Instead it's something completely different. American football. Specifically its analysis, and the best guy working in that field. Tony Dungy (right).
In his first year Dungy has taken over NBC's Sunday Night football show with his quiet authority, with his knowledge and with his humanity. The network found a perfect sidekick for him in the recently-retired Rodney Harrison, but this is Dungy's show and we're all the better for it.
Football needed a new face when John Madden quit, and while it's a surprise to find it in a studio show host you take what you can get. Everyone on the set defers to Dungy, and it's easy to see why. Everything he says is letter-perfect for the moment. He knows the people, he knows the game as very few do (which he's proven) but there's something about his air of calm, reflective authority I find fascinating.
After all football is a physical game. It's not very intellectual. Dungy, a University of Minnesota graduate who barely got a cup of coffee in the league (he was injured) and was an assistant for about 20 years before getting his shot, built great teams in both Tampa and Indianapolis, winning a Super Bowl and then hanging them up.
He has since become the game's foremost ambassador, having shepherded Michael Vick back into the league. He believes in "football people," and has no truck with meddling owners. He likes balance, between offense and defense, between running and throwing, and believes in the "great player" theory of the game. He's also quick, as a coach must be, to dismiss players who don't have what it takes.
Dungy delivers all this without ever raising his voice. While last year's studio had the air of a loud frat party, this year's has the air of a graduate seminar, with Professor Dungy at the Telestrator-blackboard.
It surprises me to write this. I don't like Dungy's politics. I note a coldness between Dungy and Keith Olbermann -- Dungy is always shown standing next to Dan Patrick instead. And I suspect that Dungy might rather have the liberal Olbermann exiled to a news desk. But if he expressed that out loud and Olbermann were kicked off the show I wouldn't object, because this isn't about politics.
It's about football.
And Tony Dungy is the best football analyst to come along in many years.