Watch out ESPN - Fox Sports is starting to bring the heat with their latest innovation.
The network that brought you the Fox Box and the glow puck unveiled "double box" advertising last night's Cotton Bowl, an innovative concept that could change the way we take in advertisements during the largest sporting events.
We've seen the double box used in auto racing before but now, thanks to Fox, we may soon see the double box used on a regular basis for all sporting events on the Fox network.
Friday, Canisius beat Siena in women's college basketball action 65-62 on a half court buzzer beater by Tiahana Mills as time expired. The shot is remarkable, as is any half court buzzer beater for the win, but the call of the shot is truly one of a kind. Listen as Canisius play by play man Mike Scott goes into the way back machine and channels the WWF's Attitude Era with this (PC version) quote taken from the New Age Outlaws:
"OH YOU DIDN'T KNOW, YOU'D BETTER CALL SOMEBOOODDDYYYY!!!"
For the record, I fully support old wrestling catchphrases being worked into play by play.
During the Chicago Bulls' eventual loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on April Fools, I mean New Year's Eve, play-by-play announcer Neil Funk did not understand the repeated intentional fouls on Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo. They call this the Hack Strategy in the biz, and the point is to foul the player with the lowest free throw percentage.
Biyombo's is pretty awful - less than 50%. Stacey King, the color commentator, undertstood the strategy and at one point tried to explain it to Funk, who then gets a bit defensive. He says he understands - but he really doesn't. In fact, he sounds like he's in frustrated disbelief over what transpires, even asking angrily, "what are we doing???" It's pretty amazing that an NBA announcer wouldn't understand the team was fouling intentionally in this situation. King finally points out it is a good strategy, which I guess would have driven home the point a bit better if the Bulls had actually won the game.
New York sports radio kingpin Mike Francesa opened his WFAN show today with the above rant about the perils of working in a dirty studio. Apparently Francesa was upset about the previous show, hosted by Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, leaving the studio in less than pristine condition. Who knew he was such a neat freak? Come on Mikey, bloggers work in a much nastier environment than coffee stains and slightly ajar microphones. You should see these crumbs of Cheetos and empty pop bottles around my bed, yeesh.
In WFAN's defense, maybe the cleaning crew overslept today. Who knows.
The Bill Simmons Grantland endeavor continues to grow, and the latest addition is... Norm Macdonald?
The comedian has joined the staff of Grantland as a golf writer, a topic he's very familiar with (assuming you remember that the basis of his Twitter War with Rick Reilly last March was golf). Macdonald already has a pair of columns up on the site, one that focuses on the 2013 PGA Tour season, and one touching on getting back into sports betting after taking a couple of years off.
Well, the 2012 NFL regular season is in the books, and as expected, football remains king in the USA. The funny part about this is that despite the NFL thrashing every other program and network in the fall quarter, the overall ratings on broadcast TV (CBS, Fox, NBC) actually decreased to 19.3 million viewers from 19.8 million viewers versus 2011.
Despite that slight ratings drop (which translates to a roughly 2.5% decrease in ratings from 2011 to 2012), the NFL trounced everything in their path. 31 of the Top 32 programs aired in the fall were NFL games, with the one outlier being the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. Of course, the NFL games aired on Fox and CBS and Thanksgiving crushed the parade, ranking second and fourth overall respectively on the ratings chart.
Our friends at Ride the Pine captured this video from the Friday morning SportsCenter of Ed Werder filing a report on the latest involving former Eagles coach Andy Reid. Werder talks about a Chiefs delegation leaving Philadelphia and goes where few news reporters will ever go - cutting a joke about Andy Reid's prodigious figure...
"Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and his delegation that includes GM Scott Pioli has actually left Philadelphia and returned to Kansas City without Andy Reid in tow, now I don't know if that's because Andy Reid might put the plane over its weight limit..."
Ouch. I mean really, that's a low blow, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for humor and making terrible jokes at inopportune times, but Reid has had a tough year on and off the field and cracking jokes about his weight doesn't strike me as the best thing to do when reporting on his coaching future. Although I can imagine SportsCenter's ratings would go through the roof if reporters and analysts were allowed to freely make fun of people, the snarky humor should be saved for a much more appropriate and easy target - Rex Ryan's weird tattoo of his wife in a Mark Sanchez jersey.
UPDATE: Later on in the morning, Werder apologized on Twitter:
Bad attempt at humor on earlier SportsCenter. I know better & I’m sorry. Apologies to Andy Reid. Back to football news. Lots to cover
Thursday, SI.com reported retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was on the verge of joining ESPN to begin his television career. Lewis has always been highly thought of as a potential television star given his intensity, thoughtfulness, and vibrant personality. In fact, Lewis is such a wanted asset for the networks that he's found a television home even before his playing days have officially ended.
There are few athletes whose future media careers would warrant mainstream recognition and coverage within the sport - Ray Lewis is one of them. With Richard Deitsch of SI breaking the news, it put ESPN in the amusing situation of covering news about themselves.
ESPN.com published an article referencing the SI.com report and relaying the news of Ray Lewis signing with ESPN. An ESPN spokesman also declined comment when contacted by the ESPN.com news service.
So we have ESPN denying comment to ESPN about ESPN's hiring of Ray Lewis.
Brad Nessler was reading a promo for ESPN's coverage of the FCS championship game between Sam Houston State and North Dakota State when the above graphic aired on the screen. It's not as if the network's merely getting ahead of everyone else and hyping next year's Rose Bowl either, unless they're extremely confident that the Badgers and Cardinal are going to be back. No, this is just an unfortunate error on their part. Either that, or someone in Bristol's a massive Cher fan...
The National Football League didn't always dominate television sets and merchandise stands in America. Remember: Baseball reigned supreme in the U.S. sports hierarchy until only a few decades ago, and before that boxing was the nation's favorite sport.
NBC Sports Network will be taking an in-depth look at how the NFL has stolen the hearts of American consumers in a four-part series, debuting Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET, entitled Star-Spangled Sundays.
NBC has released a preview of the four episode documentary, produced by former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg and NFL Films: