Sporting News used a measuring system based on fan reaction and the input of its reporters and editors (including SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily), and despite the fact that Danielson's voice is pretty much just like Bob Griese's (I always confuse the two), he's considered the best because "he explains it before most of us have seen it." That's on target. He is pretty smart, just unmemorable.
Wednesday's episode was a big step up from the previous night, thanks in part to Vince Vaughn's entertaining sit-down with the big chinned one. Couple that with some entertaining features like "Jaywalking" and the second "Green Car Challenge," and you've got a much better show this time round the track.
Part of that success has to do with the show's choice of guest stars, but this show stuck to what makes it work by introducing new segments that fit the old show's style and building on old ones.
Madden addressed listeners this morning on KCBS in San Francisco about the decision, which was obviously not easy for him. "I decided to retire," he said. "Heck I can't even say it. It's tough, not because I'm not sure it's the right time. I really feel strongly this is the right time. I'm just going to miss everything about it because I enjoyed it so much."
Football is in Madden's blood. He's a Hall of Fame coach, winning the Super Bowl with the Raiders in 1977, a college stand-out offensive tackle from California Polytechnic State University, and his Madden NFL is a perennial best-selling video game on multiple platforms. He joined ABC's Monday Night Football crew in 2002, and spent the past three years on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
The fact that Madden has retired at 73 is not really a surprise. This is the same guy that walked away from the Oakland Raiders head coaching position (when it still was a prestigious gig) after winning a Super Bowl and while he was still a young man.
If NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol had a sense of daring, he could have tried that experiment this Sunday night, as Madden is going to sit out NBC's broadcast of the Buccaneers-Seahawks game in Tampa. The week off was Ebersol's idea; last night's game was in San Diego, making a cross-country trek for Madden and his famous Cruiser (he doesn't fly) right before a week off, as NBC defers to the World Series.
NBC's press tour day continued with a panel on Sunday Night Football.
When it concluded, panelists including Tiki Barber, John Madden and Al Michaels tossed out signed footballs to 10 or so lucky members of the press. Score! I caught the ball thrown to me by 2006 Super Bowl champion Jerome Bettis, formerly of The Pittsburgh Steelers, now an NBC sports analyst.
In my dreams. It actually sailed over my head to a journalist behind me. "Fumble," he said as he scooped it up.
Sometimes press tour swag can be elusive.
First up, lots of development for the William's family. The Smash on steroids story seems to suffer from some of the time issues that the Street recovery does. It's all happening a little fast. Given that he just started on his cycle last week, I don't think he should be seeing a skin reaction or whatever the episode during his workout was. I'm willing to accept that time moves faster in Dillon though, because I really liked the William's family story this week.
The ESPN sports show host (and subject of that lame Jason Alexander sitcom from a couple of years ago, Listen Up) makes his debut tonight on Monday Night Football, a preseason game between the Raiders and the Vikings, and he's a little worried about it. As he says in a not-so-subtle way in this New York Times piece, "I'm going to bomb."
Maybe this is just a way of lowering expectations. He's not going to bomb or be terrible. I mean, Tony, it can't be any worse than Listen Up, can it?
1. Lex, Lana, and General Zod love triangle: Forget Bryan Singer's not-too-bad film, forget the foul and execrable My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Smallville does comics right. And no ditzy bimbo sidekick for television's Lex Luthor, who appears to have won the heart of Clark's ex, Lana Lang, over the course of last season, and now he's possessed by the Superman II film villain, Zod. That's character development that movies, (even 2 hour 45 minute movies) just don't have time for. A Smallville cast addition: Jimmy Olsen? Who cares. And is that freckled goofball the best they can do as a love interest for adorable Chloe (Allison Mack)? Also, I'm thankful the suits passed on Aquaman. There's a reason Aquaman is the fake movie on Entourage -- the very idea is just ridiculous. A superhero should have powers that at least outweigh his weaknesses. (Has gills and the ability to bond with lobster and other entrees, but can't be out of water more than one hour?) Now, Justin Hartley is freed up to play Green Arrow on a Smallville arc. Come to think of it, cut Chloe a break and hook her up with Green Arrow.
But NBC didn't get Michaels for nothing. According to the SI.com article, ESPN and its parent company, Disney, received the following items in exchange for Michaels, who was under contract with the cable network: the cable rights to the Friday broadcasts of the next four Ryder Cups, "increased usage of Olympic highlights" (whatever that means), and the rights to the cartoon character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which appeared in silent Disney cartoon shorts in the late 1920s.
(More detailed information can be found in this USAToday.com article.)
So, what happened with Al Michaels? Wasn't he supposed to be doing MNF next year? Well, considering the fact that a) he has also been removed as ABC's number-one NBA announcer (to be replaced by Mike Breen), and b) there have been rumors floating around that he wanted to break his newly-signed ESPN contract and join John Madden on NBC's new Sunday Night broadcast, chances are good that Super Bowl XL was the last game Michaels called in his thirty-year ABC career. No official announcement has come out yet, but expect to see Michaels on the Peacock Network next fall.
More information can be found in this Reuters article, with actual quotes on Michaels from ESPN executives included.
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