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:
== 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 …
“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.
“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.
“Maybe they should have entitled it, ‘Heaven Couldn’t Wait’,” said Enberg.
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.)