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Super Bowl runneth over with coverage

ESPN offers big-game info on 18 platforms -- and it's not even the network televising the event.

February 05, 2010|By Diane Pucin

Admit it.

You had no idea ESPN has 18 platforms.

But they do and there is Super Bowl coverage on all of them.

And this isn't even the network that is actually televising the game, so ESPN has to get creative.

For example, Friday at 12:30 on the actual, original ESPN platform, Mike Tirico will host "SportsCenter." And not just any "SportsCenter," but a "SportsCenter Special: The Champions" with analysts who have won Super Bowl rings -- Tedy Bruschi, Mike Ditka, Trent Dilfer, Jon Gruden, Keyshawn Johnson, Matt Millen, Mark Schlereth and Steve Young.

By Sunday ESPN will be in full froth with 16 hours of television and radio coverage. Much of the radio coverage will be available on a live stream on your computer beginning Sunday at 3 a.m. PST with the "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show. What, you won't be up at 3 a.m.?

Besides the game, beginning at 3 p.m. with Jim Nantz on the play-by-play and Phil Simms as the analyst, CBS will have plenty of its own extra programming.

Most intriguing is a show on Saturday at 1 p.m., a co-production of CBS and NFL Films called "Full Color Football: History of the AFL." It will feature a look at the history of the AFL and will have some rarely seen footage of Joe Namath, Len Dawson, Hank Stram and Al Davis.

All the newfangled streaming, talking, multi-platform multi-tasking has already become repetitive this week. Do we need to have multiple doctors commenting on Dwight Freeney's ankle? We do if there are 18 platforms to fill.

Maybe it's old-fashioned, but there is nothing better than vintage video and a little history sometimes.

And of course there will be the commercials.

In keeping with an appreciation of all things nostalgia, here's hoping the ad for HomeAway, an online vacation-rental listing service, will make its Super Bowl debut as funny as it ought to be with Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprising their turn as the wacky Griswolds from the "National Lampoon's Vacation" movies.

An ad for the candy bar Snickers will star Betty White and Abe Vigoda (yes, he is alive). The blurb for the spot says White and Vigoda will remind people that Snickers helps with food cravings. Yum! Betty White in anything has to make you laugh, though.

And of course there's the Tim Tebow spot, the much-publicized 30-second appearance by the former Florida quarterback done for the organization Focus on the Family. Tebow and his mother, Pam, will speak about the importance of life. That's about all we know. The ad, still unseen, has been criticized roundly by such organizations as the National Organization for Women because some see it as being against a woman's right to choose.

But there is no uproar by any organizations, including NOW, about the spots featuring official "GoDaddy Girl" Danica Patrick, the race car driver who makes ads for the Web domain name company, mostly wearing minimal clothing, especially on top.

Just trying to understand. An ad using a woman to make young guys sitting in front of their computers get all drooly? That's not worth a peep.

Of course, it shouldn't be. And neither should Tebow's.

Meanwhile ...

NBC would like to remind you that it's not all about the big game, and most especially you don't need to watch a gazillion hours of pregame coverage.

At 9 a.m. Channel 4 will have an NHL game between defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh, with its charismatic young star Sidney Crosby, against the Washington Capitals, who are on a 12-game winning streak, and their own star, Alex Ovechkin. And from noon until 3 (you won't even have to miss kickoff) is NBC's coverage of the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.

The 'other' football

Here's a good kind of reality show for Spanish-speakers. ESPN Deportes is debuting "Frente al Reto" on Monday, a documentary that will follow eight Mexican soccer players as they try to make the Mexican national team that will play in this summer's World Cup.

It will run for eight Mondays and will feature Andres Guardado, Jonny Magallon, Giovanni Dos Santos, Omar Arellano, Efrain Juarez, Memo Ochoa, Jesus Corona and Gringo Torres.

The production crew followed the players in Mexico, Spain, England, Italy and the U.S. as they continued their professional careers.

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