The Media Learning Curve: Adding some color to an otherwise colorful story

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No matter where UCLA football analyst Matt Stevens, the subject of today’s media column (linked here), falls into our Top 10/Bottom 5 list, he already knows that it’s like to be loved, and hated, in L.A.

In doing some background on him, we found a clip from the Palm Beach Post on Oct. 12, 1986 (linked here), a game where Stevens was booed off the field during the second quarter of a UCLA game against Arizona and replaced by Brendan McCracken. The Bruins were losing 18-0.

By the time the contest ended, UCLA had won 32-25, with a 25-point fourth quarter, and Stevens threw for a career-best 22 of 37 for 284 yards.

“Playing QB in L.A. is great,” Stevens said in the story. “That’s the way it always is. You want to talk about someone getting booed? How about Rick Neuheisel? Was he getting booed when we were 0-3-1? … And look what a great quarterback he turned out to be.”

Stevens was referring to the guy he used to back up in the UCLA offense, but was now a volunteer assistant under head coach Terry Donahue.

Now, look at ‘em: Stevens is calling games and second-guessing Neuheisel as he calls plays for the UCLA offense from the head-coaching position.

Keep your friends close.

Some other things we should try not to forget:

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== ESPN2 has the Dick Weber Open Pro Bowling Association event from Fountain Valley (Sunday, 10 a.m.) For some reason, Bill Simmons, aka “The Sports Guy,” will join the broadcast team of Rob Stone and Randy Pedersen. What a treat. “I have not done bowling before, but Rob and I have been friends for years and he’s been wanting me to do a show, but our schedules never worked out before this,” Simmons said. Thank goodness it has now. Simmons, who said he has watched highlights of Kelly Kulick’s historic victory in the PBA Tournament of Champions last week, has never attended a PBA event in person. Might as well as be the first time you’re going to be a PBA analyst.

== ABC will push Magic Johnson , former star of “The Magic Hour,” do a sit-down with Lakers coach Phil Jackson that airs at halftime of Sunday’s Lakers-Celtics game (12:30 p.m., Channel 7). Last time the two talked for the record on TV, Jackson said he planned to coach only until the end of his contract — which ends this year.

== ESPN’s coverage of Sunday’s Pro Bowl from Miami has all the usual suspects: Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter on the extended pregame starting at 2:30 p.m., with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya handling the game at 4:20 p.m. Berman is supposed to have a Peyton Manning and Drew Brees halftime interview.

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== What’s all the fuss about where an 18-year-old will go college next year. You tell us. And this kid, who really blew it. ESPNU’s college football signing day begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday and runs until 4 p.m., while CBS College Sports Network and MaxPreps.com go five hours live from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., then noon to 4 p.m. Two of the nation’s top-ranked prep recruits, offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (Cretin-Derham Hall/St. Paul, Minn.) and defensive end J.R. Ferguson (Hargrave Military Academy/Frederick, MD.) are supposed to announce their college selections live in the afternoon segment. Henderson, who is Tom Lemming’s No. 1-ranked overall recruit and Parade Magazine’s National Player of the Year, is deciding between USC, Ohio State, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Miami. Aaron Taylor reports from L.A. where he will visit with USC and UCLA during the day.

== The NFL Network has the Senior Bowl from Mobile, Ala., (Saturday, 1 p.m.) with USC’s Stafon Johnson playing for the first time since his neck injury. He’s with Tim Tebow on the South team, along with USC’s Jeff Byers, Charles Brown, Anthony McCoy and Taylor Mays, trying to impress the Seattle Seahawks to draft them. Bob Papa, Mike Mayock and Charles Davis call it from the booth with Paul Burmeister and Corey Chavous on the sidelines.

== AND FINALLY:

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== The Associated Press reports that British network Sky Sports says it will broadcast the world’s first live sports event in 3-D when Arsenal hosts Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Soccer fans will wear special glasses at nine pubs across Britain and Ireland, providing the public’s first taste of live 3-D soccer ahead of Sky’s dedicated channel launching in April.

Previous 3-D trials have been limited to closed-circuit broadcasts in Britain and the United States – including one on the giant screens at the Dallas Cowboys’
new stadium during a game – but the BSkyB channel will be transmitting Sunday’s match via regular satellite decoder boxes to selected pubs in Britain and Ireland.

Sky is claiming the 3-D milestone a week before England’s meeting with Wales in the Six Nations rugby tournament was due to be the first.

The United States won’t witness live sports in 3-D until June, when ESPN broadcasts the World Cup.

BSkyB is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which holds a 39 percent stake.

Calling this the “world’s first live sports event in 3-D” does take some liberties, considering it’s only being shown to nine pubs across the British Isles. How is that different than ESPN showing the USC-Ohio State football game last September to selected venues, or the NFL Network trying out 3D with the Chargers-Raiders game a couple of years ago.

He who calls first first, shall be first.

And if this is 3D in England, don’t you think the glasses should look more like something Harry Potter would wear?

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