#43: Monday Night Quarterback
A Bigger Bust Than Ryan Leaf


Unsold Pilot (1971)

Remember the good old days of football?  Before instant replay, when John Madden was known as a player before he was a coach or the annoying pitchman for Tough Actin' Tinactin, when the Cleveland Browns didn't suck....Oh wait, that's still the same.  But anyways, even back in 1971, football was quickly becoming the country's number 1 sport.  Baseball was starting to decline and Basketball, aside from Wilt Chamberlin was a distant 3.  With the popularity of the sport continuing to grow, game show pioneer Bob Stewart decided to make a game show that featured football players and celebrities guessing how the quarterback in an actual game.  Thus, we're graced with a pilot called Monday Night Quarterback.


The host of this pilot is Jerry Kramer, a right guard on the Super Bowl 1 & 2 winning Green Bay Packers team.  I'm guessing because he has a couple of rings that Bob Stewart approached him to do the show with no prior TV experience.  I mean, he didn't even do local TV.  Jerry was very ill at ease here and just didn't gel with the audience, nor the game.  I mean, Bob could have easily gotten any sports broadcaster out there like Dick Enberg, Jack Buck, Frank Gifford among others.  But, he isn't the main problem about the show.

The main problem is that this show, instead of using regular contestants, used celebrities, paired up with current NFL pros.  In this pilot, the celebrity/pro teams were...


Dick Martin & then quarterback for the San Diego Chargers John Hadl


going up against Peter Lawford & then linebacker for the Washington Redskins Myron Pottios.

What disheartens me most is that the two celebs & teams don't seem that interested in the game.


And it's quite easy to see why.  The game is simply Jerry Kramer presenting the team in control with a situation from an actual NFL game.  Then he'll read off 3 possible solutions, one of them is what the QB actually did in the situation and was successful in doing said solution.  The team in control or as Jerry says, has the ball, will try to figure out which one was the right solution.  If the team guesses the correct, then 3 points is awarded.  If they pick the wrong solution, then control passes to the other team.  However, if the solution results in a Touchdown, then 6 points are scored, but control is passed to the other team.  It's a decent scoring system, but mainly it's a crapshoot all the way through.  Unless you've watched these games, then you're just guessing what the QB would do.  So, the format is a bit flawed.


After the first half, the game stays the same, but the focus is changed to another team and another QB.  This time around, it's then Giants QB Fran Tarkenton.  By this time, I'm just wondering if there's anymore to the game.  But alas, there isn't as we rinse and repeat the same thing over and over again until time is called and a winner is declared.  The winning team would have $500 in football equipment donated to a boys club in their football player partner's home town.


I know it's a bit late, but let's talk about the Bob Stewart special of the set.  It's very cheaply made, maybe because he blew his production budget already for Three On A Match.  You have this very ugly yellow set, with the host podium designed with a goal post, with a blue-screen football behind it.  Then you have the celebrity football podiums with the big football player pictures behind them.  It looks tacky, cheap, and hideous, especially with the yellow background.  It would have been better if it had looked like the playing field somewhat.  Some sky blue, green grass on the bottom, and maybe the celebrity podiums on opposite sides and looking like benches. 

Well, unfortunately for Bob Stewart, the show went unsold, and it's quite easy to see why.  While football is great to watch live, watching old clips can get boring sometimes, and watching celebrities guessing old plays from the clips is even more boring.  This could have easily been remedied if civilian players played with the pros to guess what the quarterback would do, and the winner won $500 and the pro won $500 worth of equipment for their cities boys club.  But as it is, it was just not fun to watch at all.  And when you're pitching a pilot, the show has to be fun otherwise the executives won't buy it.  Thus, this was one of many Bob Stewart Pilots to be unsold.  Which in itself is a shame because some of his unsold pilots were really good like Twisters & Caught in the Act with Jim Peck.  I'll get to some worse ones in the future, but Bob Stewart will always be remembered for making The $10,000 Pyramid and other great Goodson-Todman games like The Price Is Right & Password.

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