Shooting from the lip/Dec. 5th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Here's what there is to like about Bucs radio analyst Dave Moore:
The Panthers' second scoring drive Sunday was kept alive because of a holding call against Bucs linebacker Quincy Black. Those listening to the game on the radio had no idea whether it was a good call or not, and it's always easy for the home-team announcer to complain about an official's call. In fact, most listeners expect and some even like a little homerism.
Moore watched the replay and then told listeners that, yep, Black most definitely held the Panthers player and the official, absolutely, made the right call. From that point on, listeners had every reason to trust that Moore was not watching the game through pewter-colored glasses and could believe everything he said.
Are we seeing the greatest season for a quarterback in NFL history? The NFL Network’s Kurt Warner thinks so when he watches Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
''If he stays anywhere close to where he is right now, I will say it is the best quarterback season ever,'' Warner said during Sunday's GameDay Morning. "I've never seen anybody play the quarterback position this consistently.''
I have: New England’s Tom Brady in 2007.
Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer doesn't get much air time on Fox NFL Sunday, but he makes the most of it. His every second is jam-packed with information and insight. His best moment Sunday was talking about veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was released by the Vikings last week.
"He never showed a sense of urgency out there,'' Glazer said. "The Vikings said every game, when he was in there, it was almost like it was a preseason game. When they finally benched him, that week, he lit it up. That's exactly why he was benched. That's not what we saw when he was starting. Also, in talking with the Chicago Bears (Sunday) morning, they said they have no interest in Donovan McNabb.''
Why should they? Why should anyone? He's 6-13 as a starter over the past two seasons with the Redskins and Vikings and his work ethic was questioned with both teams.
Once again, Gus Johnson took a big event and made it about himself. I'm sorry, I know I'm in the minority on this. Most folks out there seem to love Johnson, who made a name for himself the past few years yelling -- er, I mean calling -- NCAA basketball games for CBS. Now he's over at Fox and called Saturday night's Big Ten football championship. He spent the night, as always, blasting out screams and grunts and groans. He had one call late in the game when I nearly called 911 because I swore he had just been stabbed.
Maybe his style is sincere, but I'm not so sure. It feels like schtick. Usually, when you hear an announcer go crazy, you look up because you know something incredible just happened. When Johnson is calling a game, I find myself looking up dozens of times, many for seemingly routine plays. Just once I would like to hear Johnson call the game in a normal voice and save the theatrics for the handful of plays that truly define a game and deserve a little bit extra. Note the words "little bit.''
But, like I said, I'm guessing most people out there disagree with me.
If you read this column regularly, you know I think the world of ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. He is the best college football analyst on TV and on the short list of the best analysts in all of sports. However, I cringed during Saturday's College GameDay when he said, "Enough of the 6-6 bowl teams. …The 6-6 teams should not go to a bowl game. As a company, we (ESPN) are as guilty as anybody in being involved with creating some of these bowls, but 6-6 teams cannot be going to bowls. It's supposed to be a reward. How do you get rewarded for a 6-6 year? It's terrible.''
First off, Herbstreit was right about one thing: ESPN is as much to blame as anyone and no entity benefits more from all these bowl games. Of the 35 bowl games, 33 are shown by ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or its Disney partner, ABC. Beyond that, why is Herbstreit bent out of shape about a 6-6 team making some bowl game that no one is forcing him to watch? As his partner, Lee Corso, said, "Bowls are for the players.''
Then again, Herbsteit was outstanding during Sunday night's BCS bowl show, ripping into the fact that Michigan and Virginia Tech are headed to the Sugar Bowl, while a team such as Boise State was left out of the BCS equation, simply because, according to Herbstreit, Michigan and Virginia Tech "travel'' better.
"Is that what it comes down to?'' Herbstreit asked.
First, ESPN blowhard Merril Hoge said the Broncos couldn't win with Tim Tebow as quarterback. Now that Tebow is 6-1 as a starter, Hoge is amending his opinion and, essentially, saying the Broncos can't win a Super Bowl with Tebow. Seeing as how only one quarterback a season wins a Super Bowl, it's not as if Hoge is going out on a limb to make himself look smart.During Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN, Hoge called Tebow's style "gimmick football,'' continued to harp on Tebow's mechanics and said he has seen no improvement.
ESPN analyst Bill Parcells said he has seen improvement and, quite frankly, I'm more inclined to trust Parcells' football knowledge over Hoge. Even when Parcells gave Hoge a chance to give Tebow some credit, Hoge said the Broncos are winning because of their "approach.''
Here's the thing. Maybe Hoge, ultimately, will be proven right. Maybe Tebow can't really play. Maybe it is all gimmick and luck. But Hoge's constant attacks (and almost no praise) as Tebow has success make Hoge appear as if he has it in for Tebow, like he wants him to fail. And nothing undercuts an analyst more than when viewers think he has something personal against a particular player or team.
Right now, Hoge is either ignorant, stubborn or vindictive. None are good.
Court of the day
Before tonight's game against St. John's, the University of Detroit Mercy will name its court after ESPN announcer and former coach Dick Vitale. From 1973 to 1977, Vitale led Detroit to a 78-30 record. "I'm going to be very emotional,'' Vitale told Two Cents on Sunday. The game can be seen at 7 on ESPN2.
Three things I liked on television over the weekend
1. Smart move by CBS to switch away from the Steelers-Bengals game to the Jets-Redskins on Sunday. At the time, the Steelers had just taken a 35-7 lead, while the Jets and Redskins were tied at 13 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
2. On Sunday, we got to hear the top NFL announcing teams from Fox (Joe Buck-Troy Aikman) and CBS (Jim Nantz-Phil Simms). Given a choice, I'd rather listen to Buck and Aikman. By far.
3. Nice coup by CBS to get injured Colts QB Peyton Manning for an in-depth interview, which included Manning's thoughts about his rehab, the Colts' awful season, the organization possibly drafting QB Andrew Luck and what he might do after football.
Three things that popped into my head
1. On Saturday, the Lightning lost its 12th game in regulation in its 25th game of the season. Last season, the Lightning didn't lose its 12th game in regulation until Jan. 5 -- its 41st game of the season.
2. I'm still not sure who the Heisman Trophy winner should be, but I can tell you that there is not a more exciting player in the country than LSU cornerback/kick returner Tyrann "Honey Badger'' Mathieu.
3. If LSU goes on to beat Alabama in the BCS title game, it will have beaten four teams that were ranked in the top three at the time LSU beat them, and nine teams that were ranked overall when LSU beat them. How could the Tigers not be considered among the greatest college teams ever?