Monday Nights on ABC Are Now Miller Time

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July 31 NFL preseason game between San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots on "Monday Night Football." (Some highlights of the first night of the Republican National Convention will be shown at halftime.):

Al: And Drew Bledsoe is sacked for a loss!

Dan: Wow! What a hit! I don't think Bledsoe saw that coming!

Dennis: Oh, Foutsie. I don't want to get off on a rant here, but how could he have seen it coming? What, did you get this job because Al over there is too senile to learn two new first names in one season? That linebacker came shooting off some existential plane like Camus the killer whale... Now, when the Patriots' offensive line is providing about as much protection as Los Alamos security guards, Jesse Ventura's image handlers, and Condy Rice at a presidential geography quiz, when this whole f---ing quarter has been a savage and sarcastic metaphor for American culture that's so mind-bendingly verbose I can't even begin to delineate it, can we as a country really be expected to believe that the ghost of Tom Landry isn't retching on his overshoes, tearing his hair out by the fistfuls and slouching slowly toward Dallas to be born again? I mean, I still don't want to get off on a rant here, but most of the shoulder pads in this stadium could run a better campaign than Al Gore, and I'm telling you, the last thing I want to see during halftime of a football game is Steve Largent in a suit going on about how every kid wants to grow up to be a football player. I mean, you meet a better class of people in prison, but I guess it's still better than being one of those a--holes in Washington. And speaking of the second half, I think the Patriots' only chance of winning this game is to have George W. Bush put all the 49ers to death, one at a time, before the fourth quarter. Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Dan: The game just ended.

Al: Security!

But seriously folks. New "MNF" producer Don Ohlmeyer says Miller was his first choice, and Michaels says Miller blew him away with tidbits and insights when he auditioned for the gig two weeks ago. And after Ohlmeyer pal O. J. Simpson said that Mondays were his regular look-for-the-real-killer night, and USA Today readers' choice Rush Limbaugh kept calling the Washington Redskins the "Spend-O-Crats," Miller was in.

The above nonsense aside, the betting here is that Miller will do all right. He's a serious fan, an Iron City native who probably knows more about the Steelers than Terry Bradshaw, and has the poise and wit to make predecessor Boomer Esiason seem like, well, Boomer Esiason. Plus, he's a natural for the prized college-male demo.

But will it feel like football? The average heartland football diehard doesn't really go for the thin-and-neat turtlenecked wisecracking type, with jokes they don't really get and don't really care to. Miller's "SNL"/HBO shtick won't get him too far in this booth. But if he's a real fan, the viewers might warm to him.

Of course, that's just my opinion. At least it wasn't as long as one of Miller's rants.