'Goose' lets loose on refs

  • Updated: September 24, 2012 - 8:07 AM
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Fox broadcaster Tony Siragusa stays close to the action, as seen while he did a segment before the start of the game between the Vikings and 49ers.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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The "Goose" was cooked.

Last Monday night, Tony Siragusa tried to watch the Broncos-Falcons game until an excruciating first half of seeing replacement-ref follies became too much to stomach.

"I had to turn the game off. It was really, really bad. I mean, a two-hour first half is just ridiculous," Siragusa said Sunday.

What do you know, but minutes after the comment, Siragusa tried to shake hands with the very same ref who worked Monday's calamity in Atlanta. Ken Roan was about to whistle the start of Sunday's Vikings game when he stared at Siragusa's outreached arm.

"I can't," Roan said from inside the end zone.

"What?" a miffed Siragusa asked. Roan repeated: "I'm not allowed to shake your hand."

"Goose" grinned, turned around and walked back to his end zone sanctuary.

Siragusa is the colorful, larger-than-life fixture on Fox's No. 2 football crew, which includes veteran play-by-play man Kenny Albert and the two-headed color team of "Moose" (three-time Super Bowl champ Daryl Johnston) and "Goose."

While Johnston works with Albert in the broadcast booth, Siragusa, a former 12-year nose tackle who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore and just co-wrote his autobiography, "Goose: The Outrageous Life and Times of a Football Guy," works appropriately from the trenches.

As opposed to having a sideline reporter, it's the only NFL broadcast team with an on-the-field analyst.

Siragusa, who is host of "Man Caves" on the DIY Network, fittingly works from a man cave that would make any 50-year-old football fan with a beer gut envious. He watches much of the game from two 42-inch, hi-def televisions in the end zone, the top TV showing the game feed, the bottom showing four different camera angles. To his left is a Telestrator. Atop is the "Goose Cam." He's got rosters, flash cards and stats galore with field producer Lou Tribuiani directing traffic.

"It's evolved over my 10 years," Siragusa said. "My first year, I just had a microphone. The next year, I said, 'Listen, I can't see anything.' So they gave me a 4-inch TV on a stick."

Even though he can't see him, "Goose" has developed uncanny chemistry with "Moose," rarely speaking over him because "I can tell when he's going to take a breath."

"Moose is the serious, straight man, and Goose is definitely the character. But he brings a real knowledge to the game," Albert said.

That character shone Sunday when he was taking cracks at Michael Strahan, yucked it up with fans and chomped on Peanut M&M's during breaks and nearly lost his mind on the air when the replacements fouled up a series of challenges late.

The 49ers, after calling their last timeout, challenged the fact that Toby Gerhart wasn't called for a fumble. Not only should the challenge not have been permitted, the refs reversed the call and gave the 49ers back the timeout they already had used.

That allowed coach Jim Harbaugh to challenge yet another call instants later. This time the ref's ruling wasn't overturned and Roan announced that the 49ers lost their "third and final timeout," causing "Moose" to crack, "or fifth or sixth."

"Goose" was exasperated by the embarrassing blunders by the very same ref who snubbed his pregame handshake.

"That's the worst I've ever seen," Siragusa said. "Worse than Monday."

MICHAEL RUSSO

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