hockey background. So how did he really compare to O'Brien? It's hard to judge things like that...or at least it will be until I get done with my new project, which is obsessive even by my standards. I'm going to make a transcript of the first games of the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, documenting every word that Edwards/Keough and O'Brien/Balboa had to say. Maybe the 1994 opener too if I feel like it. I've already done the Portugal game, which probably took three times the actual 90 minutes to write out (don't worry, I would've just wasted that time watching tv or something) and ended up being 29 pages in Word. When I do the Czech Republic game, I'll post both transcripts here and analyze the differences. I still need to get a copy of that game. I have one already, but it's not the ESPN2 broadcast.
Let's talk some more Edwards. There's four things you need to see:
1) The Jack & Ty shrine from Bigsoccer. One of the first-threads post-crash, replacing an older version that is now lost. Still awesome today.
2) I mentioned that Jack is now calling Bruins games. So it's incredibly satisfying and hilarious to see this thread on a hockey message board from March 2007 talking about his commentary, with virtually the same praise and complaints that he received from soccer fans.Choice quote from a Bruins fan:
"I'm not a huge fan of Edwards -- the odd catch-phrases, the way he uses that excited tone when the opposition scores, talking too much, a bit awkward. But what I do really like about him is how he's a fan of the game."3) "They're ----ing Portugal!" Surely the most misunderstood and debated sentence in the history of soccer broadcasting in this country. I'm reminded of Dave Chappelle and the Good Times lyric. Looking up some old posts, each of the following is offered up as the missing word:
Listening to it over and over again, to me it appeared to be "throbbing." Now of course that doesn't make sense, but that's what it sounds like.
However, I'm here to tell you that according to the man himself, the word he actually said (or was trying to say) was drubbing. This was posted three years ago by wjarrettc on a Bigsoccer post that got surprisingly little attention. He had the chance to ask Edwards the question personally and that was his response.
4) Finally, I have to do this service for all the Edwards fans. I have extracted a bunch of his famous catchphrases, zipped and uploaded them to Rapidshare (1.5 mb), and now you can download them to enjoy for years to come. Included are:
"climbs the ladder"
"shock the world"
"that's why he's here"
and more. There's 15 clips, and one bonus Ty Keough clip (HAV-OCK!) The one big one I missed was "full international." I'll probably include it eventually. I also would've liked to get "climbing the ladder" instead of "climbs the ladder," but that'll do for now. Enjoy.