Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Obama, O'Reilly, Oh Yes!
I just sent in my Super Bowl viewer guide for the Sunday paper. You can read it now if you want:
Will Fox hound press prez?
Obama, O’Reilly, Oh Yes!
That’s the not-so-subtle promo Fox has used for the 4:30 p.m. pregame sitdown featuring President Barack Obama and Fox News star (and Chaminade High alum) Bill O’Reilly.
Should be interesting, at least more so than Obama’s previous Super Sunday chats with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.
Why is Fox going with an opinionated commentator rather than one of its news anchors?
“I believe Bill is going to do a different job with the interview and take a different tangent than Matt and Katie took,’’ producer Scott Ackerson said.
“That was my hope going into it, and I’m looking forward to seeing that.”
Retired ref is ‘security blanket’
Fox’s addition of former NFL officiating boss Mike Pereira has been hailed all season, succeeding “beyond our wildest dreams,’’ Fox Sports president Eric Shanks said.
Shanks recalled high-fives in the control room in Week 1 after Pereira explained the controversial (and correct) call on what appeared to be a Calvin Johnson touchdown catch for the Lions.
Now comes the ultimate test. Pereira will be in the booth with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman during the Super Bowl in case he is needed.
Buck called Pereira “the most important hire we have had since, I don’t know when. He is the biggest security blanket Troy and I can have in the booth.’’
‘Glee’ hits the gridiron
The Super Bowl and “Glee’’ are two of the biggest attractions on Fox’s schedule, but . . . let’s just say their target audiences have limited overlap.
Sort of like the crossover between fans of Ray Lewis and Barbra Streisand.
Katie Couric makes a guest appearance. No word on a Lewis/Streisand duet.
Peas promise functional wardrobe
For the first time since Janet Jackson’s 2004 wardrobe malfunction, the Super Bowl halftime show stars performers born in the past half-century.
It’s true. Not only were The Black Eyed Peas all born after the AFL was founded in 1960, they came along several years after the 1970 merger!
And unlike three of the past six acts the Peas are American, which means they like pro football. It’s a law, right? Fergie even owns a small piece of the Dolphins.
Speaking of Fergie, she will be the first woman featured on the halftime stage since Jackson.
"It is a challenge because you want to give a little sex appeal," she said. "But you don't want to get into any trouble. So we're very particular on the wardrobe.
“There will be no more malfunctions, and I think Janet's amazing. She's a great performer.’’
No cheerleaders . . . at Cowboys Stadium!
For the first time, the Super Bowl is visiting the home of the most famous cheerleading squad in the history of sports.
And for the first time, neither participating team has a squad of its own. The Packers and Steelers are among the six teams that don’t use cheerleaders.
There are no plans by the league, the teams, the Cowboys or Fox to deploy stand-ins to give television cameras something to focus on before and after commercial breaks.
The Jets were the only cheerleading hope among the NFL final four. The Bears don’t use them, either. The other three pompon-free teams: Giants, Browns, Lions.
Fox won’t belabor issue
The big off-field news in the NFL is the tenuous labor situation, with a lockout looming next month. So does Fox plan to discuss that subject during the game telecast? Short answer: no.
“To get into that and to do it justice without boring people or going on forever, is impossible,’’ play-by-play man Joe Buck said.
“It’s like the steroid issue in baseball. How much of that do you want to do in a game during an at-bat and how can you tell the full story without droning on and on and not covering the game?”
It’s Szuper Mélytányér Sunday!
That’s Super Bowl Sunday in Hungarian, at least according to one of those Internet translation sites.
If you happen to actually understand Hungarian and are not near a television, you can listen to the big game in that language on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 153.
Radio accounts also are available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, Japanese, German, Dutch, Danish and Pittsburgh-ese. Go Stillers!
TV’s longest day starts early
Some of you will be satisfied merely to watch the big game. For the rest of you . . .
Fox’s pregame will include red carpet interviews with celebs conducted between 2:30 and 4:30 by Maria Menounos and Michael Strahan, who was playing in the game the last time Fox televised it.
Other pregame Fox features include a segment produced by TMZ (!) at 3:30 p.m., Terry Bradshaw’s chat with Ben Roethlisberger at 5:30 and a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 5:53.
The NFL Network, which is offering more than 100 hours of programming during Super Bowl week, kicks off its pregame at 9 a.m., a mere 9½ hours before game time.
Make sure you have plenty of chips and root beer!