Super Bowl 50 media column: What’s next for Manning, Simms and the CBS NFL team?

With CBS' Jim Nantz, left, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 win against Carolina on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

With CBS’ Jim Nantz, left, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 win against Carolina on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

There’s a not-so-peculiar rumor peculating in NFL TV business circles that as soon as Peyton Manning says he’s retiring from the game — which could have happened by now —  CBS will have a contract ready to go for him to sign up as its A-team game analyst, the new partner for Jim Nantz.
Which would mean Phil Simms could retire as well.
Imagine that.
That may be the logical circle-of-life conclusion to the network’s otherwise uneven Super Bowl 50 coverage Sunday of Denver’s equally sloggish 24-10 win over Carolina in Santa Clara.
Super-Bowl-50-on-CBS-269x300Those consistently consumed with criticism of Simms had plenty of material to throw against the wall as he plodded through his eighth Super Bowl TV analyst appearance. Typically choppy, twangy, contradictory … a dot-dot-dot string of thoughts and half-thoughts … often ending with that awkward silence where he clearly hopes Nantz picks up the conversion and tries to end the paragraph.
Simms had his moments of OK-ness, his times of pedestrian observations.
If the game-turning moment was of any indicator, here’s what transpired on Cam Newton’s fumble with 4:04 to play and the Broncos hanging onto a six-point lead:
“Here it comes, No. 58 Von Miller (as the wide end zone replay beings, the yellow arrow appears) against (Carolina right tackle) Mike Remmers one more time …
“Cam Newton didn’t feel it, didn’t step up. The football just taken out of his hand.”
Actually, it was batted down. More silence. Simms then noted that Newton did not attempt to go after the loose ball on the ground.
Nantz interjected: “He jumped away from it … instead of (going) into the pile!”
Simms: “Yup. He made the decision it wasn’t worth going in there to get it. Shoulda dove in. Had a chance to recover it.”
There was Simms’ moment to be assertive and relevant, but he was more hesitant, even in watching it as a replay, as if he again didn’t trust his view of the play.
More on this at this link ..

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Play It Forward Feb. 8-14: The NBA’s Valentine’s gift to you is more love for Kobe Bryant

Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports)

Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
65th NBA ALL-STAR GAME
Details/TV: At Toronto, Sunday at 5 p.m., TNT
logoexFor Kobe Bryant’s 18th and final All-Star appearance, we can see a best-case scenario — the players yield as he goes off 20-plus points and wins his fifth game MVP recognition.
The not-so-best scenario: He throws up a few airballs early, turnovers, frustration kicks in, and those in Toronto began to jeer him in English and French.
We asked the TNT studio analysts which one they anticipated.
“There’s no best-case, worst-case, we’re just going to celebrate him and just have some fun,” said Charles Barkley, who retired in 1997, the year before Bryant played in his first All-Star game at Madison Square Garden.
“I would just like to see him big in a big moment,” added Kenny Smith. “If the game is close, I think he can get the basketball and create an opportunity for himself. He doesn’t have to have a big game, just make some big shots.”
Former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who played with Bryant on the West All-Star team five times and against him three other times with the East, gave this opinion: “When it comes to All-Star games, you don’t have to play all 48 minutes. Remember when Magic (Johnson) came back (in 1992) and he call out Mike (Jordan) to play (one-on-one) and the crowd went crazy, he called out Isiah (Thomas) … It would be exciting if (Bryant) called out LeBron (James) or D-Wade (Dwayne Wade) … If you get a couple of instances where you hit a couple big shots, the crowd goes crazy ….”

LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS Co-winners of the MVP award Phoenix Suns' Shaquille O'Neal and Lakers' Kobe Bryant hold up their trophy after the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.

Co-winners of the MVP award Phoenix Suns’ Shaquille O’Neal and Lakers’ Kobe Bryant hold up their trophy after the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

O’Neal, who shared a game MVP award with Bryant in 2009 at Phoenix, added: “If his legs are good, he’s feeling good and his stroke is going, knowing Kobe, he will go for the MVP… It’s all about certain storylines, and the first part of the storyline is the Kobe tour. If he can get MVP that would be the second part of the storyline. The last part of the storyline is we would like to get a championship or make the playoffs, but that’s definitely not going to happen.”
So Shaq is on the record with that prediction now.
So here’s another crazy suggestion: Why doesn’t Bryant use this as a walk-off moment? The rest of the Lakers’ season can’t be anything to really go back for. Hit a game-winning jumper here, take off the jersey, throw it to the crowd, and it’s all done. On Valentine’s Day, let’s just kiss and say goodbye.
Too dramatic?
Also this weekend: “All Star Saturday Night” skills challenge/dunk contest, Saturday at 5 p.m., TNT; NBA D-League All-Star game, Saturday at 11 a.m., NBA TV; Rising Stars Challenge game, Friday at 6 p.m., TNT; All-Star Celebrity Game, Friday at 4 p.m., ESPN.
Also Friday: NBA TV has the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 finalists announced (10:30 a.m.). Shaquille O’Neal is among those eligible with Yao Ming and Allen Iverson.

