NFL Schedule

Yesterday’s broadcast reviews turning to two dandies today: CBS’ Cincy-Bills and Fox’ SF-Dallas



Jacksonville at Kansas City – NBC – Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth

Other than a slight technical glitch, when two of the refs’ mics clashed, NBC put on a nice show in Chiefs’ win over Jacksonville. It was beautifully done.

Mike Tirico had his best matchup after a full season of NFL games growing synergistically with partner Cris Collinsworth. Remember that Mike succeeded icon Al Michaels. In the realm of NFL voices Mike, at age 56,  was pumped and spirited. It was his biggest NFL assignment ever. The combined pair, Tirico and  Collinsworth, sounded terrific, like the duo jelled from the intro to kickoff. Cris seemed to have warmly accepted Mike as a successor to his former partner of the tower of primetime NFL TV, 36 years.

NBC’s production was flashy. It appeared as though NBC had duos of reporters, stuck here, there and everywhere, all around the ballpark. It reminded me of my youth and the way  NBC covered political conventions before cable. Remember the names: David Brinkley, Chet Huntley, Frank McGee and John Chancellor. NBC worked the game similarly in cahoots.

Right at the start, Mike was at ease and Cris was at free-form. There was no need to disrupt the togetherness. There was no need to mess up the stage or mess up the chemistry. Collinsworth was his usual giddy self and that happy fellow on the other end of the bar. Tirico, the sports freak, just delighted to be there and to preside over a richer hand than he ever did. The expected soporific, Jags and Chiefs, became a little more level-fielded when Patrick Mahomes was hurt and showing it visibly. 

Melissa Stark who succeeded Michele Tafoya as the lead sideliner on SNF, did a nice spiel to set the scene.  When  Mahomes went down late in the first half, all Kansas City froze in fear in unison. Millions on NBC wondered what they’ll do with a hobbled star QB. At halftime, fears of Patrick stumbling and staggering were a bit overwhelming. Mahomes, with little spring to his step led the Chiefs to a win. It reminded me of Rockets’ coach Rudy Tomjanovich: “Don’t ever estimate the heart of a champion.” 

On TV, Collinsworth, demonstrated Mahomes’ throws. From one toss to the next, Cris showed Patrick’s change of gravity, putting pressure on one foot and another the next.

It’s a debate who’s the best NFL TV analyst. I’d go with Tony Romo and Cris Collinsworth, one and one. Tirico was inspiring too, talking up KC’s sparkling defense.

When the wind was taken out of Jacksonville late, it was in many ways like it busted out of a balloon. Still, an excellent broadcast. From joyful Cris, lots of  entertaining grunts, groans and exaltations.

Fun to watch!

New York Giants – Fox – Joe Davis and Daryl Johnston

Hardly the same thing. These guys Saturday night sat and said little. Not all asleep. Davis sounded half asleep and can be hardly heard on-air, if at all. He’s a little better on baseball. Bad decision overall by Fox to allow Daryl Johnston and Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long or Terry Bradshaw at this point of their careers to carry an on-air schedule. If my source is correct, Fox never even reached out for a conversation with Al Michaels. A bit puzzling. Isn’t it?

First tweet I saw after the one-sided Philly win was“Is Fox on an announcer shortage??? Joe Davis and Daryl Johnston?????”

Johnston talks in riddles and adds minimally. Davis’ voice isn’t conducive to the rhythm of football, for sure not football. True, the fellow brought little material with which to work. Just a bad game overall. From the announcers, it was limited to idioms and jargon. From Davis, little life to a lifeless game, and from Johnston, tons of words, all of the empty variety.

This is a game that Michaels would have handled with a bit more color himself given the eleven Super Bowls he’s done. Little inspiration from either of the two.

It’s interesting to note that Davis has been accepted by Southern California baseball fans, taking over Vin Scully’s role with the Dodgers. From what I can gather, he’s hardly embraced, but accepted. Maybe it’s his soft tone, hardly haughty and never alienating.


Sunday, January 22

Fox can make amends today. Big test for Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen who’ll be doing the NFC championship game and Super Bowl. We’ll have to look to the football field next to see whether Tom Brady will head to the Fox booth next season. My early feel on Burkhardt is that he’s engaged in what he’s doing at the moment and talks with a smile. He needs a little more of an edge to his delivery and to present points concisely and crisply. I do like Kevin’s constant enthusiasm.

Tracy Wolfson, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo (l-r) will call Cincy-Buffalo today.

Let’s enjoy the afternoon into the night.

3 PM- Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills

CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely 

Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Mike Mayock, Ross Tucker 
6:30 PM- Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi
Westwood One: Ryan Radtke, Mike Golic, Ed Werder
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

Trivia! At NBC, the floor reporters were Frank McGee, John Chancellor, Sander Vanocur, and Edwin Newman, and they became known as “the four horsemen.” Chancellor was arrested at the crazy Goldwater convention in 1964 and kept talking as they hauled him away, signing off, “This is John Chancellor, somewhere in custody.”

Newman was a favorite of mine, partly for his great language books. Dan Rather had a wonderful line about him. He said he would be knocking around the convention floor trying to get news, and Newman just seemed to float across and gather up everything.