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TV-RADIO / LARRY STEWART

Chandler Warms Up in the Booth

January 14, 1994|LARRY STEWART

Bob Chandler knows something about playing in Buffalo, where the Raiders will endure the cold and wind Saturday.

Chandler, now a Raider radio commentator, was a wide receiver for the Bills for nine seasons before finishing his career with the Raiders.

It was common for Chandler to play in single-digit temperatures during his Buffalo days. But, he says, he never got used to it.

"If the Bills have an advantage, it's only psychological," Chandler said.

"People say it's an advantage for the Bills whenever a team from a warm-weather climate comes to Buffalo to play because the Bills are used to the cold. When you play for the Bills, you go along with that theory because it might give you an edge. But you're just as cold as the other guy. I froze to death all the time.

"Actually, I think the warm-weather team has the advantage. They get to practice all week in normal conditions. They get to work up a sweat.

"When I was with the Bills, a lot of times (quarterback) Joe Ferguson and I would end up playing catch on a racquetball court."

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Add cold weather: Chandler says the coldest weather he played in was at Cleveland, not Buffalo. It was a 1980 playoff game, when he was with the Raiders.

"The wind-chill factor was about minus 50," he said. "After the temperature gets below 20, it really doesn't matter how low it gets. It's the wind that kills you."

Maybe the most memorable thing about that game in Cleveland, besides Mike Davis' game-saving interception in the end zone of a pass by Brian Sipe, was Raider center Dave Dalby coming out on the field before the game to greet his friends on the Browns wearing only a T-shirt.

"Cold, what cold?" Dalby said.

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Add Chandler: He has been a standout on the Raiders' new broadcasting team that includes veteran play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers and newcomer Mike Haynes.

Chandler's experience has shown. The former USC star was a football commentator for NBC and a sports reporter for Channel 7 before getting out of sports for a while and serving as co-host of Channel 2's "2 on the Town." He is now also the host of the critically acclaimed "Amazing Games" series on ESPN.

Chandler figures as a candidate for one of Fox's football commentating positions next season.

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Add Fox: The network made an announcement this week, but it wasn't the hiring of John Madden, who appears headed for ABC's "Monday Night Football."

Fox named George Krieger, a former HBO sports vice president, as executive vice president of its new sports division. Krieger has been working in business development for Fox since July of last year and was previously a senior vice president in 20th Century Fox's home video and pay-television division.

If Madden is out of the picture for Fox, a good choice as its lead commentator would be Pat Haden, regarded by some as the second-best in the business behind Madden.

Not only was Haden outstanding on TNT during the first half of the season, but he has done just as well on CBS radio the second half. He and radio partner Howard David are tremendous together.

David and Haden will be in Buffalo Saturday for CBS radio, but their broadcast will be blacked out in Los Angeles to protect Raider flagship station KFI. They will also be in Houston on Sunday for the Oilers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Jack Buck and Hank Stram will announce the other two playoff games for CBS radio.

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More former Bills: The NBC announcing team on Saturday's 9:30 a.m. Raider-Buffalo telecast will be Marv Albert and Paul Maguire, and working the sideline will be O.J. Simpson and Cris Collinsworth. Maguire is a former punter and linebacker for the Bills and, you may recall, Simpson was a running back for the Bills.

Maguire, who was with the Bills from 1964 through '70, still lives in Eden, N.Y., a Buffalo suburb.

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Playoff apathy: Certainly the weather in Buffalo has something to do with it, but the Bills, despite a 24-hour extension, were still 6,000 tickets shy of a sellout at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Bills were granted another 24-hour extension to sell out and lift the local television blackout.

The Bills' playoff game last year against Houston, the comeback game, was also blacked out in Buffalo. Capacity at Rich Stadium is 80,290.

In Detroit last weekend, the Lions fell 25,000 tickets short of selling out in time to lift the blackout.

At least the Raiders were able to sell enough tickets to lift the blackout for their game against Denver last Sunday, although they needed two extra days and probably wouldn't have sold out if the Coliseum capacity were still 92,488.

TV-Radio Notes

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