Know what? It looked like a pretty good regular-season game. Clean one, too. And that ain’t bad. Perhaps that was due to the absence of curious rules, officiating and replay decisions. Hey, football!
But let’s take it in chronological order:
Fore! The worst that could happen to Fox, just before kickoff, was the best that could happen to CBS.
After Tony Finau missed a par putt on 18 at about 6:05, 25 minutes before the advertised kickoff, CBS’ golf from Arizona went into a Finau versus Webb Simpson OT, cutting into Fox’s run-up Super Bowl viewer totals. Simpson won on the first extra hole, 10 minutes before the publicized kickoff.
CBS, loyal NFL partner, signed off almost immediately. But the TV-money-first, designed-for-prime-time game, didn’t kick until 6:41, with 7 p.m. starting prime time, here. And then …
Admit it: Do we now focus on our national anthem before big sports events to see if the performer or sidelined players will politicize it for stolen, exploited attention?
No post-kick intrusions for starting lineups. Fox got to them when there was time. Nice. No, radical!
Another surprise: After KC began with a three-and-punt, no cut to commercials! But Fox, as per contract, soon caught up.
Troy Aikman had a good game, especially noting, with replay aid, episodes such as linebackers frozen to play-action and strong blocking by Niners’ receivers.
Fox, naturally, made sure to slo-mo replay players in a self-absorbed demonstration.
And on a third-and-14 for the Chiefs, vacant stat-head Joe Buck dutifully recited that they’re the “top third-down offense in the league this year.” On third-and-14? KC then gained 1 yard and punted.
The NFL’s halftime show stayed true to its family-friendly, Roger Goodell-pandering devotion to raw, crotch and butt-thrusting sex. The NFL, thick with players nailed for abuse of women, again was stuck for anything better.
The rest of the story: Patrick Mahomes, oddly — inexplicably — staying in or near the pocket, continued to lay an egg. Then, better late than never, he reverted to Patrick Mahomes. Say goodnight, Gracie.
MLB would be right to spotlight players like Granderson
World Gone Nuts, continued: Curtis Granderson, after 16 years as among the easiest big leaguers to root for, retired last week.
He conspicuously adhered to two standards: 1) Always run hard to first; and 2) Always do right by kids. Granderson would daily and nightly be seen standing near the Mets’ or Yankees’ dugout, happily signing autographs, swapping smiles.
He was unafraid and unashamed to be old school — even if “SportsCenter” provided such players little attention.
As for his hustle, he had 98 career triples, twice leading the AL in a now diminished, often game-winning achievement. In 15 seasons, Robinson Cano, also a Met and a Yankee, has 33 triples and 51 stolen bases.
Granderson hit 344 home runs — and not one, I can recall, when he stood at home and posed. He ran hard until he was out. Imagine that.
He played winning, professional baseball. He’d be my team’s Director of Quality Control.
At the same time as Granderson hangs ’em up, MLB Network, with Rob Manfred’s pandering approval, is selling plate-posing, bat-flipping and other acts of rank public immodesty — the kind that turn triples and doubles into singles and instigate beanball brawls — as a come-on to attract kids, long neglected by MLB for late-night TV money.
Yep, don’t run to first, pose, show off — as if Manfred would push the kids in his life to play like all-about-me creeps.
Imagine. The commissioner of Major League Baseball, MLB’s own network and other pandering media would discourage kids from playing as Curtis Granderson did. But you can’t shame the shameless.
If America annually has a tough time suffering one-hour NFL pregame shows, what, other than ad revenue, makes TV think we’d be riveted to four-hour or more Super Bowl pregames? Sunday’s on Fox ran 6 1/2 hours, and much of it was just noise.
It’s not a reflection on the quality of the features produced — hard work and difficult logistics are applied. But as a matter of annual, season-long conditioning, we know that NFL pregame shows are loaded with time-killing filler and yak, indistinguishable from one another unless you prefer one’s forced, belly-laughing panelists to another’s.
CBS remains eager to distract college basketball viewers by posting start-to-end, mostly useless stat graphics.
But perhaps I’m wrong. Six minutes into Saturday’s UConn-Memphis game, maybe two people found it important to know that one team had two turnovers and the other had three.
Champ Kenin Under-covered
Tiger Woods Syndrome: An American woman not named Serena Williams or new teen sensation Coco Gauff, 21-year-old Sofia Kenin, won the Australian Open, so she really wasn’t worth much attention or admiration. As reader John Ratomski notes, Kenin didn’t adhere to “ESPN’s Coco, Serena [predetermined] narrative.”
No more appropriate sponsorship than the PGA’s Waste Management Open, concluded Sunday on CBS. Many spectators, by design, tradition, tacit invite and beer, are wasted. Another tradition: CBS’ commentators have to pretend they enjoy being surrounded by loud, drunken rowdies.
Marv Albert, king of basement and backyard sports competitions, including stoop ball, reveals that late NBA Commissioner David Stern “was a pretty good pingpong player.”
They don’t make NHL players the way they used to. Vancouver, here to defeat the Isles in OT Saturday on MSG+, is huge. Thirteen players are 6-foot-2 or over, with defenseman Tyler Myers at 6-8. Myers, raised in Calgary, was, naturally, born in Texas. Rocket Richard and Bobby Hull were 5-9.
Friday’s Nuggets-Bucks, 89 3-point shots. But they still call it basketball.
Readers write: With the firing of Edgardo Alfonzo as manager of the Mets’ Brooklyn Cyclones after winning a pennant, John Vogel wonders if GM Brodie Van Wagenen “wants the Cyclones to go in a different direction?”
Old pal Rich Ippolito notes that during the week’s PGA event, both Holmes and Watson (J.B. and Bubba) appeared on the leaderboard. Nice catch, Rich! “Elementary,” he sniffed.