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The Replay Bowl


Sure, Super Bowl XXVIII is upon us. But a bigger anniversary recently passed by--Instant Replay XXX. Yes, it's been 30 years since the debut of the innovation that enables TV viewers to see every 1-yard run and incomplete pass in duplicate and triplicate, whether they want to or not. In a salute to that breakthrough, we offer you a review of some of the strangest moments of the season.

Most cutting remark: USA Today's Sal Ruibal, speaking on CNN before the Notre Dame-Florida State game, suggested that the Irish install a 'Bobbitt defense'--to cut (quarterback Charlie) Ward out of the offense."

Negative review of the year: Media critic Norman Chad, describing ESPN's Chris Berman in his book "Hold on Honey, I'll Take You to the Hospital at Halftime (Confessions of a Sports Junkie)": "He pillages the senses. He's the Bay of Pigs. He's the Johnstown Flood. He's the human train derailment."

We see what Chad was talking about: Berman referred to a game between Tampa Bay and Green Bay as a "Bay of Pigs game."

Irishgate: The makers of the movie "Rudy," billed as a true story about a bench-warmer on the Notre Dame football team, later admitted they fictionalized the script to make ex-Irish coach Dan Devine a villain.

At least she didn't use the Bobbitt offense: Michael Lenick of Sewall's Point, Fla., wanted to watch a broadcast of the Philadelphia-Dallas game but his wife Marlene insisted on watching the news. So much so that when he turned on the game, according to police, she fired two gun shots at him. The shots were wide to the right.

Loose Cannon Award: To XTRA radio's Lee Hamilton, who told a caller, "You're a Raider fan so you probably carry a gun. Take that gun, put it in your mouth and pull the trigger." Hamilton, who claimed the fan had cussed him, was fined $250 by the station.

Any other questions?: CBS' Lesley Visser asked New Orleans' Renaldo Turnbull early in the season if he would have been surprised "if anyone had told you that going into the third game you'd be tied for the NFL lead in sacks?" Turnbull's reply: "No."

Wait until ESPN apologizes for Chris Berman first: After Rice was routed 34-7 by Ohio State in its first national TV appearance since 1954, losing coach Fred Goldsmith said: "I'm real disappointed in our performance because I'm sure we bored the dickens out of that audience. I feel sorry for those ESPN announcers."

Bad sport award: During the broadcast of Tennessee's 28-14 win over Arkansas, losing coach Danny Ford was overheard saying during a Tennessee drive: "I hope they tear up a knee this time."

Biggest threat to the future of college football: When a fight broke out during the Rose Bowl, ABC's grouchy Keith Jackson warned: "I have no interest in participating in a sport behaving like this."

Happy talk--or else: A memo to the hosts of KMPC all-sports radio, leaked to local media, said, "A reminder to be 'Friendly' to our local teams, especially our flagships (i.e. the Rams, Bruins and Angels.) There should be no bad-mouthing of these teams and if a caller or guest instigates such talk, it should be handled in a professional manner by our talk-show hosts. In other words they should carefully change the subject or move on to something else."

Worst goof: After a block of a Miami field goal attempt on Thanksgiving Day, NBC cameras shifted away from the bouncing ball to pick up the reaction of the Cowboys' smiling owner Jerry Jones. The cameras thus missed the blunder of Dallas' Leon Lett, who touched the ball, enabling Miami to regain possession and score a shocking, last-second 16-14 victory.

Worst alibi for a goof: NBC's Bob Trumpy said later, "To say we should have had that play live is absurd. In fact, Lett's play was so out of the ordinary that if we had followed the ball live, it would have lost its shock value."

But he was just itching to talk: NBC's rookie commentator Mike Ditka received this advice from USA Today columnist Steve Woodward: "We don't reach down under the desk and scratch ourselves on the leg while host Jim Lampley is framing a question."

It's no doubt how Don Shula became pro football's winningest coach: After Miami attempted a play similar to one he had suggested earlier in his broadcast, KNX radio's Matt Millen remarked, "I've got to think the Miami coaching staff is listening to our coverage."

Best sign-on (or sign-off): Host Keith Olbermann, inaugurating ESPN's spinoff, ESPN2: "Good evening and welcome to the end of our careers."

Paranoid of the Year Award: To owner Al Davis, who reacted to a feature on departed Raiders star (and Davis enemy) Marcus Allen by confronting KCBS broadcaster Jim Hill in the locker room and growling, "You glorify this ----" and "I owe you one."

Worst fumble: CBS losing broadcast rights to the NFC conference games to Fox.

Best suggested name for Fox's new show: "NFL, 90210."

Actually, this is the negative review of the year: Author Chad on the triumvirate of Monday Night Football broadcasters: "Saddling (Al) Michaels with two jock analysts (Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf) is like telling Michelangelo you're bringing in Earl Scheib and Sherwin-Williams to help him touch up the Sistine Chapel."

Geez, Chad, "Don't have a cow!" --as Fox Broadcasting's TV's new teen-age football broadcaster would say.

"Super Bowl XXVIII" airs Sunday at 3 p.m. on NBC.

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