ESPN once again aired a Super Bowl week special "The Champions" which featured all most of their Super Bowl winning analysts on the same set. Given that ESPN has a battalion of NFL analysts, you can imagine this set would be more than a little crowded. The show was hosted by Mike Tirico and featured analysts (from left to right, first row then second row) Mike Ditka, Jon Gruden, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Keyshawn Johnson, Antonio Pierce, Tedy Bruschi, Mark Schlereth, and Trent Dilfer. I'm exhausted just listing all those names, let alone watching the show. The 2011 ESPN NFL analyst yearbook photos must have been taken directly afterwards...
I just feel sorry for all the Super Bowl winning analysts at ESPN that didn't make the cut for the show. Where was third-time ESPN analyst Bill Parcells? Darren Woodson won three Super Bowls and he's actually one of ESPN's best analysts! Eric Mangini won titles as an assistant with the Patriots and Damien Woody won two rings too. Unfortunately for them, they must have been placed on the inactive list for this Champions special.
A more entertaining choice would have been seeing all the ESPN Super Bowl winning analysts play an actual game against the Indianapolis Colts.
I have to take objection to the comment that there is no lack of starpower in this series at all. You have one of the greatest goaltenders of all time playing for one team and the man who is probably best suited to be his heir apparent on the other, while some of the league's most entertaining scorers are on the ice.What this series does not have is OVERHYPED star power. There are no players on either team that the national sports media crams down our throats at every opportunity. There are lots of stars on the Kings and Devils, just none of the ones that the media gives a damn about covering. As for the NBC Sports coverage, the best thing they could do is simply to fire their entire broadcast crew and import CBC's coverage team. The NBC crew is so blatantly biased and incompetent that they are no longer worth watching.
"Each team had just one player in the NHL's top 40 for points (Anze Kopitar of the Kings, Zach Parise of the Devils)"
Uhhh, Kovalchuk was 5th. Elias was 10th. Am I missing something here?
I agree with the NBC Sports Network thing. How do you justify burying the Stanley Cup FINAL on a cable network that isn't even available on all providers?
Well... so what are you going to do? Fix the competition so that Ovechkin and Crosby - or big Hockey market teams - are guaranteed to be in the finals? Move the NBA season? Move the NHL season? Unfortunately, pinning the success of the NHL based on U.S. television ratings is about as useful as gauging the success of a cancer drug by its taste. The NHL will generally garner lower ratings to the other main sports. Expecting it to change is a bit fatuous. Last I heard, the teams that make it to the SC finals are the teams that play the best hockey - not the ones who garner the best ratings - this is not a prime-time drama or a sitcom. Your observations are legit, but what's the solution? Selling hockey to the average U.S. TV viewer, in June, is like selling bikinis at a burqa store. The only thing that's kept ME away from watching more of the finals is weather interference on my sattelite, and a lack of Daryl Reaugh on the finals broadcasts. - (IMO, Doc E is a bit annoying with his overuse of the words "Carom" and "Knifed.") (lol.)
Yeah, my problem is that I like basketball more than I like hockey and everyone I spend time with does too. I love hockey, but logistically I just can't do both and the majority vote wins out.
It doesn't help that nobody on a major satellite provider like Dish Network gets NBC Sports Network.
I read somewhere that KNBC (the L.A. NBC station) wanted to simulcast games 4 and 5 from NBC Sports Network, but were denied from corporate in New York City. I think it would have helped the ratings if the NBC stations in the home markets were allowed to simulcast any Stanley Cup Final games airing on NBCSN.