I’ll provide some thoughts on the weekend in sports media as hopefully, MLK Day is a holiday for you. If not, then I hope you’re able to find a way to honor Dr. King and his message in some manner today.
As always, the thoughts come in bullet form.
- As I watched the Houston-Baltimore game on Sunday, I kept thinking that Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts should be the NFL on CBS “B” team starting next season. I feel I’m in the minority liking Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, but having heard them extensively over the last half of this season, it’s my opinion that “The Bird and The Beard” have surpassed them as an announcing team. Dierdorf has been a premier analyst for both ABC and CBS, and so has Fouts, but I feel The Beard is better. And while Gumbel has also been the number one play-by-play man for CBS, he is no longer an elite play caller. Ian has continually paid his dues for the Tiffany Network dating back to when CBS reobtained the NFL in 1998 until 2010 when he replaced Dick Enberg on the “C” team with Fouts.
Ian and Dan have clicked to the point where I named them Best Announcing Team in this season’s NFL TV Awards. CBS should honor them with a promotion and a postseason game next year. It’s about time.
- And while I’m talking about CBS, one of the more blatant client strokes I’ve ever seen came during The NFL Today postgame show when Subway’s sponsorship was all over the screen, not only with the appearance of endorser Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions, but also through company spokesman, Jared Fogle. CNBC’s Darren Rovell was highly suspicious of Suh’s appearance and also criticized the entire Subway integration into the program. With NFL rights fees so high, I understand the networks wanting to recoup their money, but there are other ways to accomplish this.
- The Australian Open has begun and thanks to ESPN’s partnership with DirecTV, I have access to five additional channels that compliment ESPN2′s coverage. I can tell I’m going to hate analyst Luke Jensen. During Li Na’s first round match against Ksenia Pervak, Jensen kept talking throughout the action and hardly took a breath. In fact while play was ongoing, he analyzed points that had previously occurred as if to prove he could keep talking and annoy the viewer. If you don’t have DirecTV, Jensen’s commentary can be accessed through ESPN3.com. If you’re a tennis fan like me, it’ll be hard to put up with him because he doesn’t shut up. The other outer court announcers like Elise Bergin, Jeff Tarango, and Barry McKay are quite good. And ESPN now has a studio show for the five channels to help the transition in between matches and that is welcomed on this end.
- For the first time ever, I actually enjoyed Joe Buck and his call of the New York Giants-Green Bay game. Not only was this related to his transparency on Twitter, I also noticed that Buck was more animated on Sunday than in the past. I’m liking Joe Buck. Cocaine is one hell of a drug. I’m joking, I don’t do coke. But I really don’t know who I am if I can truly enjoy Joe Buck. The Mayans must be right. This year must be the end of the world.
I’m out. Rack me.