The Media Learning Curve: Before anything blows off the tee on Sunday at 3:25 p.m., we’ve got a few more things to kick around


NBC’s five-hour-plus pregame show might be a little more tolerable if not for the fact it appears as if they’re trying to break the record for most kids crammed into a VW Beetle. Didn’t that go out in the ’70s with Keith Olbermann’s black hair parted down the middle?

We’ve registered our official lamentation (today’s media column linked here) — fully aware that the NFL Network has a 6 1/2-hour shindig of its own starting at 8 a.m. But we go on with more notes. Those of which that follow weren’t good enough for the printed word of ink and recycled newsprint:

== Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason (with John Dockery, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Tommy Tighe) have the radio call of the Super Bowl for Westwood One radio (linked here) which is available on both KLAC-AM (570) and KTLK-AM (1150) in Southern California, as well as KAVL-AM (610) in Lanscaster.

== OK, one more thing on that NBC “Day of the Peacock” — at the game’s conclusion, and after an episode of “The Office” planned for 7:30 p.m. (with a Jack Black cameo), KNBC Channel 4’s Fred Roggin challenges you to watch a half hour of his “Hall of Shame,” all full of moonshine and nonsense.
Then, bedtime.
Perhaps “Dateline NBC” can investigate later why anyone would even endure himself or herself through such pain on one full calendar day.

== ESPN’s Chris Berman was given the Pat Summerall Award at the annual Legends for Charity dinner benefitting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Thursday in Tampa. The award goes to, according to the mission statement, “a person who has demonstrated character, integrity and leadership both on and off the job throughout their career.”
ESPN will reair Berman’s “Swami” segment, aka “The Two Minute Drill,” during various “SportsCenters” today, which will include interviews that he personally conducted throughout the week. Even crazier is how that combover reacted in the light Tampa breeze (linked here and video below here: )

== For the record, Berman predicted a 27-17 Pittsburgh victory. But if you get a chance, look at the graphic they’ll put up that reflect how his predictions in the AFC and NFC title games went two weeks ago.

== An NBC release on how they’ll cover Super Bowl XLIII, by the numbers:


=450: people who will be part of the NBC production, technical, administrative and support crews.
=93: microphones (including 12 on-field parabolic microphones)
=52: high-def cameras (includes two stationary on the game clock and play clock)
=50: miles of camera and microphone cable
=45: vehicles (control trucks, mobile units, office trailers, and the Madden Horse Trailer)
=24: digital video replay sources
=22: hand cameras (including 2 Super Slo-Mo’s and three “X-Mo’s)
=20: hand-held cameras (including two SteadyCams)
=10: NEP Supershooter Trailers in the TV Compound
=8: digital post-production facilities (five avid suites, three final cut pro suites)
=5: robotic cameras (including two fixed on the field-goal posts)
=2: RF hand-held cameras
=1: “Cable-Cam” camera suspended above the playing field
=1: hard camera for scenic views of Tampa Bay

== One more number to consider: 4,589
According to Editor & Publisher (linked here), that’s the number of Super Bowl media credentials that were reported to be issued in Tampa this week. It’s down from 4,786 last year in Glendale, Ariz.
“The reason there are fewer individuals credentialed than last year — though still the second-greatest number in Super Bowl history — can be attributed to the staffing decisions of the individual organizations,” Michael Signora, NFL spokesman, stated in an e-mail.
Maybe it’s the matchup?

== More alternative programming on Super Bowl Sunday:
=The MLB Network replays Games 2, 3 and 4 from the 2005 World Series (White Sox-Astros) from 9 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. the next day.
=The NHL Network has as its “Vintage Game” (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) the 1996 contest featuring the Kings against the St. Louis Blues. Because it’s the game when Brett Hull scored his 500th career goal.
=Golf Channel reairs the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic (4 to 6:30 p.m.,originally aired from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m.)


=TBS has its female block of counter programming, including movies “Failure To Launch” (12:30 p.m.), “What Women Want” (2:30 p.m.) and two showings of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (5 and 6:45 p.m.)
=Versus has 12-plus hours of World Extreme Cagefighting (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
=ESPN has the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship from Reno, Nev. — that’s bowling — at 11 a.m., then four hours of the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe, from London, from 3 to 7 p.m. Here’s your royal flush.

== ESPNU has much of the National Signing Day programming on Wednesday regarding what high school football players will commit to college programs. The coverage on the cable channel begins at 7 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. with live player announcements, in-depth analysis, news and highlights of top recruits and collegiate programs from around the country.

