Sunday media: Troy Aikman, on turning 50, not playing Madden Football and what keeps him engaged in broadcasting heading into Fox’s Super Bowl coverage

Troy Aikman, right, talks with Cowboys broadcaster Brad Sham, who began as an NFL Europe TV team in 2000, talk before the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys playoff game on Jan. 15 in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

In addition to this Q&A with Fox analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, we have these additional points to touch upon:

Q: When you go back to your college days at UCLA, did you ever consider broadcasting at all? Where there classes you took to even experiment with it? I know you circled back to get your sociology degree, so maybe that major better prepared you for all that’s involved in this business?
A: I’d like to tell you that might be true, but in my case I’m afraid it’s not (laughing). Not that I can recall anyway. Shoot, I’m the last guy who thought he’d get involved in broadcasting. It was once a last-minute deal (in 2000) to go to NFL Europe to do some games with (Cowboys play-by-play man) Brad Sham and I thought I’d get a couple weeks of vacation. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed the broadcasting, thought ‘Wow, maybe this is something I’ll have an interest in doing.’
Q: You’ve gone through a range of Super Bowl broadcasts – some blowouts, some classics to the very end, an historical Patriots’ loss to an undefeated season. How do those experiences get your head around what to expect on this kind of stage?
A: I think there’s an adjustment that comes in any game whether it’s close or one-sided. I go in never prepared for a blowout. I don’t sit there and think: If there’s an insurmountable lead, what are we going to talk about? I don’t want to go there. If that happens, you adjust on the fly, talk about the broader picture, take that 10,000-foot look at what’s happening. But also in a tight game, there are certain thoughts you had going in you felt are important to get in, but you can’t cram in it just because you think it’s good. I’ve had a number of broadcasts where I had stuff I thought was really informative points to make, but then the team played better than I expected, or a certain player did something out of the ordinary. I’ve learned to just follow the game and let that lead the analysis, if you will.
Q: That’s part of staying in the moment. I’ve heard broadcasters say they prepare X-amount and only expect to use a small percent of it, then if there’s a one-sided game, there is that buck of information to keep dumping out. Is that more the responsibility of a play-by-play man?
A: I agree that analysts and the play-by-play guys only use a fraction of the material they bring, but I think people prepare differently. If you had a lot of information going into the game on both teams, and you were able to exhaust that, I would challenge that it probably was not a great broadcast. There are thoughts I’d have on Tom Brady and Matt Ryan and their offenses, and then you start talking about some of those things, what you expect … but as you move through the game, that controls where go from there. To just start jamming information in when it’s not relevant to what’s happening on the field, I think that’s a mistake.

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Bob Miller update: Decision coming on his future with Kings

Kings broadcaster Bob Miller, in the Staples Center media room before a game between the Kings and the Detroit Red Wings on January 5. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

Kings Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller, at his West Hills home since Wednesday after he was released from the hospital for treatment of a mild stroke, said Friday he plans to meet soon with team officials to discuss how to move forward with his ability to call games.
“A lot has happened in the last 12 months, and you just are concerned about getting on a plane and having something happen at 35,000 feet,” said Miller. “We will take it day by day and see what’s going on.”
Miller, who had four-way heart bypass surgery in Feb., 2016, said he will eventually meet with team senior vice president of communications and broadcasting Mike Altieri and president of business operations Luc Robitalle.
More on the story at this link…

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Sports media notes version 02.02.17: More Xs and Os for the XFL with ESPN doc debuting Thursday

"Some have called it an unprecedented television event, others have called it a desperate ploy to increase sagging ratings," said XFL sideline reporter Fred Roggin when he came on camera with another revamped try at the XFL as a TV product in 2001 as it kept devolving, at this point in Week 6, as show in the documentary "This Was The XFL" (photo: ESPN)

“Some have called it an unprecedented television event, others have called it a desperate ploy to increase sagging ratings,”  sideline reporter Fred Roggin says as he looks into the camera as the XFL tried to revamp a few elements — like more cheerleaders — during Week 6 of their 2001 season. As  things kept unraveling, it fed into the narrative in a new documentary “This Was The XFL” on ESPN airing Thursday. (Photo: ESPN)

The XFL touched us all in so many inappropriate ways.
Hatched by the WWE’s Vince McMahon and co-facilitated in a complete lapse of judgment by NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol, it lasted as a TV mess from February to May, 2001.
The reason any of this comes up is that Charlie Ebersol, the 34-year-old son of Dick and an L.A.-based reality TV show producer, decided to direct and co-produce an hour-plus long documentary about it, “This Was The XFL,” which ESPN will air Thursday night at 6 p.m. (with reairs on Super Bowl Sunday at 4 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 5 p.m., and also available starting Thursday night on WatchESPN).
True enough, and pointed out triumphantly here at the very end of the doc, the only real XFL legacy left is how TV cameras now cover NFL and college games in more video-game type format with overhead cables and hand-held steady cams. That kind of stuff was bound to happen once Fox Sports came aboard in the mid 1990s and was already starting its own revolution with on-screen time-and-score graphics and digital first-down markers.
A league that far over-hyped and embarrassingly under-delivered as a league, a TV product and something that devolved from the human mind, for whatever reasons it wants to give now, is the charitable focus of our mid-week media column at this link. …

== The doc trailer:

== Of course Dick Ebersol is “proud” of how his son told the story, from the Wall Street Journal.
== Another review from’s Ben Koo: “I found myself wanting more. … While the film was definitely hindered by time constraints, ‘This Was The XFL’ is a bit too polite and not introspective enough especially when you compare it to the 30 for 30 on the USFL, which was a very well crafted installment.”
== A feature with Charlie Ebersol, as well as this Entertainment Weekly puffy piece.
== More from and New York Newsday.

Continue reading “Sports media notes version 02.02.17: More Xs and Os for the XFL with ESPN doc debuting Thursday” »

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Play It Forward Jan. 30-Feb. 5: An over/under of 58 sounds great for SB51

indexIf Sunday’s Super Bowl LI gets out of hand — and based on the way the NFL playoffs have played out to this point, it’s a distinct possibility — Fox might want to keep a copy of that Green Bay-Dallas 34-31 divisional game from Jan. 15 ready to load up. The playoffs so far have produced 10 games where the winner has an average margin of victory of 15.7 points, up from 11.3 last year.
Begging isn’t pretty either, but Victor Mather of the New York Times seemed to be OK with it when he wrote recently: “With the comfortable 19- and 23-point margins of victory in the conference championship games, the playoffs so far have underwhelmed viewers hoping for exciting finishes.
“Is it too much to ask for a competitive Super Bowl LI?”
New England and Atlanta, who kick it off at 3:30 p.m. on Fox, seem to present the best chance of it happening.
More of the week ahead at this link

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Bob Miller update: Mild stroke sidelines Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster

Bob Miller, the Kings’ 78-year-old Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster, suffered a mild stroke Saturday and watched Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game from a USC Keck Hospital room TV, the team said.
Miller was admitted Saturday afternoon when he reported to Staples Center to work on a Fox Sports West All-Star broadcast and did not feel well.
A team statement said Miller “is under the care of a team of specialized physicians and he is doing well and is in good spirits.”
More info at this link …

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