Shooting from the lip/Nov. 16th
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Bucs radio play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff spent way too much time during Sunday's Bucs-Panthers game bellyaching about bad calls or noncalls -- pass interference, horse-collar tackles, intentional grounding, holding. At times he was sarcastic in his complaints -- "I didn't know you were allowed to do that!'' At times he was angry -- "Throw a flag!'' At times, he was both, and more.
Look, I realize Deckerhoff is not supposed to be straight-down-the-middle unbiased. There is a level of homerism expected, and even wanted, by fans from any home-team announcer. But too much complaining is distracting and a little pathetic. Most listening to Deckerhoff are not watching the game, so we are trusting him to be our eyes. When there is too much complaining, it reduces the impact of when there really is a questionable call. Complaints few and far between are trusted more than gripes about every single call, even if the official got it wrong every single time.
The winner of the Big East automatically goes to a BCS bowl game. That means a three- or four-loss Big East team might end up in the Fiesta Bowl, while an undefeated Boise State ends up in the Poinsettia Bowl. During Saturday's ESPN college football coverage, analyst Lou Holtz told Pitt graduate Mark May that it would be a "travesty'' if Pitt gets to go to a BCS game over Boise State.
May smiled and asked, what if USF, which is coached by Lou's son Skip, ends up going to a BCS bowl game instead of Boise State?
Holtz laughed and said, "Well, that's how the BCS works.''
Host Rece Davis said, "Well, blood is thicker than television cables.''
Holtz then fessed up: "Hey, it's not me, it's my wife! I have to say that.''
Fox’s Pam Oliver brought her A-game to her interview with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Fox NFL Sunday. She asked Jones if he was embarrassed about his team, how he felt he was doing as the team's general manager and whether his ego was in the way of his job. She also pointed out how top-notch coaches such as Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells have left the team. And, in her best gut-punch question, Oliver asked, "Jerry, people are laughing at the Cowboys. Pointing, laughing and doing cartwheels over this whole mess. Is some of it of your own creation?''
Oliver was so good that one had to press the "Info'' button on the remote to see if he was watching Fox NFL Sunday or 60 Minutes.
The follow-up to the interview was excellent analysis from Johnson, as he honestly answered questions about his time working for Jones. Those 10 minutes were the best 10 minutes of Sunday morning's pregame shows.
What fantasy land is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell living in? At a time when the economy is a mess, you think he would be more sensitive than to suggest that Miami, which has a 23-year-old stadium, and Atlanta, whose Georgia Dome is 18 years old, need new stadiums if they want to host future Super Bowls. Invariably, those cities (and others) are going to take Goodell's suggestions to the taxpayers. And speaking of Goodell, how long does it take to investigate this Brett Favre soap opera? It feels as if he is waiting until the end of the season and Favre retires so he doesn't have the embarrassment of suspending (if warranted) one of the most popular players in NFL history.
Rumors have already started about where CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher will end up coaching next season. Will it be Dallas? Will it be Carolina? Buffalo? None of the above, according to CBS NFL Today analyst Dan Marino. "I predict that Coach Cowher will be sitting right here next year,'' Marino said. "He's not going anywhere.''
Best Bucs reference
ESPN NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson, talking about what the Cowboys should look for in a new head coach:
"You have to have a strong personality. … (Jon) Gruden took over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was like a microwave-ready team. Come in there, inject your spirits into this football team, and we went on to win a world championship with pieces in place. That's the same thing the Dallas Cowboys have right now.''
Favorite question and answer
From NBC's Football Night in America:
Host Bob Costas: "I'm obliged to ask because Billy Bush and Access Hollywood aren't here. You answer anyway you want. Do we contemplate a haircut before the year is over?''
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: "(Laughs) Probably not. As this wintertime goes, I think the beard comes a little bit, the hair grows a little. It's got to stay warm out here. We're in New England. I'm not in San Diego like Philip Rivers. Peyton (Manning) gets to play in a dome all the time. I've got to do things to keep warm. I've learned that from (Brett) Favre. Favre's always got the scruffy beard going, so that's what I'm going to do.''
Wisconsin beat Indiana 83-20 Saturday. That's football, by the way. It's hard to look at that score and not think Wisconsin was running up the score. Indiana coach Bill Lynch said he didn't think the Badgers were rubbing it in, but that's because he's a classy guy. The same cannot be said for Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. This is the same coach who earlier this year went for two when his team had a 41-16 lead with less than seven minutes left against Minnesota. On Saturday, with a 59-13 lead, the Badgers started the fourth quarter by calling pass plays on three of their first six plays. They also scored on a 74-yard pass play for a 76-14 lead with less than five minutes left.
I've heard all the excuses. If you don't want a team running up the score, then stop them. He was getting work for his backups. It's not our fault the other team can't stop us. But that's a fellow coach on the other side of the field, a coach who is 4-24 in his career in the Big Ten and is trying desperately to hold on to his job. These are just college kids. So make any argument you want, but throwing with a huge lead in the fourth quarter is simply not the right thing to do.
Three things that popped into my head
1. I wrote that the Cleveland Cavaliers might not win 10 games this season without LeBron James. They have already won four, and their record (4-5) is not much worse than James' Heat (6-4).
2. After a mediocre Notre Dame embarrassed Utah 28-3 Saturday, TCU's rout against Utah last week suddenly doesn’t seem all that impressive.
3. Best game coverage of the weekend: CBS's broadcast of the Auburn-Georgia game, especially because the network didn't shy away from delving into the ugly accusations surrounding Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.