Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Pro Football | SOUND AND VISION

Watching Pro Football Every Sunday Is Really a Snap

November 27, 2001|Mike Penner

Best places to watch professional football in Southern California through the years:

1946-1979: A 50-yard-line seat at the Coliseum. Waterfield to Hirsch, Van Brocklin to Fears, Gabriel to Snow, Hadl to Jackson and, finally, one time only, Ferragamo to the Super Bowl.

1980-1989: Just above the third-base dugout at Anaheim Stadium. The skin of the infield wasn't much to look at, but most years the home team was pretty good. And, unlike the postgame ritual at Raider games, you didn't need mace, a billy club and a black belt in karate to safely return to your car.

1990-1994: Back to the Coliseum. The Rams started stinking so badly, pepper spray at Raider games was the preferred fragrance of the day.

Late 1990s: The neighborhood sports bar. Watch fans in St. Louis and Oakland celebrate Super Bowl and divisional championships on any one of 72 color television monitors amid noise levels usually reserved for the tarmac at LAX. Lean into a tray of nacho cheese while straining to hear the buddy seated next to you tell you, "That (inaudible) Al Davis, (inaudible) him and the (inaudible) (inaudible again) he rode in on."

Today: On the edge of your living room sofa, remote control in hand, listening to John Facenda and the greatest hits from "NFL Films," waiting for a RedZone Alert on "Sunday Snap."

If this is the alternative to NFL relocation/extortion, please inform the NFL: Los Angeles can wait. Carolina has had its own NFL team since 1995, but where would you rather have been Sunday:

Sitting above the unfrozen tundra at Ericsson Stadium, where the Panthers lost their 10th in a row because Chris Weinke couldn't gain one inch on fourth down in the fourth quarter?

Or in the comfort of your own home with access to a dozen NFL games--and the power to cut away from the Carolina-Atlanta game just before Weinke plunged haplessly into the pile?

For the satellite dish-deprived, "Sunday Snap" is the staging area for DirecTV's weekly NFL gorge-a-thon--and the greatest standing obstacle to an NFL comeback in the Los Angeles market.

As "NFL Sunday Ticket" subscribers know, this is where it all begins, and ends, with countless stops in between for game updates, statistics, box scores, inspirational music and words of motivation before you head off to tackle the unknown because you just spotted a red goalpost graphic next to "SAN DIEGO."

That would be a RedZone Alert, meaning the Chargers have the ball inside the Arizona 20, meaning that you probably want to switch over to the Charger-Cardinal game on Channel 712 because Doug Flutie's up to something, and the way he has been going lately, you know what that could mean:

*

FIELD GOAL, SAN DIEGO!

Only this time, no, Flutie connects on his 11th consecutive pass of the drive, a six-yarder to Curtis Conway, for a touchdown, and there you are, a witness to NFL history.

Toggle back to "Sunday Snap," where the scores continue to stream in, with box scores from completed games scrolling down the right side of your screen, followed by lists of the day's top rushers/passers/receivers/fantasy league point producers, with bits of breaking news crawling across the bottom of the screen.

*

KORDELL STEWART THREW TWO TOUCHDOWNS AND RAN FOR ANOTHER IN A 34-24 VICTORY OVER THE TITANS ...

THE FALCONS WON A TIGHT NFC WEST GAME OVER THE PANTHERS 10-7 BEHIND BOB CHRISTIAN'S 4 YD TOUCHDOWN RUN ...

And, really, sitting here or in Ericsson Stadium, what more do you need to know?

It's all text, save for the red goalposts and the tiny footballs indicating which teams have possession at any given moment. So to liven up the place, "Sunday Snap" pipes in appropriate background noises. Washington has just won at Philadelphia, so "Hail To The Redskins" gets a run-through. Minnesota is preparing to lose to Chicago, so the Viking fight song is queued up.

In between, the television speakers swell with the sounds of football players colliding and grunting, bones smashing, teeth gnashing and Hank Stram chiming in from a long-ago Super Bowl sideline, "Come on, Lenny! Pump it in there, baby! Just keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys!"

RedZone Alert! Jacksonville with the ball! Go to Channel 715!

There, in the nick of time, Mark Brunell hands to Stacey Mack, gaping hole in the Baltimore line, straight up the middle, five yards, touchdown, Mack dunks the ball over the crossbar.

Back to "Sunday Snap." RedZone Alert in New England!

Quickly, now, to Channel 713 ... and ... oh, too slow, too late ... Patriot fullback Marc Edwards is on the sideline, calling for the ball after catching a two-yard scoring lob from Tom Brady.

Back to "Sunday Snap" to regroup. More stats. More scores. And the deep-barrel voice of Facenda, the late, legendary narrator of '60s and '70s NFL highlight films, reminding, once again, that in this unforgiving league, "Hopes that were high in the heat of September can wilt and die in the chill of November."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|