I’ve caught a couple of snippets of Rush Limbaugh doing football commentary on ESPN’s pregame show, both before Thursday’s season opener and just a few minutes ago. He is surprisingly good at it. Unlike Dennis Miller, who tried to force his standup routine into the format of game announcing on Monday Night Football, Limbaugh just talks conversationally about football and manages to be provocative simply because that’s his nature. I think Miller could have been successful on MNF had he done the same.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Not sure why the surprise…

    He has worked his ass off for years studying the broadcast business and how to be the best at it. He clearly has a work ethic a mile long. His passion and knowledge of the game is well documented.

    I would be surprised if he did poorly.

    IN FACT don’t be surprised if in the next few weeks we hear reports about how people who don’t like football and don’t like Rush appreciate his commentary.

    Rush has an uncanny abilty to make complex, arcane concepts understandable and interesting.* Many people don’t “get” football and I think he has an opportunity to broaden its appeal.


    * Think about it… The man can get on national radio and discuss the most obscure cabinet positions and millions of people call it “entertainment.” How many people can pull that off?

  2. James Joyner says:


    I’m not surprised that he has the ability to do it. But the few times I’ve seen him on fora outside the comfort zone of his radio program, like on the talking heads shows, he’s been rather awkward. I’m mainly surprised that he’s made the transition so quickly and smoothly. I expected some growing pains.

  3. O. F. Jay says:

    For the kind of shock jock that he is on the radio, I must agree: he is not as objectionable, while at the same time carrying the Rush Pomp that he’s so well known for. I like it, actually.

  4. Tom Royce says:

    And he sure does know how to push Micheal Irvin’s button, doesn’t he….

  5. Paul says:

    Ahhh point taken.

    The times I have seen him on things like Leno or something, he is too rushed. (hurried) He is trying to make a thoughtful point in 12.2 seconds or less. The two are a bad fit.

    I think here he is more “in control” and that puts the ball back in his court.

    But I see what you are saying now.


  6. Ian S. says:

    Incidentally, I don’t think Dennis was bad on MNF. Certainly I prefered him to the mummified corpse currently taking that slot.

  7. Bryan says:

    Little known fact, Limbaugh once worked the PR department for the Kansas City Chiefs. Football is one of the things he actually knows quite a bit about.

  8. James Joyner says:

    I knew he had a background in baseball–the Royals, I think–but didn’t know about the football connection. But I’ve heard him talk about football from time to time on the show.