Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Joe Namath documentary on HBO

I took advantage of the free HBO preview last weekend on DirecTV and recorded the Namath documentary. While I have never liked Broadway Joe, I was quite impressed by this documentary. It contains a decent amount of game footage from his high school and college career plus NFL Films action from his AFL years. For the segment on Super Bowl 3, HBO superimposed original NBC TV audio over much of the NFL Films video. It was also very interesting to see clips from some of his TV commercials, movies, and his short-lived TV series The Joe Namath Show.

If you have access to HBO, I definitely recommend this documentary. HBO will be replaying it many times over the upcoming weeks, so check your program guide.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The day CBS pulled an analyst out of the stands

The date was 3/14/1982 and the event was the NCAA tournament 2nd round game between Idaho and Iowa played in Pullman, Washington. For this regional telecast, CBS (which was televising its first NCAA tournament) assigned play-by-play broadcaster Fred White and analyst Irv Brown.

Unfortunately, White suffered from laryngitis early in the game and was unable to continue. So CBS was forced to scramble and put together a revised broadcast team to call the remainder of the game. After an early timeout, Brown shifted into the play-by-play role despite never having done play-by-play before.Washington State coach George Raveling was in the arena as a spectator and CBS pulled him out of the stands to pinch-hit as the analyst and make his broadcasting debut. The duo of Brown and Raveling finished the game (which went into OT).

You can hear White stuggling quite a bit with his voice during this early part of this clip and Brown carrying the telecast leading into the first timeout. You can see the announcer transition take place at the 8:50 mark which Brown also references at the 12:00 mark.

This video is an interesting watch. The announcers frequently talk over each other and get loud at times. As you might expect, there are some awkward sequences (for example, see the x:xx mark). But overall, I would say that both Brown and Raveling did a reasonable job under the unusual circumstances.

I'm also unclear as to how much advance notice Raveling got from CBS about serving as an analyst on this telecast. Or, for that matter, how much advance notice Brown got regarding the play-by-play possibility.

Raveling would subsequently work as a TV analyst for CBS for a few years in the mid-1990s and later for Fox Sports Net.

Super Bowl Classics on NFL Network

Upcoming original telecast replays on NFL Network Super Bowl Classics (all times ET): 
  • Super Bowl XXV (Giants - Bills after 1990 season): Mon 1/30 at 11:59 pm
  • Super Bowl XLII (Giants - Patriots after 2007 season): Tue 1/31 at 8 pm (also Fri 2/3 at 11:59 pm)
  • Super Bowl XXXVI (Patriots - Rams after 2001 season): Tue 1/31 at 11:59 pm
Note: to minimize confusion about which day 12 am or midnight refers to, I use the 11:59 pm convention.

ClassicSportsTV on Twitter

For links to new blog posts and DVR alerts on classic sports programming, follow @ClassicSportsTV on Twitter.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Joe Paterno as guest analyst

During the 1974 season, ABC used many active coaches (on off-weeks) as guest analysts on its college football telecasts. On 11/23/74, the guest analyst was Joe Paterno who worked the Michigan vs Ohio St game alongside Keith Jackson. The BTN has run this entire game on its Big Ten's Greatest Games series. I saw portions of it and recall not being all that impressed with Paterno who remained silent during stretches, but figured this was worth posting due to his recent passing. Here is a clip from the end of the game:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hank Stram

Recently I watched some of the 1981 NFC Championship game replay on NFLN and was reminded of how good Hank Stram was as an analyst. I believe that most of the best NFL analysts during the 1980s were former coaches (John Madden and Dick Vermeil also). Stram brought great insight and perspective into the booth. He frequently pointed out offensive formations and defensive alignments in advance and had a knack for predicting plays. I also recall Stram providing excellent radio commentary on Monday Night football games.

In my opinion, the best Super Bowl highlight video of all time is the one from Super Bowl IV when NFL Films miked Stram. Even though I rooted for the Vikings, I always enjoyed all the emotion and personality Stram added to that film and all of his famous one-liners such as "65 toss power trap".

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Send it in Jerome!"

ESPN Classic is replaying the entire "Send it in Jerome!" game on Wed 1/25 at 1 pm ET. This will mark the 24th anniversary of the 1988 Providence @ Pittsburgh game which is best known for this Bill Raftery line after a backboard-shattering dunk by Jerome Lane. Current Arizona coach Sean Miller made the pass. I remember watching this game live.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Historical sports TV schedule/announcer listings

One of the places I frequently visit on the internet is the506. While the506 is best known for its weekly color-coded NFL broadcast maps, this site also has a great set of well-run forums with many quite knowledgeable members. (Note: free registration required to access the forums)

The forums cover sports broadcasting topics such as weekly TV/radio schedules and announcer listings, analysis of media rights packages, reviews of broadcasters, discussion of TV ratings, network scheduling, announcer assignments, etc.

My favorite section (and the one most relevant to this blog) is the Sports Broadcasting History forum. I am one of a set of members who has been researching various aspects of sports TV history. For example, we have created year-by-year historical TV schedules with game times, networks, and announcers and have collaborated to identify errors and fill in missing pieces. I've done a lot of work on the historical college basketball and college football listings, while other members have compiled similar listings for other sports such as the NFL (including AFL and AAFC) and MLB.

If you are interested in sports media (past or present), I highly recommend checking out the506.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1981 NFC Championship game to be replayed on NFL Network

NFL Network is replaying the original broadcast of the 1/10/82 Cowboys @ 49ers game (a.k.a. "The Catch")  on Tue 1/10 at midnight (i.e. early Wed AM) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of this contest. Vin Scully and Hank Stram called the action.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Documentary on 1972 Summit Series hockey event

NBC Sports Network (formerly known as Versus) is showing a documentary titled Cold War On Ice: Summit Series '72 on the famous hockey series between a Canadian NHL all-star team and the Soviet national team. Here is the NBCSN replay schedule: (all times ET)

  • Sun 1/8 at 10:30 pm 
  • Mon 1/9 at 7 pm
  • Thu 1/12 at 9:30 pm