Introduce Your PDA to Monday Night Football

Who would have thought convergence would lead to this? I'm sitting at home, PDA in hand, waiting breathlessly for the next Dennis Miller translation from his play-by-play on Monday Night Football.

Each Monday, wireless service provider Shadowpack Inc. dispatches "a crack team of scholars" (a.k.a. "the guys who run the server") to provide real-time Dennis Miller translations during the week's biggest NFL game. I'm testing the service, which is called Dennis Miller Dymistified, with my little Windows CE handheld, a minibrowser, and a Sprint WAP phone. With my devices connected to the Net, I can let the TV blare away.

In last week's game (Kansas City vs. Seattle) Miller, TV's most unlikely sports commentator, offered such pearls as: "He dragged his feet like Neville Chamberlain." After a brief wait, Shadowpack translated: "Referring to the wartime ('37-'40) prime minister of England whose policy of appeasement toward Adolf Hitler's Germany culminated in the Munich Pact of September 1938, after which Chamberlain returned home proclaiming 'peace in our time.'" Enlightening?

Translation Grudge Match

Shadowpack isn't the only one getting in on the Dennis Miller interpretation bandwagon. With a one-day lag, encyclopedia site Britannica.com offers an excellent Miller exposé each Tuesday.

The extra day's translation time enables Britannica to catch more references. Shadowpack missed this Millerism, for example: "He was raised in Carrotown, Alabama, so you know he has good peripheral vision."

As Britannica explains, "Ingestion of vitamin A can help improve vision, as visual purple is part of the light-sensitive rod cells in the retina of the eye, helping the eye adapt to dim light, hence the belief that eating carrots can improve one's night vision."

And Britannica goes that extra mile, showing where Miller slips up. For example, it adds, "While it may improve night vision, vitamin A does nothing for your peripheral vision. However, what will improve your peripheral vision is walking around with two pickup truck rearview mirrors duct taped to your forehead."

Game Summary

So, how does Shadowpack stack up? In its first week of service, the Shadowpack service explained 42 "Millerisms" in real time. Last week, sadly, their scholars pinpointed just 28 references.

Clearly, PC technology has crossed football. Among the other sites that add their commentary to the game is ESPN's Monday Night Football, which offers archived audio samples from each game.

For other suggestions of sites to enhance football fandom, see "Fun Files for Football Fans" or "NFL Huddles Over Broadcast Site." You can even check the Web from the stadium in some places.

My call? If you're able to catch the game, Shadowpack offers a journeyman's performance, and an entertaining addition to the game. But if you missed Monday Night Football, don't miss Britannica's report on Tuesday.

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