ALSO THIS WEEK:
U.S. OLYMPIC MARATHON TRIALS
Details/TV: At L.A. Live, Saturday at 10 a.m., Channel 4
31st LOS ANGELES MARATHON
Details/TV: Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica pier, Sunday at 6 a.m., Channel 5

Meb Keflezighi wins the 118th Boston Marathonin April, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Meb Keflezighi wins the 118th Boston Marathonin April, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The weekend where the Fitbit gets a real workout. A day before the annual L.A. race, those who aim to be one of the three men and three women who are part of Team USA for the Summer Games in Rio need to step up here. Former UCLA and Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, 40, is a crowd favorite on the men’s side, and former Agoura High runner Deena Kastor, 42, is looking for a way to get in on the women’s team. The Trials course starts at L.A. Live with a 2.2 mile loop around downtown, heading back to Staples Center and the Convention Center before a trip around the USC campus, Exposition Park and the Coliseum, then heading back north on Figueroa to the finish. Opening ceremonies are at 9:15 a.m.; the men start at 10:06 a.m. and the women at 10:22 a.m.
The next day, the traditional run from downtown to the ocean commences with a pair of Kenyan runners (Daniel Limo and Olga Kimaiyo) trying to defend their men’s and women’s titles. The elite women begin at 6:45 a.m., with the elite men and the rest of the full field at 6:55 a.m. The wheelchair race begins at 6:30 p.m., with handcycles at 6:32 a.m.

FINISHING THE WEEK:
The 56th NHRA Winternationals are a go at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona (Thursday-Sunday) … UCLA and USC basketball go to play the Arizona schools on a Friday-Sunday tour … The Clippers are at Philadelphia (Monday) and Boston (Wednesday) while the Lakers are at Indiana (Monday) and Cleveland (Wednesday) before the All-Star break … The Kings, also booted out of Staples Center because of prep work before the Feb. 15 Grammy Awards, spend the week in Boston (Tuesday), Brooklyn (N.Y. Islanders, Thursday), New York City (N.Y. Rangers, Friday) and New Jersey (Sunday) …  More at this link.

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Sunday media: On Simms, Carey, Colbert and whatever else CBS has to throw against the SB50 wall

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

As soon as we figure out a way to break down the media X’s and O’s on Super Bowl 50 with an assortment of pertinent Q’s and A’s, we’ll let you know.
But until then:
Q: Phil Simms will likely suffer the most media-induced CTE — critically traumatizing encroachments — before, during and after this Super Bowl telecast. Commercial breaks won’t break his way, either. Why doesn’t CBS just use Boomer Esiason, who actually called a Super Bowl for ABC with Al Michaels in 2000?
020116superA: Analyze this — Simms, making his eighth Super Bowl TV appearance (six on CBS, two on NBC), is second only to John Madden’s 11 for an analyst. It’s as if he’s been wearing his Super Bowl XXI MVP award (and that first all-expense-paid trip to Disneyland) as a protective flak jacket. All to the chagrin of Denver followers, who once started a Change.org petition to get him banned from CBS Broncos games.
Anything really change after that?
One problem with Esiason – and many often mistake him with Simms if they’re in the same room – is CBS has already run him into the ground.
He’s done his CBS Sports Radio shows all week from San Francisco (with the time shift, it’s a 3-to-7 a.m. proposition). He did his episode of “Inside the NFL” for Showtime. He co-hosted a network special about the “best” Super Bowl commercials of all time.
Not only will he be involved in the CBS studio show but he’s also breaking away to be the game analyst on the Westwood One Radio broadcast with Kevin Harland, Mark Malone and James Lofton (available on “The Beast” 980-AM and Siriux XM NFL Radio Channel 88.)
So there is that option of turning down the TV sound and turning up the radio. As long as Esiason’s vocal chords hold up.
“(CBS Sports chairman) Sean (McManus) just said show up with a full voice or you’ll get kicked off the set,” said Esiason earlier in the week on a media conference call, already showing signs of fatigue.
We’ve got more at this link….

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It’s Out of the Question: What’s the silver lining to the NFL’s golden anniversary of Super Bowls?

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Congrats on surviving long enough to witness the spectacle of the Super Bowl that should be sponsored by the letter “L” but instead is branded by the number “50” as well as the symbols “$” and “@” and “#” and other random acts of emojis.
What does 50 means to the NFL today?
Gold.
Appropriately enough.
To the league’s marketing department, this is a best-case scenario to celebrate, and hallucinate, a connection the sport has from its corporate partners to the pan-handlers in the street.
(Please, just this week, think of that later group as descendants from those who bravely came here in the mid-19th Century to pan for gold in this very spot where you too can set up a “Cash For Gold” pop-up store, with Joe Montana as your spokesman.)
More questions that can be possibly answered at this link …

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Weekly media notes Super Bowl 50 edition: X’s and O’s for consumers of the non-L game

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton has video taken of him on a phone during the media event in San Jose earlier this week. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton has video taken of him on a phone during the media event in San Jose earlier this week. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Coming up for Sunday:

We make an attempt to break down certain X’s and O’s of the media coverage for Super Bowl non-L with whatever Q’s and A’s are most effective. Covering the usual suspects, like Phil Simms’ track record with Broncos fans, the “rules analyst” issue and why the pregame show, at four hours, is more than enough.

