Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Your viewers guide to NFL TV

tom jones' two cents

NETWORKPREGAMEANNOUNCING TEAMS
FOX(Fox NFL Sunday): At times, it feels as if the analysts — Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson — are the strongest and deepest group on television. So why did the show continue to go downhill last season? Because of the constant and annoying need to be funny. Making matters worse, they aren't funny. Too many inside jokes, too much talking over one another, too much cackling, too little time spent talking about football has made this show, at moments, unwatchable. And, only a couple of years ago, this was the best pregame show on TV. Knock off the high jinks, get back to football and you might, again, have a chance to be the best pregame on TV. Otherwise, they need to seriously consider overhauling the cast.Fox's top pair of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are among the best in the business. After that, there's a big drop, and Fox must have thought so, too, because it has shaken up its roster. Ron Pitts is out. Ronde Barber, the former Buc, is in. He will be paired with veteran Dick Stockton. Former Buc John Lynch, who was paired with Stockton, joins newcomer Kevin Burkhardt. Kenny Albert and Sam Rosen are strong play-by-play announcers, while Brian Billick and Lynch are solid analysts. But I'm not a fan of analysts Moose (Daryl Johnston) and Goose (Tony Siragusa) or play-by-play guy Chris Myers. Barber had a shaky preseason calling Bucs games. He remains a project. Fox, by the way, has the Super Bowl this season.
NBC(Football Night in America): Technically, it's a pregame show, but it benefits from being a highlight show, too, showing clips from games played earlier in the day. Still, with hosts Bob Costas and Dan Patrick and analysts Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Hines Ward, plus reporting by Peter King, FNiA is the top NFL pregame show. If you love the NFL, it's a can't-miss show.Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth make up the best announcing team in the NFL. Michaels rarely makes a mistake. He is efficient with his words and judicious with his emotions. I'm not overstating this when I say he is the perfect play-by-play announcer and, just maybe, the best of all time. Collinsworth is the best analyst in the NFL, holding true to the most important mantra of announcing: Call it like you see it. The Sunday night game has become the NFL event of the week.
CBS(The NFL Today): I used to call this show the Two and a Half Men of pregame shows. It was crude, sexist humor with no redeeming qualities. Well, I'm not going to take credit for the change, but someone clearly stepped in and told the boys it was time to grow up. Over the past two years, the show has moved closer to being a smart, intelligent pregame show without becoming a total bore. It's not quite 60 Minutes or anything, but it's much better. Boomer Esiason has become a star because his opinions are strong even when against-the-grain. Bill Cowher and Dan Marino bring strong analysis. Shannon Sharpe is a bit of a loudmouth but still has his moments. The debate segments are better than any of the other Sunday morning shows.Not bad. Not great. Not funny. Not offensive. If the announcing teams at CBS were ice cream, we're talking vanilla. Good, but it's nothing special. The top team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms is fine, but not as good as the best announcing teams on any other network. Actually, the announcing team of Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts, which would be considered the third string on CBS's depth chart, is the network's best duo. I also like Marv Albert and Rich Gannon. Overall, if it's a Sunday afternoon, I think I'd rather watch a game on Fox than CBS unless Eagle and Fouts are calling it.
NFL Network(NFL GameDay Morning): I go back and forth on this show. The panel of Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Deion Sanders, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin go from being funny to annoying, insightful to arrogant, intelligent to downright ridiculous. Too often, it feels like all of them are trying to be the smartest guy in the room, and the funniest, and the most outrageous. Warner is the best of the bunch. Sapp can be the most entertaining when his arrogance doesn't get the best of him. Here's how I see this show: I can stand it in short spurts, but if I watch it too long, I feel like I never want to watch it again.Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock are solid, although far from special. The best part is they give you all the pertinent information and never get in the way of the game. Also, to be fair, Mayock has a very solid reputation among most fans and media critics.
ESPN(Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday NFL Countdown): The trouble with the pregame show, unfortunately, seems to be the legendary host Chris Berman. Once the best pregame host in the NFL, he has lost his fastball, so to speak. His imitations are tired. His references are dated. His shtick is old. Although, give him this: He does know his role, which is to set up the analysts. As far as those analysts go, the crew of Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson is probably the strongest Sunday morning lineup on TV. They speak with such authority and experience that everything they say seems credible. The one nit is they rarely seem to disagree with each other, even on controversial subjects. If they all think the same way, then maybe the cast needs to add an alternative voice or two.Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden are top-notch, especially since Gruden, perhaps having heard criticism, started being a little more critical. Before that, he seemed to love everybody and everything. Here's why Gruden will soon be the best analyst on television: The NFL game is changing. Offenses are going uptempo with no huddles, meaning analysts will have even less time to get in their points. Gruden has an enormous football IQ and already speaks in succinct sound bites. That combination will allow him to say things in seven or eight seconds that other analysts won't be able to spit out in 25.


Are you ready for some football? Lots of it? Today is the first Sunday of the NFL season, and we will see more football than ever before in 2013. Counting all the pregame and postgame shows, Sunday's viewing has become a 15-hour event. Then we have Monday and Thursday nights. Here's our annual Two Cents broadcast guide to the NFL season.

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Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Published: 05/22/18
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Published: 05/22/18
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Published: 05/22/18
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

On a day when the Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taking place across the pond, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston proposed marriage to his long-time girlfriend Breion Allen Saturday in New York City.She said yes.The proposal to...
Published: 05/21/18
Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

At no position is the Bucs' ability to find talent outside the NFL draft more clear than at tight end, where three of the four returning players from last season joined the Bucs as undrafted rookie free agents.Cameron Brate did so in 2014, Alan Cross...
Published: 05/21/18
Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Saints, Eagles, Steelers.Three games against three playoff teams to open the NFL season.Who in the league scheduling office did the Buccaneers tick off?What an injustice!Or not.Maybe the league did the Bucs a favor.Would you rather face the Saints, E...
Published: 05/21/18
O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

Add another to the long list of Bucs players and coaches excited about first-round pick Vita Vea: offensive line coach George Warhop.Warhop said the 347-pound defensive tackle from Washington kept showing up as he looked at tape on Pac-12 offensive l...
Published: 05/19/18