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Odd Balls & Wild Calls

January 25, 1998|STEVE HARVEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Super Bowl XXXII is here. But before we let NBC's Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire and Phil Simms try to make a game of the annual rout, here's an instant replay of some lowlights, unintentional laughs and offbeat moments brought to you by oddcasters during the 1997 football season.

True, it didn't sail out of the stadium ... : On the opening play of the Cotton Bowl, CBS announcer Gus Johnson said, "There's a short kickoff--taken at the goal line."

Thanks for sharing that: Fox's Terry Bradshaw uttered one of the Green Bay Packers' jocular nicknames for quarterback Bret Favre, then told Favre that he did it to get even for "you goosing me last year."

Has he been asleep the last few years?: During the USC-Notre Dame game, NBC commentator Bob Trumpy said of USC: "There is no other football team to talk about in Los Angeles. There is UCLA, but that's a basketball school. ..." UCLA's football team finished 10-2, compared to USC's 6-5.

Illegal use of the hands: USA Today columnist Michael Hiestand noted that Enberg told viewers that New England linebacker Ted Johnson likes "romantic novels" and "gets on the field and plays out the action scenes."

Maybe you should call your tv repairman: On ESPN's "Sports Reporters" show, Bill Conlin declared, "Once again, the Denver Broncos are standing under a lamppost with a short skirt and high heels. This year, I'm going to keep on walking."

Were any of the perfoirmers wearing denver uniforms?: An X-rated movie suddenly appeared on Fox Sports West 2 instead of the second half of the Hawaii-Cal State Northridge game. A San Fernando Valley cable company had inadvertently switched from the game to the Adam & Eve adult network.

Cloudy crystal balls: The San Francisco 49ers reached the NFC finals despite the gloomy preseason analyses of some pundits. Fox's John Madden had said the 49ers were "trying to plug holes in a ship that's sinking." ESPN's Mike Lupica said the 49ers' hiring of Steve Mariucci as head coach "was almost a desperation" move. And ABC's Dan Dierdorf: "I'm not convinced Mariucci can coach in the NFL."

Translation, please: Some incomprehensible observations of Fox's Jerry Glanville, a former NFL coach who was christened the Prof. Irwin Corey of analysts by columnist Tony Kornheiser:

* "He guessed it was an in or an out--and it was a go. He squatted at 17."

* "You're gonna see stunts by the blitz. By stunts, I mean loops."

* 'You gotta be able to handle a TE, a TT and an ET."

Irish ties are straining: When Purdue took a 14-10 lead over Notre Dame, CBS analyst Lou Holtz, the former Notre Dame coach, said, "Mark my words: Notre Dame will come back and win." No, Purdue did, 28-17.

Most striking critique: Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh threw a punch at NBC analyst Jim Kelly, the former Buffalo quarterback, after Kelly said that Harbaugh was a "crybaby" who "over-dramatized his injuries." Kelly said the punch missed but Harbaugh, who broke his hand, said he connected to the head.

They lost sure-fire scoops: ESPN pointed out that NBC failed to report the Kelly-Harbaugh tussle for 8 days. NBC retaliated by pointing out that ESPN waited three days to report the arrest of ESPN anchor Gary Miller for allegedly peeing on some police officers off a balcony. Miller later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge.

Let's roll the tape!: "Panties, Marv? I just gotta ask. Panties?" said CBS' David Letterman during an appearance on his show by Marv Albert, NBC's fired football and basketball broadcaster. Albert disputed trial testimony that he liked to don women's clothing.

Illegal use of the hands (Part II): After Kathie Lee Gifford was involved in a controversy over the use of low-paid workers for her line of clothing, a tabloid published photos of her husband, ABC broadcaster Frank Gifford, embracing a former flight attendant in a hotel suite. All of which led NBC's Conan O'Brien to charge that the woman had been a "nonunion flight attendant."

Now he sees the light?: Departing his ABC sportscasting job to coach the St. Louis Rams, Dick Vermeil told Sports Illustrated: "You know I just left the television business. In that business some people who don't work very hard are stars. That's not for me. ..." Of course, this realization came after he had taken home a fat paycheck as a TV analyst for 14 years.

Terry's kids: The reaction of Arizona Cardinal quarterback Jake Plummer to the news that he made the personal all-star team of Fox's Bradshaw: "I think I'll go home and take a nap."

The real howard hughes would have bought the network: After ABC's Al Michaels said the Raiders (4-12) were "underachieving" and joked that reclusive owner Al Davis could "star in 'The Howard Hughes Story,' " the Raiders issued a bizarre press release saying Michaels "doesn't have an ounce of truthfulness or morality in his body."

Those poor, mangled NFL quarterbacks: During his pregame analysis of the 49ers-Packers playoff, Fox's Howie Long said that the NFC championship "may well rest on the shoulders of Steve Young's arm."

A breath of fresh air: Running back Emmitt Smith of the disappointing Dallas Cowboys (6-10), on why he made a deodorant commercial for television: "There were times when we stunk up the field so bad, we needed something to get rid of the odor."

Super Bowl coverage of the game between Green Bay and Denver begins at 3 p.m. Sunday on NBC.

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