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ESPN feels favored in having Brett Favre in Monday night game

The Vikings entertain the Green Bay Packers on 'Monday Night Football.'


Brett Favre!

Is playing!

Against Green Bay!

On "Monday Night Football"!

You've heard!

Too much hype?!


The Favre-led Minnesota Vikings host the Green Bay Packers on Monday. As you've certainly heard, Favre is the future Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the Packers, who might have still wanted to play for the Packers but retired, came back, played for the Jets, retired, couldn't play for the Packers, un-retired and now plays for the Vikings, the Packers' NFC North rivals.

Not being prone to understatement, ESPN's "Monday Night Football" senior coordinating producer Jay Rothman said, "Obviously we're super excited this one fell into our laps. And with the buzz of what he just came off of, what he just did, it's not just the ESPN hype machine."

Well, maybe only a little. Favre did throw a 32-yard touchdown pass deep into the corner of the end zone with two seconds left last Sunday so that the Vikings could beat San Francisco, 27-24.

So "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden is enthused about the game. "I've never seen anything quite like this," he said. "Everybody loves Brett Favre."

And don't suggest to Mike Tirico that ESPN will overdo its buildup to the game or that the average sports fan has grown tired of hearing about Favre.

"People got tired of the soap opera, but they're not tired of watching him play football," Tirico said. "They might have gotten tired of the song and dance, will he or won't he sign, I understand they were fatigued of that. Tired of the soap opera? Yes. Of the football player? Absolutely not."

So Rothman is predicting a ratings bonanza, maybe, he says, "the most-watched game ever for us."

And if you're not enchanted with Brett Favre, there's always "Dancing With the Stars." Michael Irvin is still in it.

Dodgers on the brink

Who would have expected this a month ago? Or even a week ago? This Dodgers-Colorado series matters. It really matters. Fox Prime is fine with that.

The Friday and Saturday games are at 7 p.m. Sunday's is at 1 p.m. One win and the Dodgers clinch the NL West. If the Rockies win all three, they would win the division and the Dodgers would suddenly be the wild card. The Dodgers also are trying to hang on to the best National League record and keep home-field advantage in the playoffs. Vin Scully's even-tempered tones seem comforting as the tension builds. Charley Steiner and Rick Monday sound as if they're enjoying the uncertainty on KABC-AM (790). Even if you all aren't.

NHL (radio) rookie

Until a couple of months ago, Dan Wood covered hockey by writing about the Ducks for the Orange County Register.

On Saturday night, when the Ducks open the season at the Honda Center against San Jose, Wood will be talking instead.

Though he had no broadcast experience, Wood was hired to be the Ducks' radio color analyst based on the knowledge of hockey he had acquired by writing on the sport. Wood replaces former NHL player Brent Severyn on KLAA-AM (830).

"I'm just trying to be as knowledgeable as I can be," Wood said. "As far as actually doing the broadcasting, I'm learning on the fly. I know I have an awful lot to learn and I will have for a long, long time."

Wood, who will join veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Carroll, said he expects criticism. "When one announcer leaves and another takes over, it's never easy for the listener," Wood said. "Fans here liked Brent. He was very good at what he did."

Severyn took a job with the Dallas Stars to do television work.

Meanwhile, (not) on Versus

The NHL season began Thursday night with a Versus television doubleheader that wasn't seen by DirecTV subscribers. Earlier this week DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer had said his company offered to put the NHL games on while negotiations continued with Versus.

According to a Versus source who was not authorized to speak for publication, Versus never received such an offer. On Thursday, about 30 minutes before the Washington-Boston game began on Versus, Mercer said the offer was formally made and declined. The contract stalemate continues and no games were on DirecTV.

Good on Friday

At 9:30 a.m. on ESPN2 and Galavision, there's a chance to check out American soccer stars of the future when the U.S. plays South Korea in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.

Good on Saturday

The MLB Network picks up coverage of Detroit's drive to clinch the division title with the Tigers' 4 p.m. game against the White Sox. The best of the national college football offerings is probably Louisiana State at Georgia on Channel 2 at 12:30 p.m. USC at California is on Channel 7 at 5 p.m. with the underappreciated Ron Franklin plus Ed Cunningham doing the game. UCLA-Stanford is on Channel 7 at 12:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. the Kings in their season opener host the Phoenix Coyotes on FS West in high definition.

Good on Sunday

ESPN2 will have Game 3 of the WNBA finals between Phoenix and Indiana at 1 p.m. Phoenix's 120-116 Game 1 overtime victory (honestly, an amazingly entertaining game) drew ratings 59% higher than they were a year ago. Hey, wait, no Mark Sanchez this week? Only if you're in San Diego and can pull in Channel 8 at 1 p.m. as Sanchez's New York Jets visit New Orleans. Baltimore at New England on Channel 2 and Giants at Kansas on Channel 11 at 10 a.m.; Dallas at Denver on Channel 11 at 1:15 p.m.; San Diego at Pittsburgh, 5:15 p.m. on Channel 4 for Los Angeles market viewing.


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