NFL Week 14 in the L.A. TV market: A Rams-Eagles game fit for a Fox-Coliseum pre-game experience

ESPN showed no interesting in visiting the Coliseum for “College GameDay” prior to the USC-UCLA football game last month.

Fox Sports, on the other hand, sees an opportunity to get some fresh air. Hopefully.

Instead of Sunday’s “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show emanating from the climate controlled Hollywood Studio 2A on Pico Blvd., they’ve scraped together some quarters and decided that, in light of Sunday’s Rams-Eagles game being a game that will go to about 90 percent of the country in the afternoon window, it’s grand enough to drag the crew — Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan and Curt Menefee — about 10 miles up Exposition Blvd., and do everything live inside the Coliseum’s peristyle end.

The desire is there isn’t a lot of brush-fire smoke in the air still lingering, but the reality is there will be the need to address it as the day goes on.

Fox had hinted but then didn’t follow through on sending the crew to the Coliseum for the Rams’ 2016 season opener against Seattle, the first regular-season NFL game in L.A. since the Rams and Raiders bailed out after 1994.

(Kind of the same thing when Fox had the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in 2016, as the studio show went to Chicago outside Wrigley Field, but they couldn’t drag it up the freeway to Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers’ home games in that series. This past World Series, however, was enough to warrant having the A-Rod and Friends Fox MLB crew to Dodger Stadium to do its live pre- and post-game game, against all odds.)

So as this is something of a rare event (lately) for Fox in a regular-season affair, we do recall that one strange season — 2006, after James Brown left and before Menefee — when the plan was to have Joe Buck as the studio host as well as A-game play-by-play man. (If ESPN could do it on the college game with Chris Fowler, why not try it NFL style?). So that studio show often made road trips to whatever game Buck was calling.

Nice try.

HEAD TO HEAD AGAIN, HERE AND THERE

The question was posed earlier in the week in the San Diego Union-Tribune: When the Chargers and Rams go head-to-head in San Diego, which team draws more TV viewers in the Chargers’ abandoned home town?

The answer: The Chargers. Still. By far. Despite whatever open wounds may be present, and allegiances challenged.

A 16.3 San Diego rating for the Chargers-Cleveland game from StubHub Center in Carson was about three times the 5.7 rating that the Rams-Arizona game in Glendale, Ariz., got for the two CBS and Fox affiliates in San Diego.

In L.A., that head-to-head measure wasn’t close, either. For all the opposite reasons.

The Rams ran away with a 7.8 rating/20 share (628,000 viewers) for the afternoon game on Channel 11, while the Chargers did a 4.5 rating/11 share (312,000) on Channel 2.

Expect much of the same this Sunday. Or more.

Seattle’s win over Philadelphia on NBC in prime-time last Sunday had the best marks in L.A.: 12.7 rating/22 share with 1.025 million average viewers. The Minnesota-Atlanta game in the early Fox window was still crushing the Chargers-Browns with a 7.2 rating/20 share and 570,000 average viewers.

SOMETHING ESPN THOUGHT WAS WORTH EXPOSING

AND NOW, THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE AS WE KNOW IT:

THURSDAY

* New Orleans at Atlanta: 5:25 p.m., Channel 4/NFL Network (Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox)

SUNDAY

* Dallas at N.Y. Giants: 10 a.m., Channel 11 (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis)
This is the pick Fox has for almost every available region in America except where it has to show Chicago-Cincinnati, Green Bay-Cleveland, Detroit-Tampa Bay and San Francisco-Houston.

* Chargers vs. Washington: At StubHub Center in Carson, 1:05 p.m. Channel 2 (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn)
CBS has only one game this weekend, so L.A. gets it. Meaning, no Oakland-Kansas City (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon), Minnesota-Carolina (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo) or Indianapolis-Buffalo in the early window (the Vikings were cross-flexed) or N.Y. Jets-Denver and Tennessee-Arizona in this afternoon window. Chargers-Washington also goes to the markets in Dallas, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Green Bay.

* Rams vs. Philadelphia: At the Coliseum, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11 (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)
Unless one in L.A. has DirecTV Sunday Ticket, Rams fans can’t check in on Seattle’s game at home against Jacksonville, also on at this time (and they now get stuck with Chris Myers and Daryl Johnston for a change). The Denver and Phoenix markets also don’t get this game.

* Baltimore at Pittsburgh: 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

MONDAY

* New England at Miami: 5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden)

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Vin Scully turns 90: Our top nine quotable story and column memories

On the occasion of Vin Scully’s 90th birthday Wednesday — he says he’ll spend it honoring Jackie Robinson in a Rose Bowl statue ceremony — we go back through the archives to find the nine most memorable columns and stories we have done about or with him over the last 30 years:

== Nov. 28, 2014: On the occasion of his 87th birthday and his reservations about retiring as a broadcaster:

“Remember the book by James Hilton called ‘Shangri-La (a 1933 novel that was made into a Frank Capra movie a short time later called ‘Lost Horizon’ starring Ronald Coleman and Margo Albert)? This plane crashes into the Himalayas of Nepal, and the survivors are met by Sherpa guides who take them off the mountain, during a terrible blizzard. The next thing you know they’re in the most beautiful valley in the whole world, absolutely magnificent — it’s Shangri-La.

