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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Putting Miller in 'MNF' Booth a Laughable Idea

September 08, 2000|MARK HEISLER

There's a question of how appropriate it was for ABC to hire a comedian, Dennis Miller, also known as Heaven's Gift to Morning Briefing, to impersonate a football color man.

The more relevant question is, just how funny is he without his late-night, cable-TV, take-no-prisoners shtick?

Consider these lines from Monday's telecast:

"It's not surprising the ball might be slippery for a guy named [Brian] Griese. . . .

"Everybody is worried about me using profanity and the only F-word I might use is [Marshall] Faulk. . . .

"You can't teach quick. . . ."

Writes Dana Pennett O'Neil of the Philadelphia Daily News: "It's not so much that Miller is bad [though he is]. His biggest offense is he's unnecessary, the third wheel on a football bicycle. . . .

"I couldn't help but think of a pal who once observed amid the whole 'Friends' frenzy: 'My friends are funnier.' "

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Trivia time: Who is the only man to be named coach of the year with three NBA teams?

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Made for each other: Talk about realizing one's destiny, how about Andre Rison, juking through the minefield of his career to sign with the Raiders?

When he arrived in Oakland two weeks ago, he faced legal problems in four states, alleged to have: written $158,000 in bad checks to a Missouri jewelry store; given police a fake name after a bar fight in Wisconsin; owed $34,000 in child support for a son in California and accused of stealing $1,000 in equipment from a Kansas music store.

"I'm a beautiful father and I've got a beautiful life," Rison said. "I'm not saying I'm a saint. I'm not saying I'm perfect. And I'm not saying I'm wrong. But I am a Raider."

Congratulations.

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Huh? Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wants to know why it's so great that Tiger Woods dominates golf but bad for the game that Pete Sampras dominates tennis.

Sampras is nice. Sampras isn't controversial. Sampras hasn't won a French Open but lots of everything else.

". . . Remember that [Rod] Laver, even with the years he lost in the '60s after he turned pro, always played the U.S. championship, Wimbledon, the Australian Open on grass," writes Lupica. "Sampras is the greatest grass-court player in history. Imagine what his record would be like if the Open and the Australian were still on grass.

" 'He'd be at 20 [grand slam victories] by now,' " former Davis Cup captain Tom Gorman said. . . "

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Trivia answer: Pat Riley, with the Lakers, New York Knicks and the Miami Heat.

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And finally: If towns like Provo, Utah, which always top those "livability" surveys, are so great, why do so few people live there?

Some entity named Scarborough Sports Marketing just ranked NFL fan enthusiasm, based on 85,000 interviews focusing on "fan avidity; multimedia measures including sports viewing and listening; corporate sponsorship information, including fans' shopping; and product/service usage and leisure activities."

Milwaukee was No. 1. Jacksonville, Fla., No. 2 and Sacramento No. 7.

Chicago was No. 41. Los Angeles 56, New York 57.

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