We now take a moment to recognize the brilliance of the ESPN "Monday Night Football" production staff. Thank the TV gods for this one.
Live broadcasting is about being prepared, and if this 2017 NFL season has proven anything it's that prime time can be the wrong time for expecting TV magic. That's why ESPN brought a blender to the broadcast booth.
Following a brutal Thursday night showing by the Cincinnati Bengals, and an even worse Sunday night performance by the Chicago Bears, it was proven on Monday that the NFL Network and NBC broadcast teams were doing it all wrong.
They forgot to do the shake segment.
Yes, with nine minutes left in an eventual 45-21 Philadelphia Eagles rout of the Carolina Panthers, ESPN busted out the props. Hard.
A blender. Creatine powder. A cored whole pineapple. Grapes with the stems still on. A banana (or rather, a #Spider2YBanana, because Jon Gruden was involved). Throw it all in and hit the "pure" button. Result: instant broadcasting brilliance.
Why did Gruden and Mike Tirico resort to such ludicrous shtick? Oh, sure, it was under the guise of Chip Kelly and health benefits and shakes, even though every other NFL team provides its players with nutritional supplements these days. The producers knew there was a better-than-decent chance this game, like most others at night these days, could turn into a laugher.
No matter the reason, it was amazing television. Gruden holding a banana. GRUDEN HOLDING A BANANA! The man behind the Oakland Raiders' supposed dreams had exotic fruit in his hand and a smirk on his face. In the middle of an NFL game. Watch Gruden's slow peel, and you know you're as close to the Happy Hunting Grounds as you'll be in this lifetime.
This is how it's done, people.
When Roger Goodell is asked at his state-of-the-league address at the Super Bowl why the quality of prime-time games was so putrid this season, he should rattle off some clich about how strong the NFL product is and then summon Gruden from behind a hidden riser, have him start chucking fruit and soy milk into a Vitamix and just pulse the snot out of that bad boy. The crowd and the media might go wild.
If not, they're just not getting enough protein in their diet.