Shooting from the lip/Sept. 20th edition
Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...
Sunday's Fox crew for the Bucs-Panthers broadcast was a master at stating the obvious. Announcer Dick Stockton is a meat-and-potatoes, just-the-facts pro, but analysts Charles Davis and Jim Mora Jr. need to give the audience a little more credit, especially Davis. Like when Davis insisted the Panthers were not going to abandon their running game when the Bucs took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
"I don't think 7-0 is a daunting score,'' Davis said.
Who suggested that it was? The whole broadcast was like that. Too many times the analysts simply called out what we were seeing for ourselves on the replays. Obviously, Davis and Mora know way more about football than 99.9 percent of the people watching the game. So, if that's the case, they should spend more time telling us what we don't know instead of just giving us "Introduction to Football'' by telling us what we already know. The thing is, Mora has a chance to be a pretty good analyst. Fox might be smart to take him out of the three-man booth he is in and put him in a two-man booth.
Normally, I like CBS's SEC team of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson (the two who called Saturday's Gators-Tennessee game) but gee whiz, when did Lundquist turn into Ed McMahon? Danielson occasionally jokes, but he's no Johnny Carson. That doesn't stop Lundquist from sounding as if he's doubled over in the booth. His guffaws are not only annoying, they're startling.
It's one thing to report that Brett Favre is retiring (or unretiring) and get it wrong. It's quite another to report someone is dead when they are still alive. Several outlets, most notably Canada's CTV, reported last week that former NHL coach Pat Burns, who has been battling cancer for years, had died. Seems that NHL executive Cliff Fletcher, who used to work here in Tampa Bay, also confirmed Burns' death to the media and later issued an apology. But let's not jump on Fletcher. He's not a member of the media. Those who did report Burns' death need to dig a little deeper than listening to Fletcher before running a story that serious. It's the one story you never want to get wrong.
Best future analysts
New York Daily News sports media writer Bob Raissman suggests that now that Bill Parcells is no longer running the Dolphins, he would be a perfect candidate to return to broadcasting, either in the booth or the studio. Agreed.
Here's another thought: Now that Joe Torre has announced he will not return to the Dodgers next season, some network should scoop him up. Torre has extensive broadcasting experience and, personally, I would love to see him replace Joe Morgan on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Problem is, Morgan isn't going anywhere, and I'm not convinced Torre is done managing.
Just before the end of the first half last week, Bengals receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco went to the locker room and it turned out that the Bengals ended up getting the ball back and tried a Hail Mary play. Coach Marvin Lewis later said he gave his two diva receivers permission to go into the locker room, but CBS NFL Today analyst Boomer Esiason wasn't buying it. "He's obviously not in control of these two guys because a lack of respect shown by T.O. and Ochocinco going into that locker room,'' Esiason said. "I would have told them stay there. Go do your tweeting and reality shows and we'll see you after the game.''
Talking about Titans quarterback Vince Young on the NFL Network's GameDay Morning pregame show, analyst Michael Irvin said, "Vince Young will be a quarterback that will win a Super Bowl one day.''
Fellow analyst Warren Sapp quickly said, "Vince Young scares no defense in the NFL. His style is elementary.''
All that was missing was Sapp saying, "Michael, you ignorant ...'' you know the rest.
Most overused phrase
Do ESPN reporters get paid extra every time they say "(Such-and-such player) told me ...''? Watch Sunday NFL Countdown and count the number of times you hear the words "told me.'' The phrase comes off as self-serving, as in, "See, I talked to the player or coach. He told me and only me.'' It just seems arrogant.
Last week, there was quite a stir involving the Jets and a female reporter and, once again, the topic of women in an NFL locker room came up. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was quoted as saying, "I don't think women should be in the locker room. The locker room is the place where us guys, us football players, we dress, we shower, we're naked, we're walking around and we're bombarded by media.''
Briggs is certainly entitled to that opinion, and there are many who agree with him. When Fox's Pam Oliver interviewed Briggs for the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show, she asked Briggs "what on earth possessed'' him to say women don't belong in the locker room. Briggs said, "Because our locker room is our realm. I'm not saying no women should be in the locker room.''
Wait, that's exactly what he said. Instead of calling Briggs out, Oliver followed up with a question about male reporters, Briggs gave an answer that didn't make sense and that was it. The taped segment ended. Now maybe something was cut out, but it's no shock that Oliver didn't follow up with hard-hitting questions because most of her interviews are more cozy like The Tonight Show than journalistic like Nightline. But one of two things should have happened. Either Oliver should've stayed completely away from the entire topic, especially since the feature was about Briggs and teammate Brian Urlacher, or Briggs should have been pressed to amplify his answer about women in the locker room.
Three things that popped into my head
1. To me, Derek Jeter lying about getting hit on the arm by a pitch was not nearly as disturbing as how many people out there were okay with Jeter's behavior. When did lying, regardless of when and where, become acceptable?
2. Gators coach Urban Meyer insists his program is run "the right way,'' but actions speak louder than words. Look, he can't babysit his players 24 hours a day, and he can't be expected to stop immature kids from doing stupid things. But he can be expected to deal with the problems after they happen and if the consequences aren't severe enough, then the problems will continue. Then he won't be doing things "the right way.''
3. Favorite move of the weekend: Lightning coach Guy Boucher banning fighting from training camp. Two guys on the same team fighting is not only dangerous and dumb, it doesn't prove a thing.