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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Shooting from the lip/Feb. 27th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

daytona.Best filler
If there was a Sports Emmy for best coverage during a weather delay, we could just give the award right now to Fox for its work during Sunday's delay of the Daytona 500.

Fox came on the air at noon, and five hours later the race was postponed until today. This wasn't a 35-minute rain delay that you might see in baseball. This wasn't a two-hour delay because of lightning at a golf tournament. This was five hours! And Fox's coverage remained enthusiastic, entertaining and enthralling.

The network bounced around from the studio to the broadcast booth to the track to the pits to the garages and to wherever the drivers were hanging out. They had interviews, features and weather updates. It was funny at times, informative at others and pretty darn good television; the best of a bad situation. The highlights of the day were interviews with drivers Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart, and a running countdown of the best moments in Daytona 500 history. …

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King David show no longer on 1010-AM

david.The shake-up on local talk radio continued Thursday with another stunner. The King David Show, co-hosted by Toby David and former Bucs quarterback Shaun King, is done after nearly two years. The show heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. on 1010-AM had its last program on Wednesday. It's believed the show ended because King and David no longer wanted to work together.

"I appreciated the time I worked with Shaun and have a great amount of respect for him,'' David said. "I also enjoyed working at CBS Radio and have nothing but the utmost respect for those people and I hope the land on my feet locally.''

King did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Mike Pepper, CBS Radio's assistant programming director, said the station will immediately begin its efforts to fill the noon to 3 p.m. slot with a local show. Interestingly, either King or David might be involved in the new show. David said he would be open to returning to that slot, and it's believed King also might have an interest.

Other possibilities include Ronnie "Night Train'' Lane, who was let go by ESPN's 1040-AM two weeks ago, and Justin Pawlowski, who is now doing work with 1010-AM after leaving recently 620-AM. …

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Have faith in Yzerman's Lightning plan

yzerman.Funny how this is working out. The Lightning keeps trading valuable parts, and the team keeps winning. As much as general manager Steve Yzerman looks to the future, his team won't give up on the present. In the past week, the Lightning has shipped off veterans Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie for draft picks and prospects. In that span, the Lightning has won three in a row to pull within five points of a playoff spot.  So is Yzerman making a mistake? Has he given up too soon? Should he have waited a little longer to close the door on this season? Absolutely not.

Here are five reasons Yzerman is doing the right thing. …

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Wednesday: Chat live with Tom Jones

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Shooting from the lip/Feb. 20th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

gordon.Best coverage
Have you ever been clicking around aimlessly on your television when you suddenly see something on the screen and think, "Oh, cool, I didn't know this was on.''

I get that rush of excitement when I flip on Fox and see a NASCAR race. And I don't even consider myself a NASCAR fan. But Fox's NASCAR coverage is so good, you can't help but watch. It's right up there with NBC's NFL and NHL coverage, HBO's boxing broadcasts and ABC/ESPN's college football coverage as the finest in sports broadcasting.

Okay, so Fox's NASCAR analysts are a little too pro-NASCAR. But they are enthusiastic, and the production is exceptional, especially if you are watching on a high-definition TV. Take Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The camera work on the crash that ended Jeff Gordon's night as well as the thrilling photo finish was as good as anything you're going to see on sports TV. Fox has added a bunch of bells and whistles to a broadcast that was already as good as it gets. See for yourself at Sunday's Daytona 500. …

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Ranking Tampa Bay's coaches

maddon.Rays manager Joe Maddon, the American League’s reigning manager of the year, just signed a contract extension through 2015. Lightning coach Guy Boucher is considered one of the sharp young minds in the game. The Bucs just turned a new page by hiring coach Greg Schiano. So this seems like a good time to look at the history of Tampa Bay coaches and rank them from best to worst. In all, the Bucs, Rays and Lightning have had 19 coaches/managers, not counting one-time Lightning interim coach Rick Paterson, who coached only six games. So here is one opinion of how the coaches in Tampa Bay sports history stack up against one another. …

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Ronnie "Night Train'' Lane out at 1040-AM

espn.In a major shakeup at ESPN 1040-AM, Ronnie "Night Train'' Lane is out as co-host of the afternoon drive PrimeTime show after 18 months. Lane was let go last week, and his former on-air partner Tom Krasniqi is now hosting the show by himself.

