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Shooting from the lip: Weekend sports TV highlights

Best names

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave coach Jason Garrett the dreaded vote of confidence last week, saying Garrett would be back next season. Not so fast, says CBS NFL Today insider Jason La Canfora.

"That's being met with a lot of skepticism around the league," La Canfora said. "If Garrett doesn't finish strong, no one I've talked to necessarily believes he's going to be back. Jones has done this in the past, said a guy's going to be back and he's gone. Mike Holmgren is one former coach, a Super Bowl winner, who would be interested in going there."

Here's another Super Bowl winner who might be interested: former Bucs coach Jon Gruden (left).

Best feature

Greg Garber had a terrific piece on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown called, "The Patriot Way," which talked about the Patriots' philosophy of letting veteran players go and replacing them with younger ones who make less money.

Former QB Drew Bledsoe (top) said, "If they decide they can live without you and they can find someone else to play that position for less money, you're out the door."

Former Pats lineman Damien Woody said, "I remember coach (Bill Belichick) telling me (former NFL coach) Bill Walsh once said that it's better to get rid of a player a year early than a year too late."

In Bledsoe's case, one can make a pretty good argument that his replacement not only made less money, but might have been a tad better, too. That was Tom Brady (bottom).

Best replacement

Fox NFL Sunday analyst Howie Long took his first Sunday off since he joined Fox Sports 20 years ago so he could watch his two sons, Chris of the Rams and Kyle of the Bears, play against one another. Randy Moss (right) who has been working with Fox Sports 1, filled in and did a nice job. Moss has been a pleasant surprise as an analyst.

Worst offer

Ray Lewis (right) has been doing a good job as an NFL analyst for ESPN, but he took a misstep last week. He pulled out his American Express card and offered to pay half of the fine if the NFL fined the 49ers' Ahmad Brooks for a hit on Saints QB Drew Brees. (The NFL did so, for $15,750.)

You can't be doing that, Ray, and I'm guessing ESPN had a nice chat with him saying the same thing.

Best question

New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica asks, "One game for the championship of the world in baseball, who would you rather have at second base, Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano?"

Great question. The answer: Pedroia. And it isn't even close.

Best director

Sad news for fans of HBO boxing. Marc Payton, who has been directing HBO cards for three decades, is retiring. His final fight was Saturday night's Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios bout in China. Payton also directed baseball and football at ESPN, but his best work was boxing at HBO.

Payton joined HBO in 1980, and his first fight as director was "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler against Fulgencio Obelmejias on Jan. 17, 1981. Since then, he has been in the chair for some of the finest sporting event coverage ever broadcast.

I've said it many times: HBO boxing is as good as any sports broadcasting I have ever seen, and Payton is a big reason why. By the way, a replay of the Pacquiao-Rios fight airs at 10:15 p.m. Saturday on HBO.

Least underrated

The Heisman Trophy hopes of Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota and Baylor QB Bryce Petty took serious hits Saturday. That leaves quarterbacks A.J. McCarron (Alabama) and Jameis Winston (Florida State) as the leading candidates.

Speaking of McCarron (right), everyone on TV who mentions him says something like, "No one is talking about this guy, but … " Wait, what? Everyone is talking about him.

Three things that popped into my head

1. This is a pretty big game the Lightning plays tonight against the Rangers. It should give us a better indication if the recent winless four-game road trip was a product of playing four pretty good teams or the after­effects from losing star Steven Stamkos.

2. Every year, we worry that a bunch of college football teams will go undefeated and mess up the BCS. But watch, just like most other years, it will all weed itself out and we will end up with two clear-cut teams playing for the national championship.

3. I think it should take more than one lousy season for the Gators to dump football coach Will Muschamp. I would give him at least another season to fix this thing.

tom jones' two cents

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his best and worst from a weekend of sports.

Shooting from the lip: Weekend sports TV highlights 11/24/13 [Last modified: Sunday, November 24, 2013 8:52pm]
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