On the day ABC announced that Diane Sawyer would replace the retiring anchor Charles Gibson on “World News” starting in January — another boon to NBC as it sticks with Brian Williams in fending off anything CBS tried to accomplish with Katie Couric — CBS’ Sports guys announced that Lesley Visser will be an NFL game analyst.
You hadn’t heard? No worry. It’s only one game. For just the fourth quarter. Of anotherwise unwatchable exhibition. On a local affiliate. So you won’t be able to see it. In fact, hardly anyone will.
Can we qualify this any more downhill?
When Miami CBS affiliate WFOR-TV (Channel 4) carries Thursday’s Dophins-Saints exhibition game, Visser will be allowed on the Dolphins’ telecast that includes Craig Bolerjack on play-by-play and former Dolphins Bob Griese and Nat Moore as the analysts.
“Having had many challenges in my career, I am especially excited about this one,” said Visser, who was the NFL’s first female beat writer in 1976 when she covered the New England Patriots for the Boston Globe and then was the first female color analyst on radio when she worked selected Monday Night Football games for Westwood One with Howard David and Boomer Esiason in 2002.
Here’s what we assume is also going on here: Griese probably needs to high-tail it out of Miami ASAP to catch a flight to Columbus, Ohio, where he’ll be on a Saturday morning (noon kickoff locally) telecast of the Ohio State-Navy telecast on ESPN. Visser will probably slide into his warm seat and, with all that important stuff going in any fourth quarter of an exhibition game, be able to lend her expertise. And laugh a little.
Visser, the only non-male recepient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio and Television Award, is in her 36th year of NFL coverage.
Now, if only ABC had decided Visser was worthy of replacing Gibson in a couple of months. That’d be some news.
Other live NFL practice games on TV this weekend:
== Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Jets, 4 p.m., NFL Network, Thursday
== Oakland vs. Seattle, 7 p.m., NFL Network and KTLA-Channel 5, Thursday (repeated at 1 a.m. on Ch. 5)
== Dallas vs. Minnesota, 5 p.m., NFL Network, Friday
== San Francisco vs. San Diego, 7 p.m., KCBS-Channel 2, Friday