“So now one of the survivors falls in love with this gorgeous girl in the valley. Finally, there comes a point when the survivors are restless and want to be rescued. So when they are rescued, this man decides to leave but he wants to take this woman back to civilization.

“When he announces his plan, the High Lama says that he can’t take her away from Shangri-La. He warns him that she is a lot older than she looks. She has only managed to stay her youthful age because she has lived in this valley for so long, and if she leaves, she’ll revert to her real age.

“But the man takes her anyway. And in the movie, there’s the scene where they’re leaving the valley, all dressed in winter clothes. The man is carrying the woman out on his shoulder. And then the camera zooms in on her. From under her hood, you can now see her face — and she looks to be 150 years old.

“I’ve often thought that when the time comes to leave baseball, I’ll have lived this sheltered, lovely existence where grown men leave a child’s game. It’s like Shangri-La. You leave it, and your real age catches up with you.”

== Oct. 2, 2016: His final goodbye during his final broadcast in San Francisco: Continue reading “Vin Scully turns 90: Our top nine quotable story and column memories” »

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College football Week 14 in the L.A. TV market: Saturday may be great, but Pac-12 title game a TGIF solo act

The story posted Wednesday on NCAA.com: “How Alabama, Georgia, Miami and Ohio State can make the playoff.”

It arrived two days after the site also posted the story calling this “the greatest Saturday in college football history.” Well, not exactly. It quoted itself in the headline, but also prefaced it by saying “you could call it …”

There’s also the disclaimer at the end of every NCAA.com story: The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.

Especially USC.

More at this link …

 

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NFL Week 12 in the L.A. market: Destiny has put the Chargers in Dallas on Turkey Day

Your Chargers have put Los Angeles back on the Thanksgiving Day TV rotation.
We bow our heads and quietly ask:
The Chargers?
Why?
Because maybe, even at 4-6 after Week 11 and with a chance to broadside America’s Team on a national holiday, things can change quickly for them in the AFC West, which the Chiefs don’t necessarily seem to want to claim as desperately as it seemed.
And a Chiefs-Chargers game is coming up Dec. 16. Time to get the ducks in a row.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn says it’s “an honor” to play on Thanksgiving.
“It may be the second-largest game in the league, other than playing in the Super Bowl,” said Lynn.
But then there’s that dishonorable thing happening between Dish Network and CBS that could preclude subscribers of that service to see the contest.
Lucky for them?
Back in September, columnist Norman Chad declared them his “NFL team of destiny” for 2017.
“Their standout quarterback, Philip Rivers, generally stays healthy, but he is 59 years old.
“Their special-teams unit is the single most beleaguered organization in America, outside of the U.S. Postal Service.
“Their owner, Dean Spanos, makes Dan Snyder look like Art Rooney.
“They will play home games this year in a soccer stadium with 27,000 seats and no pylons.
“Anyway, when the Chargers run out onto the U.S. Bank Stadium field in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, 2018, they will become the first homeless franchise with a first-year coach in its first season as second fiddle in a second-rate big city to play in the Super Bowl.”
How’s that going for us so far?
Seeing the Chargers on Thursday might make those in San Diego feel a little heartbroken. Or angry. Or apathetic. It’s not a great look.
What’s also interesting is both games involving L.A. teams this weekend will have Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson on the CBS broadcast. Yet, in light of NBC passing on the Rams-Saints for a prime-time game, Sunday now just feels like leftovers.

== The gap in L.A. is quickly closing.
Bovada.lv announced its updated odds on all 32 team’s prospects of winning the Super Bowl.
On Nov. 15, the Rams were 9/1 and the Chargers were 200/1.
On Nov. 22, the Rams dropped to 18/1 and the Chargers improved to 66/1.
It matters.

== How this weekend plays out:

THURSDAY
== Minnesota at Detroit: 9:30 a.m., Channel 11 (Joe Buck, Troy AIkman)
== Chargers at Dallas: 1:30 p.m., Channel 2 (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
== N.Y. Giants at Washington, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth)
Some thought an NBC promo with Lawrence Taylor and Joe Theisman was inspired funny. Some didn’t think so considering Taylor’s current disposition.
SUNDAY
= Buffalo at Kansas City: 10 a.m., Channel 2
This choice, made for Chargers’ followers knowing that a key Week 15 matchup is coming with the Chiefs, is picked ahead of Cleveland-Cincinnati and Miami-New England.
= Chicago at Philadelphia: 10 a.m., Channel 11
This choice, made for Rams’ followers knowing that a key Week 14 matchup is coming with the Eagles, is picked ahead of Tampa Bay-Atlanta, Tennessee-Indianapolis and Carolina-N.Y. Jets.
= Rams vs. New Orleans: At the Coliseum, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2 (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
Moved to CBS so more eyes could get on it on the back end of a national doubleheader going to about 80 percent of the country, it also blocks out Denver-Oakland and Jacksonville-Arizona. Fox, which has only one game to show today, can’t deliver on Seattle-San Francisco.
= Green Bay at Pittsburgh: 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

MONDAY
= Houston at Baltimore: 5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)

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