== Josh Sushon will be joined by former UCLA and NFL receiver J.J. Stokes on “The Sunday Night Sports Final” airing from 7 to 10 p.m. on KABC-AM (710). Stokes is pinch hitting for the vacationing Ken Levine. The show begins right as Super Bowl XLIII ends, allowing Stokes to analyze the game on what is often a baseball-related show. Suchon and Stokes used to co-host a sports talk show together at AM 970 ESPN in Northern California from Sept. 2007 until Suchon joined KABC in Feb. 2008.


== From the Onion Sports (linked here):


January 29, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII Spontaneously Breaks Out On Media Day

TAMPA BAY, FL–In what started as a midfield photo opportunity between opposing team captains and ended as a hard-fought 60-minute competition to become the NFL champion, Super Bowl XLIII was suddenly and unexpectedly played Tuesday during media day at Tampa Bay’s Raymond Jones Stadium.

Newly crowned world champion Arizona emerged victorious over the Steelers 24-21 in a tough impromptu defensive battle.

“Did we just win the Super Bowl?” asked an exhilarated and somewhat confused Kurt Warner, who played only three quarters after spending the game’s first 15 minutes answering Deion Sanders’ questions about his spiky hair. “And, if so, am I going to Disneyland?”

Super Bowl XLIII was originally scheduled to take place on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1.

“I think we just figured, ‘Hey, the Cardinals are here, we’re here, that weird guy from the Japanese media brought a football for some reason, so why not play the Super Bowl?'” Steelers running back Willie Parker said. “Believe me, both teams just wanted to get it over with, anyway.”

“If it was up to me we would have played it last Sunday,” added Parker, who never quite found his rhythm in what ended up being the most important game of the season.

According to sources, the game’s impetus was reportedly a coincidental midfield meeting between team captains. Hines Ward and Karlos Dansby later confirmed, however, that at no point during the initial encounter did they have any intention of playing the Super Bowl.

After exchanging pleasantries, Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior removed a coin from his pocket and asked Arizona’s Reggie Wells to call heads or tails–a move Farrior identified in the postgame conference as nothing more than a joke. However, NFL-appointed lead official Terry McAulay, who had dressed for the day in full referee attire for reasons that still remain unclear, rushed out to the 50-yard line to conduct the toss.

Steelers return man Santonio Holmes, noticing through the viewfinder of his personal camcorder that Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers was setting the ball up on a tee, sprinted to his own five yard line, shouting, “Hey, everybody, I think we’re starting the Super Bowl.”

“If Santonio is going to receive, we’re going to block–it’s just that simple,” said Pittsburgh’s Patrick Bailey, explaining why the Steelers special teams unit decided to rush the field. “I just said to myself, ‘Come on. It’s about fucking time we started this game.'”

After Holmes was tackled at his own 33 by a hard-hitting Aaron Francisco, Super Bowl XLIII was under way. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the field with his entire offense, head coach Mike Tomlin appeared already wearing his Motorola headset, and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians sprinted up to the press box in an effort to beat the play clock, which alert timekeepers had already started.

“I thought we might quit after the first quarter, but it ended in a 7-7 tie, so we figured we would just keep playing,” winning Super Bowl coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Also, we would get the ball to begin the second half, so continuing play was certainly to our advantage.”

Other highlights from Super Bowl XLIII included a pregame flyover by US Airways flight 743 bound for Charlotte; the jubilant Cardinals hoisting up the first thing they could lay their hands on — sportscaster Bob Costas, instead of the Lombardi Trophy; and, because Bruce Springsteen was late for a 3:30 p.m. sound check, a halftime show consisting of various Max Weinberg drumbeats from “Born to Run,” “Glory Days,” and “Born in the USA.”

No fans were in attendance to hold up the pieces of paper that would have formed two giant American flags in the east and west sections of the stadium.

“The game is never as good as people want it to be, anyway,” Roethlisberger said. “So maybe it was better that it was played without all the TV cameras and everything.”

Though league officials have yet to release a statement confirming whether another game will be played this Sunday, the NFL rulebook clearly states that a contest played between two Super Bowl teams constitutes a Super Bowl.

“No excuses,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “Sure, we didn’t have pads until the second half, we were undermanned because some players had already gone back to the hotel, and Hines didn’t have his knee taped properly, which probably led to his career-ending ACL injury. But we all played under the same conditions. Next time we’ll just make sure we show up at media day ready to play.”

“Damn it,” Tomlin added. “It’s just now hitting me that we lost the Super Bowl.”

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