What is worth delivering now, the Super Bowl 50 edition:

htra148_vv028_h== The esteemed Dick Enberg, who was a reporter for KTLA-Channel 5 for the first NFL-AFL title game at the Coliseum, tells the San Jose Mercury News about his most memorable Super Bowl moments — he broadcast eight of them and attended eight others, including the last one in his new hometown region of San Diego.
But then again, we have this one Super Bowl memory … Enberg, in the Coliseum locker room for NBC, interviewing the L.A. Rams quarterback after he led a miraculous comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Super Bowl … but maybe that was just a movie
Maybe …
220px-Heaven_can_wait_poster“It was like having a Super Bowl experience without the added pressure from the media — and all my mistakes could be edited out,” Enberg recalled this week about shooting his scene for the 1978 Warren Beatty-Buck Henry movie, “Heaven Can Wait,” where Beatty starred as Joe Pendleton/Leo Farnsworth/Tom Jarrett after going from backup QB to the hero of the Super Bowl win with an out-of-body experience. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including best picture, best director (Beatty/Henry), best leading actor (Beatty), best supporting actor (Jack Warden), and adapted screenplay. It won for best art direction/set decoration.
Enberg said his scene was in a revamped Coliseum locker room and his lines called for him to interview “Jarrett” amid the chaos of the celebration as well as Beatty’s character not focused on the questions because he was being told that his spirit was leaving Jarrett’s body.
(Please, rent the flick for a better encapsulation).
“We had some of the Rams players in the room as extras, as well as USC and UCLA players in Rams’ uniforms, and one of them was George Youngblood, a retired defensive back for the Rams in the ’60s,” recalled Enberg, the Rams’ radio play-by-play man from 1966 to ’77 before joining NBC full time.
enberg“I’m trying to interview Beatty — he was also the director, and as we shot scenes, we had video that we would go back and look at to see if we needed to reshoot it. There was  someone off camera reading James Mason’s lines to Beatty and Beatty’s answers to my questions don’t make any sense.
“At one point, Youngblood kind of got into the scene and as I held the microphone with my right hand, I kind of shooed Youngblood away with my left hand. Beatty saw that on the replay and said, ‘Enberg, let’s keep that in.’ He loved that shot, and they ended up using it in a lot of promotional material.
“Eventually, Beatty sent me a photo of that scene with a handwritten note that said: ‘Enberg, this is the scene where you’re turning down Dustin Hoffman’s part in “Ishtar”,'” Enberg said with a laugh, noting the reference to Beatty’s critically panned movie from 1987.
The other memorable moment from that day that took maybe a dozen takes and several hours of shooting was Enberg had to call an Angels’ game that night in Anaheim. He remembers that because they went through several cases of champagne to recreate a locker room craziness, that “the ‘athletes’ were at first kind of tame but as the day went on, they started drinking it, and breaking bottles and my blue sports coat was just soaked. I get to the Angels game and (broadcast partner) Don Drysdale smells me coming and says, ‘What did you do, fall in a (bleep) pile?’ I had to burn that sports coat.”
As fate would have it, the Rams and Steelers did play in a Super Bowl, just a year after the film’s release, and it was at the Rose Bowl instead of the Coliseum.
Foreshadowing?
“Maybe they should have entitled it, ‘Heaven Couldn’t Wait’,” said Enberg.

(Noah Graham/CBS)

(Noah Graham/CBS)

For the Mercury News series, the paper also quizzed Jim Nantz, Bob Costas, Leslie Visser, Peter King and James Brown on their Super Bowl memories.
And as part of CBS’ four-hour pregame show Sunday that begins at 11 a.m., the six living Super Bowl play-by-play men (out of 11) talk about their experiences: Enberg, Nantz, Joe Buck, Greg Gumbel, Al Michaels and Jack Whitaker, the later of which we profiled last week.

== The CBS pregame show starting at 11 a.m. has the usual studio crew (Brown, Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher, Tony Gonzalez, Bart Scott). Plus Ian Eagle and Gumbel. Plus current NFL player Brandon Marshall. Plus former NFL QB Trent Green. Plus former Raiders CEO Amy Trask. Plus NFL Today “insider” Jason La Canfora, plus reporters Tracy Wolfson, Evan Washburn and Allie LaForce. Plus “contributor” Jim Rome.
But, ahem, no Visser? The 2006 winner of the Pete Rozelle Radio-TV Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame hasn’t really done much for the CBS NFL production in the last few years, but will be on a special Saturday edition of “We Need To Talk” (CBSSN, 4 p.m.)

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