Wednesday, March 21, 2018
TV and Radio_sports

Shooting from the lip

Solid call

The Fox announcing team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman acted like Super Bowl XLVIII was just another football game.

That's a compliment.

Buck and Aikman have this Super Bowl thing down pat. In their fourth Super Bowl together, the two called a steady game, giving viewers exactly what they deserve. With more than 100 million expected viewers, there were plenty of those watching who couldn't tell you the difference between Richard Sherman and Richard Simmons. But you can't gear a broadcast toward those people. They're only half paying attention to the details anyway.

You have to direct your broadcast toward football fans, and that's what Buck and Aikman did. That's what the whole broadcast did. Give Fox high marks. Their broadcast was infinitely better than the game itself.

Biggest absence

Fox was missing one of its stars Sunday. NFL on Fox studio analyst Terry Bradshaw, who also typically awards the Lombardi Trophy after the Super Bowls on Fox, spent Sunday in his native Louisiana, mourning the death of his father. Bill Bradshaw died Thursday after a long illness. He was 86. In a classy move, Fox dedicated the broadcast to Bradshaw and his family.

Worst explanation

On the Seahawks' first drive, QB Russell Wilson came up just short of a first down on a third-down run, but replays indicated there was a bad spot. Seattle challenged the call, but the play stood as called and the Seahawks lost the challenge. It was a confusing call, yet Fox glossed over it even though rules official Mike Pereira was sitting in the booth. Not talking to Pereira turned out to be Fox's only real misstep of the day.

Best line

With the crowd going crazy for the Seahawks in the first quarter, Fox announcer Joe Buck said, "We're a long way from Seattle, but it is loud."

Worst line

Did ESPN's Chris Berman really say that to root against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was "un-American?" So, apparently, if you're from Seattle or just don't like Manning, you should book a flight on a time machine to take you back to the Soviet Union, circa 1979.

Best bit

Jerry Seinfield and Jason Alexander could read a phone book and it would be funny. Put them in a Seinfeld-type skit promoting Seinfield's Web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and it is hilarious.

Best commercials

• The Kia ad with Laurence Fishburne and the Matrix theme was so weird it was good. Really good.

• Chevy's ad celebrating cancer survivors surely brought a tear to your eye.

• The CarMax commercial with a cameo from Sean Astin's Rudy character was good stuff. Why? Because it had a cameo from Rudy.

• The Tim Tebow commercials for T-Mobile showed two things: Tebow has a sense of humor and he can sell whatever it is you want to sell.

• Any food commercial that makes a sound like someone passing gas is … awesome. You are awesome, Heinz ketchup.

Coolest look

There is nothing cooler in this world than seeing Broadway Joe Namath wearing a fur coat. Nothing.

Worst commercials

• The only thing worse than those "Flo" Progressive Insurance commercials is an ad with actors dressed up to look like Flo from those Progressive Insurance commercials.

Stephen Colbert's ad for Wonderful Pistachios was, surprisingly and disappointingly, not so wonderful.

The rest of the weekend

The Super Bowl dominated weekend sports coverage, but it wasn't the only sporting event on TV. Some of the highs and lows from the rest of the weekend:

• ESPN's college basketball duo of Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale were outstanding calling Saturday's Syracuse-Duke overtime thriller. And for anyone who thinks Vitale is a Duke backer, go back and watch the broadcast and see how he called the game right down the middle. I didn't think the officiating was as good as Shulman and Vitale thought, but overall, their broadcasting was A-plus.

• Good to hear that NBC tapped Canada's TSN broadcaster Gord Miller to call Sunday's NHL game between the Red Wings and Caps. Miller is superb and showed that Sunday working with the equally superb Joe Micheletti. The usual NBC crew of Doc Emrick, Ed Olczyk and Pierre McGuire are getting ready for the Sochi Olympics.

• How sad and classless to hear Indiana University basketball fans chanting "U-S-A" and "Deport Stauskas" to Michigan sophomore guard Nik Stauskas, who is from Canada. I wonder how Hoosiers forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea, a native of Colombia, felt about that.

Best anthem

If I were a singer, I would refuse to do the national anthem at future Super Bowls because no one — and I mean no one — will ever do a better version than Renee Fleming did on Sunday. It was the best version ever done at a Super Bowl — yep, it even blew away Whitney Houston's version in Tampa — and the best that will ever be done. Let's just bring Fleming back every year.

"I've never heard it sung any better," Fox announcer Joe Buck said. Smartest thing Buck said all evening.

tom jones' two cents


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