1. Archive


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

On Friday night's Charlie Rose show on PBS (see, you never know where you're going to hear talk about sports), Sports Illustrated'sPeter King gave the best explanation yet for why the new Cowboys stadium is so swanky. It's not because of owner Jerry Jones' ego, he said.

"Jerry Jones built this stadium and built it the way he did - garish, bigger than life, giant screens here, creature comforts there - for one reason,'' King said. "He's afraid of football becoming a studio sport. He's afraid of men 25 to 49 saying, 'You know what? It's raining out there today. I'm going to stay in my man cave with my big TV and have three or four beers and watch the games on TV rather than going out to the stadium.' (Jones said) 'That's the danger in our sports. TV is so wonderful right now.'''

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Best son

I was watching the Clemson-Miami game Saturday for 20 minutes before I realized the color commentator was not Bob Griese, but his sonBrian. The two sound identical. Fortunately, Brian didn't say anything dumb like his dad did Saturday during the Ohio State-Minnesota game. Talking about Colombian NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, the elder Griese said, "He's out having a taco.'' Griese apologized later.

And let's not overreact and call for Griese's firing. His comment was stupid and insensitive, but it's not the worst thing ever said on the air.

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Best premonition

When University of Tennessee kicker Daniel Lincoln made a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Alabama, CBS's Gary Danielson pointed out the low trajectory of the kick and told viewers, "That's something to keep an eye on later in the game.''

Sure enough, Lincoln later had two kicks blocked, including a 44-yarder that would have won the game on the last play.

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Strangest story line

ABC's Brent Musburger spent way too much time during Saturday night's Texas-Missouri game talking about how Texas wanted to impress poll voters with style points so the Longhorns could pass either Alabama or Florida, as if Texas was in danger of being shut out of the national championship picture. It wasn't a passing reference. He mentioned it several times, obviously forgetting that Texas is fine in the No. 3 spot. Either Alabama and Florida is guaranteed a loss, because if those two remain unbeaten, they'll eventually meet in the SEC Championship Game.

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Biggest rip

Fox NFL Sunday did get serious long enough for analyst Terry Bradshaw to carve Titans coach Jeff Fisher, below, who wore a Peyton Manning jersey last week at a luncheon where Fisher introduced former Colts coach Tony Dungy. The move didn't go over too well among Tennessee fans because the Titans are winless and were coming off a 59-0 loss to New England.

"I have a big problem with it,'' Bradshaw said. "If you are a player in that locker room and the coach is separating himself from you, he's basically turned around and told the players, 'You're the losers.' I'm disappointed in Fisher."

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Unfunniest moments

When did the NFL pregame shows turn into frat parties? This isn't scientific, but if you turn on either Fox NFL Sunday or CBS NFL Today, there's a 67 percent chance that you'll see the analysts doubled over in laughter, all talking at the same time and acting as if they've just heard the funniest thing ever uttered by a human. It's often followed by tossing paper or pencils at one another and even more talking while the host is moving on to the next subject. It turns into a bad version of the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, which actually had its moments.

Sadly, what sends these analysts into laughing fits is some verbal insult directed at one of them that isn't even worth a smile, let alone table-pounding, eye-wiping, side-holding laughter.

The shows don't have to be as serious as Law & Order: SVU, but if we want a comedy show, we'll watch The Office or Entourage.

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Biggest conflict

ABC and ESPN are at it again, seeing no issue with their broadcasters doing TV commercials with players. The latest ad promoting NBA coverage on the networks is as entertaining as the others, but it features analyst Jeff Van Gundy, top left, and Clippers rookie Blake Griffin. This is a conflict. Griffin, one would assume, was compensated for his appearance, and one would assume that Van Gundy and Griffin hung out while shooting. And now every time Van Gundy makes a comment about Griffin during the season, we can't help but think about them doing a commercial together.

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Biggest nonconflict

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit might be the best pound-for-pound analyst on television, and if anyone thought the former Ohio State quarterback couldn't be objective when it came to the Buckeyes, he annihilated that notion Saturday with a scathing review of the program, and in particular, quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

"You don't see him progressing to become a complete quarterback,'' Herbstreit said. "He is not advancing as a quarterback. ... He looks confused, his body language is terrible. Other than that, he's playing well.''

Herbstreit wasn't done with Ohio State:

"They can't run the ball because they have probably the biggest underachieving offensive line in the last 10 years of college football history, and they're uninspired consistently.''

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Best criticism

Home-team broadcasters everywhere often will make excuses for the home team. That's why it was so refreshing to hear Lightning analyst Bobby "Chief'' Taylor criticize goalie Mike Smith on Saturday night for the goal he allowed from a bad angle with 16.1 seconds left in regulation that tied the score in a game the Lightning lost in a shootout to the Sabres. "How does that goal go in?'' Taylor said. "That is not a good goal.''

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Three things that popped into my head

1. He might not be the best football coach in the land, but Notre Dame's Charlie Weis gives the most honest, cooperative and entertaining halftime interviews of any in the country.

2. Know which college "team" I'd least like to be a member of this season? An SEC officiating crew.

3. Sight I'm tired of seeing: football coaches doing jumping chest or side bumps with players. Can you imagine Tom Landry or Vince Lombardi doing that? Heck, do you even see Bill Belichick doing that? Act like you're the boss, not a buddy.