St. Petersburg Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at Sunday's Bucs-Dolphins broadcast on Fox.
. Broadcasters Ron Pitts, top, and John Lynch would make the perfect guests at a dinner party. They are intelligent, pleasant and polite. And they aren't going to say anything too controversial or opinionated, or start any arguments. They come off as just, well, nice guys. Pitts calls a nice game with no mistakes, no silly puns, no off-the-mark jokes. Lynch calls a nice game with scratch-the-surface analysis and plenty of pats on the back. Everything just seems so nice, maybe a little too nice. Good broadcasters are in the ear of the beholder, but these two might be better served to develop more of a bite.
To be fair, Pitts' role is to call the game, and Lynch has been doing this for less than a year. He can't be expected to develop a strong voice this soon. He knows the game, collects his thoughts and words well, and can speak. Perhaps, over time, his opinions will become stronger.
One other thing to consider: They were calling one of the less-attractive games of the day between two boring teams.
Worst use of halftime
. The most outspoken and opinionated football analysts on any network should be those who work in the studio, and those watching the Bucs-Dolphins game wanted to know what the analysts thought about the controversial replay call near the end of the first half. Instead, all we got from the halftime crew was how a bunch of fans were watching at Jimmy Johnson's restaurant in Miami, how Johnson's gout is acting up and a bunch of guffaws that, unfortunately, have become a staple of Fox's studio work.
Worst use of replay
. Sunday featured what might have been the worst call in the history of instant replay, when the Dolphins were awarded the ball on a play that clearly should have been ruled a Bucs completion and down by contact late in the first half deep in Tampa Bay territory. The Bucs probably could have run out the clock, but, two plays later, the Dolphins scored a touchdown to go up 16-6.
Fox did a good job showing the replays, while announcers Ron Pitts and John Lynch voiced their opinions that it should have been the Bucs' ball. Pitts and Lynch, however, let the officials off a little easy once the play, incredibly, was ruled the other way. They should have been harder on the officials instead of constantly using the vanilla word "controversial" to describe it all.
And where the heck was sideline reporter Laura Okmin while all this was going on? Bucs coach Raheem Morris was getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and it would have been nice if Fox had gone to Okmin to describe what was happening on the sideline. After all, what's the point of a sideline reporter if she or he can't tell us what's happening on the sideline? It wasn't until the start of the second half that Fox went to Okmin, who reported that Morris thought the Dolphins got a "good call,'' whatever that means.
Best sideline report
. Neat story by Fox sideline reporter Laura Okmin, who told of a bet between former Auburn teammates Cadillac Williams (Bucs) and Ronnie Brown (Dolphins). The bet was that the player on the losing team had to pay for an offseason vacation for the two. Brown wants to go to Australia in the offseason; Williams wants to go to Africa. Okmin is usually good for one or two of these cool little stories.