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Oops! They Fumbled Again

It was another season of goofs and missteps by the game's broadcasters and analysts. Here are some gems.

January 26, 2003|Steve Harvey | Times Staff Writer

It's time for Super Bowl 37, better known by the Roman numeral XXXVII, and as part of TV Times' pregame show (much shorter than ABC's, I promise you), here's a replay of some of the broadcast booboos and curiosities of the past football season:

Oh, don't get so technical: Broadcaster Joe Carter of Chicago's WGN-TV asked former quarterback Jim McMahon: "Do you stay in touch with [former NFL Commissioner] Pete Rozelle?" Replied McMahon: "That would be hard to do, considering he's been dead for several years."

You can't get much more official than that: When Fox sideline reporter Pam Oliver announced that an injured San Francisco 49ers player "officially is listed as doubtful," broadcaster Joe Buck commented: "I'll say. He has no pads or jersey on."

Worst reporting: ESPN analyst Bill Parcells was scooped by CBS over his own signing as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Parcells had refused to confirm his intentions in an interview with his own station.

But what if he lands on a cheerleader?: USA Today columnist Rudy Martzke heard ABC's Terry Bowden say, "If Virginia Tech is to get to the championship game, then they are going to have to throw the quarterback more."

Mike Wallace is investigating: CBS' Boomer Esiason inadvertently referred to Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid as Andy Rooney.

He claimed Andy Reid actually said it: Rooney, the curmudgeonly "60 Minutes" commentator, caused a controversy when he told one interviewer: "The only thing that bugs me about television's coverage is those ... women they have down on the sidelines who don't know what ... they're talking about."

Why the experts get the big bucks: CBS analyst Randy Cross said: "A playoff game on the road in January at [Green Bay's] Lambeau Field is a deadlock cinch loss for the visitors." Whereupon the visiting Atlanta Falcons routed Green Bay at Lambeau Field to eliminate the Packers from the playoffs.

Another cloudy crystal ball: ESPN's Lee Corso predicted before the season that Louisiana State University would reach the national championship game. The school went on to lose five games and finish 31st in the Associated Press rankings.

Weirdest scoop: CBS' Deion Sanders revealed his wish to return to the playing field by telling viewers: "I just learned from our NFL insider, Jay Glazer, that I may come back." The Orlando Sentinel's Scott Andera wondered if Sanders "knows what's going on in his own life."

He got the point: Theatrical "Sports Center" host Stuart Scott persuaded ESPN to allow him to do a piece on trying out for an NFL team, only for Scott to be injured when a pass hit him in the eye. The segment never ran.

Andy Rooney canceled his subscription: CBS sideline reporter Jill Arrington, who drew some criticism for wearing a revealing tank top on the field two years ago, posed while scantily clad in FHM magazine.

Low Drama Award: "Can you actually feel the momentum changing down there?" ABC's Tim Brant asked sideline reporter Lynn Swann during the Orlando-San Jose Arena Football League playoff game.

FHM magazine missed this one: When St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz declined a one-on-one interview, Fox's Terry Bradshaw attempted to ridicule the coach with this sexist insult: "She doesn't want to talk."

Lamest plug: On a "Plays of the Week" segment, ESPN's Chris Berman included a clip of actor Tim Allen running with a football against some elves in a scene from the unfunny "Santa Clause 2." The movie was, of course, made by Walt Disney, parent of ESPN.

Best recovery: When a kickoff returner seemed headed for a touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl, only to be tackled, ABC's Keith Jackson described it this way, "He's coming back all the way! All the way to the 39 yard line."

Super Bowl XXXVII airs Sunday at 3 p.m. on ABC.

Cover photograph of the New England Patriots at last year's Super Bowl by Ezra Shaw, Getty Images. Inset of John Madden, left, and Al Michaels by Ida Mae Astute.

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