2023 Super Bowl

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen were fresh; The duo gets a B, given it was their debut for a Super Bowl


david halberstam round profile

I tell it as I see it and for what it’s worth. I can be right-on or terribly wrong. Like food or clothing, tastes differ. I have humble opinions and some sharper ones. I may type like a fool or paint inconsistently and sloppily.

Cleaned up notes that I jotted down somewhat sloppily last night during the course of the game:

  • Different thoughts hit me through the night. The play-by-player Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Greg Olsen were fresh, but coarse and a bit callow. Against an Al Michaels, Jim Nantz or Joe Buck, veterans of Super Bowl booths, they’re understandably inexperienced. The two do have potential.
  • Kevin and Greg maintained their equanimity through much of the broadcast but sounded a bit nervous in the early going.
  • Why would the Fox director take shots of the announcers from top to toe. Olsen in particular dressed poorly. Neither were tailored.
  • Still, Kevin was comfortable. He told the audience that it’s the first time ever, that two Black quarterbacks were competing, Patrick Mahomes, KC and Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia.
  • Olsen can sound professorial. He did a nice job, simply explaining simple things like the acronym RPO (Run, Pass, Option).
  • End game situation: Nantz and Romo purposely but naturally build an audience. The two new fellows were fine at best. It generally takes previous burdens.
  • That field looked like it was painted with graffiti. Why? Ridiculous?
  • It’s hitting me. Burkhardt can have a dulcet sound. One that’s easy to embrace.
  • Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy – now retired. Remember their overpowering voices?
  • The two Foxies also used Mike Pereira, rules specialist, well.
  • I did not feel that Burkhardt and Olsen were having fun. Viewers want to feel as you do. But look, it was their first Super Bowl.
  • Could we feel their enthusiasm? Were they very inspirational? I’m not sure!
  • Fox did a good job showing how the field was in poor condition, demonstrating that cleats were being shipped and traded for better suited ones.
  • When the momentum switched to the Chiefs in the second half, Kevin and Greg’s voices remained emollient, little inflections that could have moved viewers to the edges of their chairs. The great and late Marty Glickman used the blessed range in his tonal qualities)
  • Not enough prognostication from Olsen. Romo does so prolifically and entertainingly?
  • Oh, the “Public Address Announcer” was a lot more prevalent, more so than ever. Is this new? Tell us.
  • What happened to Chris Myers, also excellent, generally on Fox’ sidelines and post-game activities? Tom Rinaldi, who succeeded some of what Myers generally did, is better suited for something more scholarly. Chris can do it all.
  • Burkhardt is more a baseball man than football. It was clear upon a few occasions that Kevin’s instincts lacked football history. You can tell from his innate, gut reactions. His natural tone and gut didn’t tell the full football story.
  • Did the condensed score-bug, the NFL logo and more, make the overall TV show, more blinding?
  • Olsen unquestionably loves and knows the game, knows it cold and shares his opinion without hesitation. What would you expect from a former big tight-end?
  • The football field itself was blinding and distracting. A bit lurid! Too much!
  • The NFL half-time show and its growing craziness, PEOPLE this morning for those of such interest: “Rihanna is pregnant with her second baby, PEOPLE has confirmed.” So be it. Hackneyed and banal. Nothing creative. A yawner.
  • Liked Fox’ split screen, the shot of mid-field, comparing, then and now, the number of photographers around the LA Coliseum for the first Bowl in 1967 and this year’s. Liked it.
  • Olsen’s hunches varied. He explains plays clearly and with simplicity. Remember, he’s still hoping and fighting to maintain Fox’ top color job. Good luck. He’d have to unseat Tom Brady, already assigned the throne in 2024.
  • There were audio issues at least on my DirecTV subscription.
  • Fox erred during the hectic celebrations of post-game programing. Remember when petite Tracy Wolfson of CBS elbowed her way successfully through a huge mass of media to get to Brady a few years ago? Last night, when Fox’ Tom Rinaldi finished his hurried interview and segued to his successor, the Fox truck picked up only the audio not the video. It was like college TV. Keep it simple.
  • Intro of Damar Hamlan at a packed Super Bowl stirred welling-eyes among millions before kickoff. No shortage of drama. The Philly coach, Nick Sirianni, did some wailing of his own during the anthem.
  • I’ve been to roughly a dozen Super Bowls but fans are generally passive and rarely emotional.  They maintain their equanimity. The biggest event in sports, and it sounds as though, the attendees are half sleep. The luster is made for television  They sit there placidly. The games I look forward to are the conference championship. It’s when the home fans stir the building.
  •  Rupert Murdoch, 91, head of Fox, was identified but hardly a close-up.


David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
1 year ago

I THINK it was Al Michaels who said the bigger the game, the more you dial it back–you don’t need to oversell. You can still get excited–I think of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS when Michaels was doing what he then claimed was his favorite sport, and he certainly was more excitable than he would be later. That’s not a knock, just an observation.