Shooting from the lip, Sept. 17 edition
The latest in the world of sports:
Analyst of the day
Former Bucs QB Trent Dilfer is considered one of the best and hardest-working NFL studio analysts on television. Now he’s getting rave reviews for his game analysis after working the Raiders-Broncos game, the second half of this week’s Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN. His strength is his willingness to say anything, even if it rubs people the wrong way.
“I don’t try to be controversial,” Dilfer, left, told the Denver Post. “I do a lot of preparation — including watching game tapes — to get the facts before I offer an opinion. Sometimes my opinions bother people.”
Though Dilfer might be just as good in the booth as the studio, the problem is ESPN typically carries only one NFL game a week and the analysis is handled by the extremely capable Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.
Injury of the day
ESPN’s John Saunders is on the disabled list. Details are sketchy, but ESPN is reporting that Saunders was injured in a fall last weekend and will not be able to host today’s college football studio coverage or Sunday morning’s Sports Reporters. Scott Van Pelt will take Saunders’ place today , and Jeremy Schaap will host Sports Reporters.
Show of the day
Reason No. 219 why Bright House cable customers must be going crazy without the NFL Network: The network’s documentary on Patriots coach Bill Belichick. You might think it’s boring. You would be wrong. Belichick was wired by NFL Films for the entire 2009 season, and Thursday’s debut of A Football Life: Bill Belichick was incredibly compelling. The best scene was an expletive-laced trash-talk exchange he had with then-Ravens receiver Derrick Mason, which ended with Belichick giving the ultimate smackdown: “Can you look at the scoreboard?”
Thursday’s Part I was viewed by an average of 657,000 people, making it the most-watched documentary in the eight years of the network. In Boston, the show averaged 151,000 viewers, making it the second-most-watched show of the night. The first? The Rays-Red Sox game.
• As expected, former ESPN anchor Brian Kenny has joined the MLB Network. But Kenny tells USA Today he could eventually host a radio show and plans on doing more boxing. Kenny hosted ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
• ABC drew 6.167 million viewers for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sept. 10 in Richmond. That’s a 16.6 percent jump from 2010’s race. Overall, viewer numbers are up nearly 10 percent from 2010.
• Sunday’s Outside the Lines (10 a.m., ESPN2) will look at Broncos and former Gators QB Tim Tebow and how polarizing he is among sports fans.
Announcer of the day
Auburn fans are not pleased that former Florida coach Urban Meyer is set to call today’s Auburn-Clemson game on ABC. Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky writes that the conflict of interest is “thicker than Joe Paterno’s glasses.”
When Meyer coached Florida, he said unkind things about the Auburn program and was the only SEC coach to not vote Auburn No. 1 in the USA Today poll in December.
ESPN released a statement that essentially said it has many former players and coaches in its broadcasting pen and eventually those broadcasters are going to call games involving teams they used to face. So what should Auburn fans do? Get over themselves or hit the mute button.
(Pictured: Trent Dilfer. ESPN)