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Photo: Paul Allen
Paul Allen (PA), the “Voice of the Vikings”

The absolute best thing about the end of preseason is that I don’t have to be exposed to Paul Allen (except for the ocassional Vikings Gameplan episode and the unavoidable in-stadium screen pre-game appearances) for the entire regular season.

I understand there are people who actually like PA but I don’t know any of them…because they are all ten years old.

Seriously. If you are a child, his over-the-top homerism and lack of any football sophistication will likely appeal. For us discerning fans, however…well, you get it.

Casual fans do not watch their team’s final pre-season game because those games are typically not that entertaining as a football contest.

The reason we watch is for the details of how the players on the bubble of earning a roster spot play. We want to get an idea of who will make the team, who will not, and which players might be headed to the practice squad. None of whom, by the way, may ever see a meaningful regular season snap.

So the audience Allen should be serving is very interested in the details.

But details are not what you get when Paul Allen is calling a Vikings game. What you get is PA’s ego.

The Vikings last preseason game against the Bills offered up everything that is wrong with him as a football commentator.

For a guy making well into the six figures, you’d be forgiven for expecting a certain level of professionalism.

The guy gets paid to watch and call professional football games, yet he complains endlessly about how boring pre-season games are and expresses horror at the thought of having to work overtime to cover an extra quarter in the event of a tie.

He routinely misidentifies players and misses interesting aspects of a given play. He’s more apt to talk about himself than the action on the field.

One particularly egregious example occurred during the Bills game when tight end Brandon Dillion had to be taken off the field to undergo the concussion protocol.

Allen completely missed it because he hadn’t been paying attention to the game. General Manger Rick Spielman was in the booth and noted, correctly, that PA would have seen the play if he’d just quit talking so much.

As if PA weren’t torture enough, there was Ben Leber “interviewing” a parade of Vikings players on the sideline with a 20-Questions shtick, including such inanities as:

  • Hamburgers or hot dogs?
  • Fries or tater tots?
  • Favorite M&Ms?

And all the while, there is game action happening behind him that we cannot see and Allen has no interest in commenting upon.

Ben Leber is better than that but this idiocy was an insult to both the viewers and Leber himself, who is much more capable of providing genuine insight into the game than the joke that is PA.

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