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Consummate Pro Stephen A. Smith Stopped Himself From Saying the F-Word on 'First Take' Today

Kyle Koster
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Say what you want about First Take but it is family-friendly enough to be on televisions where kids get their haircuts, and that's no small thing. Everyone is comfortably on-board for the experience of playing up the absurdity of debate-shouting with the anticipation there won't be too much locker room talk. Stephen A. Smith has learned the fine art of mass appeal, which requires pushing the envelope right up to where it needs to stop for a morning television audience. His ability avoid cursing on air while still getting his takes up to DEFCON2 is quite admirable.

He avoided a slip-up in that department this morning during an impassioned discussion on the Dallas Cowboys, his No. 1 priority during football season. Smith let it be known that these damn guys were going to fu— ... mess it up.

Tremendous closing speed there. Stopping on the dime before a second syllable is a talent only the true five-tool stars possess. A quick save and a beauty.

Although, one wonders how much latitude Smith has if he wanted to work blue. Could he get through one episode treating the set like his own personal Goodfellas? Would set the C-block as the over-under for that experiment.