Lane said he was blindsided by the move and thought it was a joke when he was told he was being fired after last Friday's show.

"I asked if the decision was performance-based,'' Lane said, "and all I was told was 'We're taking the show in another direction.' That's all I got. That's all I was told.''

Len Weiner, 1040-AM’s program director, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Krasniqi, who used to host his own show on 1010-AM, is a solid on-air personality who should do fine piloting the show by himself. However, it felt like Lane and Krasniqi had finally hit their stride and had developed a nice on-air camaraderie, especially since the third member of the original show, former Bucs receiver Mark Carrier, was let go in July. …

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Shooting from the lip/Feb. 13th edition

Looking back at a weekend of televised sports ...

woods.Most overhyped coverage
Yeesh, could CBS golf host Jim Nantz have gushed any more about the Pebble Beach course over the weekend? We get it. It's a nice track. I just wanted to watch some golf, and I felt like Nantz was trying to sell me property.

CBS's golf coverage is only a few weeks old and I'm already yearning for NBC. The lone bright spot is main analyst Nick Faldo, who mixes in a nice blend of analysis and humor. He knows the game as well as anyone, and he knows how to communicate it. He isn't willing to be as critical as NBC's Johnny Miller. Then again, no one in golf, and few in sports broadcasting, are as critical as Miller. Faldo, however, does a good enough job to make CBS's announcing crew tolerable. Barely. …

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The NFL's 10 best QBs

A year ago this week, in this exact spot, I ranked the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. It was based on how they were playing at that time. In order, the list was: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick and Eli Manning. So today, the list is revisited and updated. Again, this isn’t based on career achievements, but where they rank now.

rodgers.1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Coming off, perhaps, the greatest individual season ever. He threw for 4,643 yards with 45 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His 122.5 passer rating was an NFL record. He led the Pack to a 15-1 record. Counting the playoffs, he is 20-2 over his past 22 starts. He is only 28.

2. Drew Brees, Saints
In the 2011 season, Brees broke Dan Marino’s record for passing yards by throwing for 5,476. He also set NFL records for completions (468), completion percentage (71.2) and 300-yard passing games (13). With Brees, the Saints set NFL records for total yards (7,474) and first downs (416). …

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Sports Babe faces health concerns

babe.Nanci Donnellan, better known as the "Fabulous Sports Babe'' and one of the pioneers of sports talk radio, is battling serious health problems and is no longer hosting an afternoon show on ESPN 1040-AM. Donnellan hasn't been on the air since Jan. 20. It isn't known when or even if she will be able to return.

Donnellan, who is thought to be in her late 50s (she has never revealed her age publicly), is believed to be the first and only woman to have a nationally syndicated sports talk radio show when she hosted on ESPN Radio in the 1990s. She took a hiatus from radio, partly to recover from breast cancer, in the early 2000s, but returned to Tampa Bay radio and 1040-AM in 2008. She has hosted a show there from noon to 3 weekdays.

The station would only say Donnellan is out for "personal reasons.'' Attempts to reach Donnellan were unsuccessful.

In her absence, various hosts have been filling in, but the buzz is that Whitney Johnson, formerly an update reporter on WDAE 620-AM, will take over as the host of the noon to 3 p.m. time slot for now. Johnson was popular as WDAE's update guy, but we'll see if that popularity is able to translate to hosting 15 hours a week.

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Shooting from the lip

Recently I was watching a clip on YouTube  of CBS's coverage of Super Bowl X between the Steelers and Cowboys in 1976. With about four minutes left, announcer Pat Summerall informed viewers that broadcast partner Tom Brookshier was heading to the locker rooms for postgame interviews. My goodness, can you imagine?

Sunday, NBC had more than a dozen on-air personalities for the Super Bowl, including two who stood outside the team hotels and told us what time each team had breakfast. Yes, things have changed. But ultimately, the high-definition cameras, state-of-the-art graphics, cast of thousands and other bells and whistles don’t mean much if the game is a dud.

A bad broadcast can get in the way of a good game, but a great broadcast can’t spice up a boring game. NBC covers the NFL better than any network, but even it was limited by Sunday's game, which was close but not necessarily dramatic or memorable for much of the evening.

Here's a look at Sunday's Super Bowl coverage, as well as the rest of the weekend in televised sports ... …

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