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St. Petersburg Times' Tom Jones: Shooting from the lip

St. Petersburg Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

Best Bradshaw rant

Part I

Fox NFL Sunday analyst Terry Bradshaw, left, woke up in a cranky mood Sunday. He tore into former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, right, for being too involved publicly in his sons' (Peyton and Eli) careers. You know, Bradshaw has a point.

"He complained about Troy Aikman's criticism of Eli Manning," Bradshaw said. "He orchestrated the draft that got Eli out of San Diego and into New York. When I criticized Peyton Manning on this program after a playoff game, he didn't appreciate my comments. I didn't hear from Peyton after those comments, I heard from you, Archie. Don't call me tomorrow, Archie. I thank God that I have a father that stayed out of my football career, let me be a man, take my lumps and make something out of my life."

Part II

Fox NFL Sunday's Terry Bradshaw didn't stop after his criticism of Archie Manning. He also took a pretty good shot at Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, right, who mismanaged the clock last week and essentially iced his own kicker with a late timeout in a loss to Arizona.

"You blew 21 seconds off the clock then waited until seven seconds and called a timeout," Bradshaw said. "You went home on an airplane with a timeout in your back pocket and you never told us why. To me, if you're my head coach and you don't stand up and face the music and take the punishment, I don't want to play for you."

Bradshaw wasn't alone in questioning Garrett for not immediately owning up to last week's blunder.

"You have to be accountable," ESPN's Bill Parcells said. "Everybody knows what happened. You have to stand up."

ESPN's Herm Edwards said, "When this situation occurs and the game is lost, as the head coach, you don't wait until the middle of the week."

ESPN's Mike Ditka added, "You've got to go to your football team, you've got to tell them very simply, 'My bad.' "

Worst question

ESPN's Tom Rinaldi provided the cringe- worthy moment of the weekend when he tripped all over an awful and disrespectful question to Stanford's Andrew Luck, top, asking the runnerup what "more he could have done" to win the Heisman just moments after the award went to Baylor's Robert Griffin III, bottom. What was Luck supposed to say? Luck handled the question with class, giving credit to winner Griffin. Rinaldi's question not withstanding, ESPN has found its groove covering the Heisman.

Best exchange

Here's your weekly "Merril Hoge bashes Tim Tebow" update. Seriously, the ESPN commentator is so over-the-top critical and so loathe to credit Tebow that even analysts on his own network are questioning him. Last week it was Bill Parcells, and on Sunday it was Mike Ditka. During Sunday NFL Countdown and a week after saying it was the Broncos' "approach" that was winning games, Hoge gave a bit of credit to Tebow, but mostly he credited the offensive line for Tebow's success.

Ditka went bonkers, yelling at Hoge that the offensive line was simply doing its job and the quarterback was doing his job.

ESPN needs to seriously consider having Hoge no longer comment on Tebow, below. Maybe the network believes the Hoge-Tebow story makes for good TV and has people tuning in, but ESPN needs to realize that Hoge's credibility is taking a serious hit. You see, this isn't about whether Hoge might be right or even his right to voice his opinion, but whether viewers find him credible when talking about Tebow. How can we take him seriously when even those who work with him seem to have their doubts?

Best analysis

Kudos to Jorge Diaz, analyst on the Ch. 13 Bucs postgame show. While partner Ricky Reynolds was throwing his support behind Bucs coach Raheem Morris, Diaz, above, said Morris' job was, and should be, in jeopardy after Sunday's loss at Jacksonville. Diaz criticized Morris' job of running the defense and said it was time to consider if there was another coach better suited to lead the team. Diaz showed the guts you don't often see on that kind of local show.

Best announcing team

Fox's Sam Rosen did a splendid job calling Sunday's Bucs-Jags game, but his best work of the week was on the Lightning-Rangers game for MSG in New York on Thursday. Remember that was the night the Rangers' Artem Anisimov, right, celebrated a goal by acting like he was a sniper shooting a gun at the Lightning goal.

They might call Rangers games, but Rosen and partner Joe Micheletti immediately criticized Anisimov's celebration, and Micheletti was extremely complimentary of Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier, who charged after Anisimov.

By the way, some in New York are wondering if Anisimov's celebration might have been a result of knowing HBO cameras were rolling for the upcoming 24/7 series previewing the Winter Classic outdoor game.

Best point

It would appear that the NBA's David Stern, left, is no longer the best commissioner in sports. In the wake of the inexplicable veto of a trade that would've sent the Hornets' Chris Paul to the Lakers, New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said on Sunday's Sports Reporters on ESPN2:

"It's time for this commissioner to start moving toward the door and figure out what his exit strategy is going to be."

Lupica points out that if the sport has had two labor disputes in 12 years and supposedly 20 teams are losing money, how effective is the commissioner?

Three things I liked on TV this weekend

1. Saturday featured one of my favorite programs of the year: NBC's tightly edited, highly compelling 90-minute recap of the Ironman World Championships.

2. The Army-Navy game on CBS, as always, was superb. What makes this game so different than most sporting events is that you can watch it and root for both teams.

3. An NFL Films-produced and NFL Network show about the top 10 left-handed quarterbacks of all time Saturday night was a show that makes networks such as the NFL Network, the MLB Network, the NHL Network and NBA TV so fun to watch when there's nothing else on.

Three things that popped into my head

1. How come the player of the year in college basketball isn't celebrated as much as the Heisman Trophy winner?

2. Here's hoping Indiana's upset over Kentucky on Saturday was no fluke. College basketball is more fun when IU is good. Now someone needs to wake up UCLA.

3. Record of the day: 4-9. That happens to be the record of the three NFL teams in the state of Florida: the Bucs, Jags and Dolphins.

tom jones' two cents

St. Petersburg Times' Tom Jones: Shooting from the lip 12/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:01pm]
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