Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Dancing With the Stars" Finale:
Emmitt Smith vs. Mario Lopez

Tuesday A.M. Quickie here

I believe that in my Quickie preview of this current season of "Dancing with the Stars,"* I predicted that Mario Lopez would win.

I was not as sure that Emmitt Smith would meet him in tonight's finale, but here he is.

Who else finds it fascinating that for two seasons in a row, the ex-NFL player (Jerry Rice last time, Emmitt this time) has made it to the DWTS finale? (You don't have to follow or watch DWTS to find this intriguing.)

Perhaps Jerry and Emmitt are exceptional -- after all, they are arguably the greatest to ever play their respective positions. Rice is arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, and Emmitt is in the Top 10-20.

Is it possible that there's something about NFL players -- particularly skill-position players -- that makes them uniquely qualified to succeed in a ballroom-dancing competition on national TV?

Obviously, popularity is a factor in these competitions, but I'd argue that football players combine essential footwork skills and hand-eye coordination, work ethic, performing under the pressure of live TV and an audience and -- most important -- "coachability": They are used to being given instructions and following them precisely. Combining all these things, Emmitt has been a smashing success.

(In fact, I would argue that his success on DWTS is even more impressive than his Super Bowl titles, which were as much of a function of his team as his individual stardom. In the case of DWTS, he's been doing it on his own -- and brilliantly, I might add.)

I'm not quite sure what it means when my most accurate "Sports Prediction of the Year" is going to be for "Dancing With the Stars," but I'll take it where I can get it: It's been an admirable season-long showing by Emmitt, but Mario Lopez wins it.

-- D.S.

(* - You can mock me for writing about this show all you want, but this show does better ratings than most sports on TV, and its ability to combine "athletic" competition with sports legends keeps it on the sports radar. Like Rice before him, it's phenomenal that Emmitt has made it this far, particularly in the impressive way that he has pulled it off week after week.)


Anonymous said...

Shanoff, you disappoint me.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Mock you? Ok. Dancing with the Stars is boring. And as for comparing its ratings to sports programming... well... come on. 55 million households watch football on Sundays. How many watch DWTS? 20 million, tops? There's no contest.

Besides, if ratings were all that mattered, you'd be writing a column about Desperate Housewives... which, by the way, is represented by about the same demographic of viewers as DWTS. What's next? Queer Eye for the Football Guy?

Michael said...

Driving into work this morning, Howard Stern is obsessing about this show. Then I get to work and Dan Shanoff devotes a section in his blog to it. I feel like I'm in some sort of twilight zone. WTF?????

Jo Fer said...

Just imagine if the immortal Walter Payton was still with us.

"His name was Sweetness and he liked to dance.

Running the ball was like making romance."

Would have DESTROYED the competition in the "former NFL player" category.

I can see him out there with the Jherri Curl now....

ndyanksfan05 said...

So confused...thought I had opened a sports blog page...nope, its actual devoted to crappy reality tv with washed up B-list personalities (i wont even credit them with being "stars") I think lifetime has some great movie of the week coming up if you'd like to post on that next. I am sure your loyal readers would love to debate hairstyles of the famous as well...ok ending rant now.

Lenny said...

yeah, gonna have to agree with most the comments so far. It's not that I don't care about the show, er, wait, yeah it is. and no one else that reads this cares either.

Hende said...

I watched DWTS at the beginning, and it was OK. But once they got down to 4-5 dancers, all the horribly boring filler material (guest singers, longer banter, behind the scenes views) made it unbearable. I just want it to end, so my wife quits making me watch it.

I still maintain that if Barry Sanders had appeared this season, he would have been partnered with a 300lb woman with two trick knees. He would still pull off some amazing moves every week in spite of his partner, but eventually quit by the final four because he's tired of dragging his partner's fat ass around.

BLUE said...

The only problem that I have with the post is that you said that Emmitt Smith is arguably the best player at his position all time. I don't know anyone outside of Dallas that would argue that, he's not even top 5, maybe not even top 10 in running backs all time.

marcomarco said...


Doesn't Emmit hold the most career rushing yards record? 3 Rings? Plenty of TD's, former single season TD record (before Priest and Alexander)

Yea, not even top 10. Moron.

Blake said...

How the hell is any straight male not watching Friday Night Lights? Tell me you'd rather watch this shit instead. Unless the wife is running the remote. Or the partner (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Generik said...

I envision DS curled up on the couch with a 6-pack of Summer's Eve watching DWTS... LOL

Seriously though.. how about axing the DWTS coverage and maybe devoting that little bit of time to some hockey. I know how much you despise the sport Dan, but 1 column a week wouldn't kill you just to balance your coverage.

marcomarco said...

Honestly, I'd rather watch DTWS over Hockey.

And I don't watch DTWS

mattie said...

Are we supposed to take seriously the idea that that HoF NFL talent makes people 'uniquely qualified to succeed in a ballroom-dancing competition on national TV'? Huh?

Or that winning some random reality show is more impressive than winning mutiple Superbowls? WHAT?

Dan, I'm not going to mock you for writing about the show...it's a pop culture thing and you obviously enjoy it. But you've GOT to be mocked for the ridiculous *way* you're talking about it. Why not just say you enjoy the show and think it's cool that Smith is doing well, rather than looking for some wacky NFL-ballroom dancing connection while putting this 'achievement' on par with the Superbowl? Is this just some effort to make yourself feel better for writing about it (OMG! It's a HoFers biggest achievement ever! That's why it's got to be in my blog!)

Just talk about the show and that you enjoy it. The hyperbole really isn't necessary and makes the whole entry ridiculous.

Jo Fer said...

Hey Marco,

Most rushing yards. Give that record to the O-Line

3 rings. Thanks Troy, Michael, Jimmy

TD's. result of the rest of the offense.

I'm just surprised on DWTS he doesn't find a way to run out of bounds so he doesn't get touched.

He couldn't hold Jim Brown's, Payton's, Simpson's, or Sander's, jock strap. Or many other's as far as "quality" of back.

Cowboy Fanboy. Get over it, he wasn't a GREAT running back.

Awful Announcing- said...

I just don't understand the appeal. It has to be something with age. I mean I watch reality shows, but DWTS is just old people stuff. With what I know about Dano....i'm guessing the cutoff is 30???

Anonymous said...

why does it have to be former NFL'ers? The most natural choice for next summer's DWTS season, CHAD JOHNSON!!!

JeterIs#1 said...

The real question is, who is going to be on there next season? Probably can't go NFL cuz you can't get much bigger than Emmitt and Jerry- Karl Malone? I really have no idea who the next sports star will be

nyc-steelers fan said...

Worldwide Reader said...

Shanoff, you disappoint me.


marcomarco said...

He couldn't hold Jim Brown's, Payton's, Simpson's, or Sander's, jock strap. Or many other's as far as "quality" of back.

Define quality.

I'm a pats fan, not cowboys. So by your argument, Marino, Manning, Montana, etc are only good because of their O-line and WR's? It's a team sport you douche.

His numbers speak for themselves. Besides, including the four above makes Emmitt your #5, which is less than 10.

Yea, not even top 10. Moron.

SubjectToBlogout said...

You watching this show is, um . . . awk-ward.