But now the rest of the country is seeing what the hubbub around Ryan has been about via the ever-interesting HBO series 'Hard Knocks,' which documented the Jets training camp this summer. Ryan's national profile has skyrocketed, leading Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News to already wonder if Ryan can be the plain-spoken heir apparent to John Madden in the broadcast booth.
It's an interesting thought, one that has some merit. But if Ryan were to make his way into the booth after his coaching career is over, he's going to have to make some changes in order to be successful.
But for the mainstream NFL fan, Tom Brookshier was the sideman to Pat Summerall before John Madden. That was when the NFC was on CBS, and Summerall and Brookshier were the top broadcasting team.
On Friday night, January 29, Tom Brookshier succumbed to cancer at the age of 78. At his hospital bedside when he died were his wife, Barbara, and his partner for so many years, Pat Summerall.
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.
NBC has nearly enough guys to field a team on the pre-game show: Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Tony Dungy, Tiki Barber, Rodney Harrison ... with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the games. Will we notice that John Madden is gone? Probably not, especially if the games are good.
Bettis, whose nickname is "The Bus," is well-known as the smiling winner from the 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl team. He's loud, boisterous and a larger-than-life personality. Dungy, on the other hand, was the architect and head man for the 2007 Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl championship. He is cerebral and thoughtful and the author of a bestselling memoir, Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life. You could say that the two men are the anti-thesis of each other, which is likely why NBC has made the switch.
That's an interesting notion because usually when a guy gets into the booth, he doesn't get out. Dick Vermeil is one of the few to jump back and forth; John Madden, who retired from NBC less than a month ago, was one who never returned to the sidelines.
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.
Now season two is in the books, and that will do it for Frank TV. Broadcasting & Cable reported yesterday that Caliendo's series has been canceled.
Caliendo entered the second season in an optimistic mood. He had made some changes with the bigger budget TBS gave him, adding people to the cast to address the major criticism from Season One that Caliendo was playing every part. When doing impressions is your main strength, you're probably going to need an ensemble cast. Caliendo is one of the most talented mimics in comedy - watch his face during his signature George W. Bush or John Madden impressions. He gets the physical tics, as well as the voice, perfect.
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.
Today was the very last day of the press tour here in Beverly Hills. It was "TCA Day," with members of the association (including me) going to the Warner Brothers lot to visit the sets of ER, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck, where we spoke to cast members and producers (Oh, we went to the set of America's Best Dance Crew, but let's just forget I mentioned that one). Then we bused it over to the Fox lot, where Joss Whedon showed us around the set of Dollhouse, and the entire cast of King of the Hill gave a table read of their 250th episode. All this fun will be in upcoming posts later this summer.
Despite some of the griping you may have seen from me, it's been lots of fun. It's just a very tiring experience. Case in point: On Monday, NBC decided to close out the press conference portion of the tour by having us sit through ten panels, five of them after lunch. Here's a wrap-up post that goes over some of what went on yesterday that I haven't already covered.
Ah, yes, the two-bit weasel slug. I remember seeing something about this on Animal Planet. They're only found in certain climates around the world, and are usually harmless, unless provoked by sports columnists.
A few days ago we talked about Tony Kornheiser's worry that he would be a flop on Monday Night Football. I didn't see his first performance so I can't comment on it (but you can go ahead and put your comments below), but his coworker at The Washington Post did and wrote a review of it. And now Kornheiser is fighting back at Paul Farhi's review, calling him a two-bit weasel slug and saying he's someone "I would gladly run over with a Mack truck."
For the record, the coworkers here at TV Squad never say bad things about each other. Ever.
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.
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.