Every fan thinks Joe Buck hates their team, even though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t root for or against teams unless the St. Louis Cardinals are involved. In similar fashion, Cris Collinsworth is also objective … for the most part. Collinsworth is partial to the Cincinnati Bengals, and for good reason — he played for the Bengals his entire career.
Collinsworth has enjoyed even more success as a broadcaster than as a player, which is saying a lot since the guy was a 1,000-yard receiver four times. He’s the No. 1 color analyst in the sport and has been a regular contributor to Inside The NFL since 1989, where he is now a co-host. During that time it’s become obvious that he doesn’t care for the San Francisco 49ers, and for good reason — the 49ers defeated his Bengals in close Super Bowls in both his rookie year and his final season.
He’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but Collinsworth is a capable broadcaster. He tries a little too hard to act like he earned a medical degree somewhere along the way when players get injured, but nobody’s perfect and at least he says something (cough … Dan Marino). His feelings about the 49ers have always amused me; I’m pretty sure he’s never picked San Francisco to win on HBO/Showtime. Plus, the 49ers’ 92-yard fourth quarter drive that ended with John Taylor’s touchdown catch was one of the best moments of my childhood — I’ll take that memory over an objective Collinsworth any day.
In the spirit of embracing Collinsworth’s bitterness toward the red and gold, I wanted to prepare everyone for what we’ll probably hear during Sunday night’s broadcast when the 49ers travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks.
“Colin Kaepernick has got the legs and he’s got the throws, but he still hasn’t proven he can handle the 12th man.”
“Pound-for-pound, Russell Wilson might be the best quarterback going right now. No one’s got more heart, I can tell you that.”
“I just don’t know if the 49ers’ receivers can handle these big Seahawks corners, Al.”
“I’ve played in some loud places, including the old Kingdome, but I can barely hear myself think in here. These fans are ready!”
“We had a great conversation with Richard Sherman this week — that guy’s got some personality, doesn’t he? Wow.”
“Losing the Super Bowl just takes something out of you.”
“When these guys get Percy Harvin back, that’s going to be scary.”
“The jury’s out on Nnamdi Asomugha. Can he get back to the guy he was in Oakland? I’m not sure.”
“Pete Carroll has done a phenomenal job of changing the culture here.”
I’d create some bingo cards for the occasion, but two things stand in the way: I don’t really know how to create bingo cards, and no one’s going to want to look away from this game a second anyway. My suggestion: if Collinsworth’s pro-Seahawks/anti-Niners commentary bothers you on Sunday night, either turn down the sound on your TV and follow along with the guys on the radio, or ignore him and take solace — the pain Collinsworth felt twice meant two rings each for Ronnie Lott, Randy Cross, Mike Wilson, Eric Wright, Keena Turner, Pete Kugler, Dwaine Board, and Joe Montana.