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View Full Version : Hillgrove should retire!


The Lakelander
12-10-2008, 03:02 AM
I know Bill Hillgrove is a local sports icon, but enough is enough. It's time for him to retire. Here's why ...

The vast majority of Steelers fans who tune in to the radio are either at work, on the road traveling, inside a TV blackout zone, or at the game itself. Other than the latter, Steelers fans tuning in to the radio broadcast rely heavily on Hillgrove and Tunch to bring the game action into their minds as it plays out on the field. We Steelers fans literally live and die with every play the Steelers run!

I have listened to the past few games on the radio headset, while watching at the same time on TV. The radio broadcast is instant ... TV is delayed ... so I get the play about 5 seconds in advance of seeing it on my TV screen. This past Sunday vs. Dallas I figured that local "color" would be better than listening to Troy Aikman.

I knew Hillgrove was prone to blowing the play-by-play but I never really paid much attention ... until Sunday ... to just how bad the guy is! I started counting his mistakes at the start of the game and stopped at six of them just five minutes into the live play-by-play broadcast. It was horrible! His total mistakes made was unofficially somewhere around 25-30 of them! I have come to realize that listening on the radio to Hillgrove's play-by-play, I'm not going to get an accurate identity with what is happening on the field. Maybe I'll get about 2/3's of it accurately portrayed ... but that's it!

Hillgrove gets the ball spots wrong at least half a dozen times during the game! On Sunday he was off by five yards on two critical occasions, and he called three seperate first downs when the Steelers had the ball that were short of the sticks by a good yard or two. A listener thinks we got the first down! Hopes are up, right? ... the TV viewer sees clearly we are a full yard short! Just plain horrible spotting!

The broadcast listener gets the wrong impression on what is happening on the field on many more plays than is necessary. It's really bad ... unprofessional even!

Hillgrove identifies the wrong players on tackles or sacks a least half a dozen times as well. Even when a player is down (injured) he gets it wrong alot.

Worse, Hillgrove will make a call where you think the Steelers just made a huge play ... only to reverse it (or Tunch more likely steps in and reverses it) because the receiver dropped the ball ... or even caught it. Without the benefit of television, a listener would not know at times which call is the right one? ... was it caught or not? It goes something like this ...

"... and it's ... CAUGHT at the 50 yard line ... NOOOO! ... he dropped it! ... wait? ... does he have it?"

... and then Tunch has to step in and clarify to the listener whether the receiver actually caught the ball or not. Well, after describing that call, you'd think the play was not visible enough for someone in the booth to clarify the results, right? Hey it happens in football games. Plays sometimes aren't clear and often need reviewing on replay to determine the results. But with Hillgrove it happens on plays where the results are plainly visible to the naked eye.

When Jeff Reed kicked the field goal on Sunday that hit the right upright, Hillgrove ignored that fact by stating he "hooked it in". A fan listening and not watching the game would not know just how close to missing it Reed was.

I can go on and on here people.

I don't care to persecute the guy ... after all ... Hillgrove is no doubt a local sports icon. He was half the team of Cope and Hillgrove. We all love the rich history of the radio broadcasts in Pittsburgh. Cope is long gone! He was the real "legend". He was the unique radio voice with the often gut-wrenching "color" commentary that had us all tuning into the radio during Steelers games just because we all wanted to be part of his fever-pitched Steelers excitement!

Hillgrove has lost it people! He is no longer good. He can't see the field while peering over his bi-focals in the radio booth to make an accurate call anymore. His eyesight won't allow him to bring an accurate play call to the ears of radio listeners who literally live and die with passion for each and every play during a Steelers game. Bill Hillgrove is a good man. I know this to be true. This is not a blast on the man ... it is a blast on his diminished skills.

Hey Hillgrove ... This is a wake-up call bud!

Shape up man. Start calling it right. Or do the graceful thing and retire. Let a young broadcaster with better eyesight have a go. Maybe there's another local sports legend out there waiting in the wings?