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My view of Super Sunday: Not so super for Phil Simms; thumbs up for NFL Network

I felt like I played in the game.

That’s what watching all this stuff for a zillion hours does to you. Super Sunday is an all-out assault on the senses that drains your very last brain cell. And that was before the power outage hit.

I’m more of a purist who can do without all the sideshows of the Super Bowl. I’ll take Championship Sunday every time.

Yet having said that, I’m already counting down the days until I see Scott Hanson again on NFL RedZone.

Here’s the good, bad and in between from Super Bowl 47–sorry, too tired to figure out the Roman numerals.

Note: I didn’t see every minute of every pregame show. I even watched the hockey and golf for a few minutes. So if I missed something, well maybe I’ll catch it next year.

Intercepted: I’m not sure why, but Phil Simms really was off his game Sunday. Following John Harbaugh’s decision to go with a fake field goal, Simms came back from commercial and said he wasn’t going to second-guess the coach? Huh? Isn’t that what an analyst does?

The call was begging for more analysis, agree or disagree. You can’t be a network analyst in the Super Bowl, and shy away from weighing in on such a controversial decision. Big blow to Simms’ credibility, as evidenced by the reaction on Twitter.

Throughout much of the first half, Jim Nantz, who had a good night, seemed to be working extra hard to draw out Simms, especially when things got a bit chippy between the two teams. Simms was hesitant.

Simms stepped up a bit in the second half. However, on the key play, he waffled on the no-holding call in the endzone. At one point, he said: “The more I see it, the more confused I get.”

Sort of sums up Simms’ night.

Lights out: So now we know that Steve Tasker is CBS’ official “the lights are out” reporter. The power outage made a mess of things for CBS, considering it also knocked out Nantz’s mic in the booth. CBS gave us the first ever power outage running clock in Super Bowl history. So that was exciting.

It wasn’t the network’s finest moment. Given all the billions the network shells out to the NFL, why didn’t it have an on-air interview with a league official to explain the situation?

Networking: I didn’t watch all of the NFL Network’s 8 1/2 hours of pregame coverage, but I watched a lot of it. The network has put together a solid cast of analysts who have developed a good chemistry. The Hall of Famers/Super Bowl champions were in their element Sunday. Marshall Faulk is vastly underrated, and his feature on his hometown of New Orleans was really strong.

The driver of the show, Rich Eisen, is funny, insightful, and not overbearing, unlike another NFL host on another cable sports network. All in all, a good interesting, informative and entertaining package.

Restrained: CBS was very restrained with its coverage of the Harbaugh brothers. We didn’t see the first reaction shots of the coaches until the beginning of the second quarter. And we barely got any shots of mom and dad, especially down the stretch. If Fox were doing the game, it would be cutting to the brothers and their parents after every play.

Ray Lewis: When it comes to awkward, it’s hard to beat CBS’ coverage of Ray Lewis. His former teammate Shannon Sharpe did the pregame interview. A questionable call, given their relationship, although Sharpe did ask Lewis about the Atlanta murders.

Then in the studio discussion, Boomer Esiason called out Lewis for not disclosing all he knows about the murders. However, the conversation didn’t go anywhere. Eventually, Dan Marino did an awkward segue back to football.

During the game, Nantz mentioned the murders once, and Simms interjected something that added nothing.

Oops: Joe Flacco could be heard saying, “F-ing awesome” immediately after the game. ESPN immediately issued an apology.

Emotional: The most memorable image of Sunday: The kids from Newtown singing America The Beautiful. Nothing comes close. Wonderful, touching moment.

Disaster: A pregame segment featuring Boomer Esiason and Shannon Shannon handing out Pizza Hut pizzas in the French Quarter was, in the words of my 17-year-old, “really stupid.” I’d say beyond stupid. Really, do the networks need the money that badly to have to shill for those products?

Inspirational: Hard to beat Lesley Visser’s feature on O.J. Brigance on Sunday or any day. Truly moving. Right up there was the story on Chuck Pagano and his battle with cancer.

And in the quality department, enjoyed Bill Cowher’s piece on Vernon Davis that featured insights from his former coach Mike Singletary.

Sobering: Andrea Kremer’s compelling feature on Jacksonville receiver Laurent Robinson on NFL Network. Robinson’s wife tells him, “One more concussion and you’re done.” Hard to imagine how he’ll ever play again.

True words: “Five minutes aren’t enough to discuss this,” said Boomer Esiason during a concussion segment on CBS. Right about that, although they could have had a few more minutes if they dumped the Pizza Hut thing.

Still punishing: Jim Brown appeared on NFL Network and was blunt as always on minority coaching hires and the league’s health issue.

Future analyst: Larry Fitzgerald. The Arizona receiver will be in demand after he hangs them up.

No. 4: Brett Favre, sans tie, was a nice addition to NFL Network. Critics might say he wasn’t polished, and he wasn’t. But I still tuned in because it was Favre. And despite the “you knows,” he still had plenty to say. A network job is there if he wants it, but I doubt he does.

Huh?: Looks like Favre doesn’t spend much time on his computer. Says to Eisen, “What’s a podcast?

Drowned out: It’s great to get some flavor of the town by setting up a stage in front of screaming fans. The problem is that it forces the hosts also to scream, which can be annoying. ESPN, and CBS early on, went the outdoor route more often than not. At one point, Suzy Kolber seemed to be yelling just to be heard. I don’t like to be yelled at.

Puppy Love: I would have liked to have heard Chris Berman call the Puppy Bowl for Animal Planet.

And out: I figure all the promos for CBS’ shows (a new record?) will be ringing in my head for weeks. Good thing the Super Bowl only is once a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoe many show promos can CBS squeeze into one Super Bowl?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puppy: I would have liked to have heard Chris Berman on the Puppy Bowl for Animal Planet.

 

 

2 thoughts on “My view of Super Sunday: Not so super for Phil Simms; thumbs up for NFL Network

  1. Love your Report, but have to disagree! Rich Eisen is unbelieveably overbearing and completely full of himself! He is sitting with former coaches, players and Hall of Famers and ALWAYS thinks it’s about him! My opinion, obviously!

  2. As a lifelong NY Giants fan, I would normally be forgiving to any Simms mishaps. When he kept saying it was a good no holding call in the end zone because Crabtree pushed off too, that was awful. He was obviously trying to free himself from being held. Terrible analysis.

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