Most people fantasize about throwing the pass, catching the pass, intercepting the pass or knocking down the pass that wins the Super Bowl. Me, I dream about serving a dual role as producer and director of not only this grandest of all one-shot sporting spectacles on TV, but of the pre-game show, too.
First off, come 3:30 Sunday afternoon, my studio segments wouldn't originate from one of those generic Formica, potted plant and cardboard sets in an end zone of the Rose Bowl. It would take place in a self-contained unit inside the Goodyear blimp, the regulars being required to sky dive out at the conclusion of their segments.
A review of the seasons of the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys falling into the lost cause category at this juncture, I would ban any mention of the combatants until at least 6 o'clock. If segments covering a player getting cartilage removed from his knee (live) and Buffalo coach Marv Levy discussing his dissertation leading to a master's degree from Harvard didn't fill, I'd chuck on either "Father Was A Fullback" or "Trouble Along The Way," a couple of fine old gridiron flicks.
The pre-game flyover wouldn't involve jets, but rather Patriot missiles tracking Scud missiles, that nervous guy from CNN doing play-by-play from underneath a table on the 50-yard line.
At the very least, players in the starting lineups would be transported to midfield atop large circus elephants, each then being given a minute to preview the histrionics he plans in the end zone should he be so lucky as to score a touchdown.
Interviews with cliche-spewing coaches and players would be anathema, selections by so-called experts verboten. And just one guess by Will McDonough concerning a coaching job would have him on his way back to the Boston Globe on the next bus.
Within the game itself, I would go heaviest with crowd shots, particularly of people who remove their shirts or make funny faces and raise their index finger to the sky. Every time out would be accompanied by an update report of how things are going in that bar in Orchard Park, N.Y., crammed with Buffalo fans.
Shots of coaches Levy and Jimmy Johnson listening to classical music or suggestions from their assistants in the press box would be restricted to a hundred apiece, same as the number of shots accorded the cheerleading squads of the teams. No favoring the Dallas contingent, no siree.
Of prime importance would be replays, tons of them, including those in triple super slo-mo, reverse angle and from the blimp. A particular target would be controversial plays, the idea being to totally embarrass and discredit the officiating crew, so that instant replay returns to the NFL where it rightly belongs.
The game itself comes on at 6 p.m., the kickoff is scheduled for 6:18, and I would direct game analyst Bob Trumpy not to utter a word until at least 7:45. For, as you probably know, a little of "Trump" goes a long way.
The executive producer of NBC Sports is Terry O'Neil. He is at liberty to borrow any or all of these ideas sans remuneration.
* If a four-hour football game on the wings of a 2 1/2 -hour pre-game show isn't enough for you, ESPN has extended its "GameDay" show to 90 minutes at noon Sunday, and there's an hour-long preview show running at 5, 6, 7 and 11:30 p.m. tomorrow and 10 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Sort of reminds you of New Year's Day with only one game, doesn't it?
* As usual, NFL Films has done a glorious job with its annual "Road to the Super Bowl" effort, not only covering the essence of the 1992 season and playoffs, but landing a score of terrific sound bites from wired coaches and players. Producer Steve Sabol says cameramen and editors plowed through 600 miles of film to come up with this hour-long special. Channel 2 shows it at noon tomorrow, Channel 4 at 3 p.m.
* Joe Hansard is a guy who took the expression "if looks could kill" and put it to good use. The former Baltimorean, Randallstown High, class of '70, and Broadcasting Institute of Maryland grad working as a sports producer for Channel 7 in Washington, dabbles in acting.
As an Actor's Guild member, Joe's picture and bio appears in its directory where famed movie producer Barry Levinson saw it. Levinson, casting for his "Homicide" TV series, which debuts after the Super Bowl Sunday (NBC, 10 p.m.), liked the looks of Hansard.
"He auditioned me himself," Joe says proudly. His character is Jimmy Lee Shields, a gent who is not above murder. Hansard enjoyed the work so much, he took his mug shot used on the
show and made a Christmas card out of it.
* Tim Brant was doing the Maryland-Clemson game for Jefferson-Pilot the other night when the Terps scored the last six points of the first half to hit intermission with a 34-32 lead. Subsequently, Clemson moved away and won by 10 points, 82-72, Brant saying afterward: "I'm surprised. Maryland, I thought, had the game in control at halftime." Oh well.
The Terps are on tomorrow, taking on Duke at 1:30 (Channels 2 and 7) and Evers Burns is saying he and his mates are "going to have to play harder." . . . Also tomorrow, Georgetown gets the CBS treatment (2:30 p.m.), taking on Boston College, and
Carolina picks on Wake Forest at 4 on Channels 2 and 7.
* The Showtime boxing card at 10 p.m. tomorrow has a potential dog in the feature matchup, Michael Nunn (38-1) taking on Victor Cordoba (18-4), but the co could be a screamer: Edwin Rosario (38-5) vs. Frankie Randall (45-2).
Rosario and Randall punch big and go for the quick KO, while, as fight analyst Ferdie Pacheco puts it, "Nunn is a superior athlete, but not a fighter the public demands to see unless they're interested in ballet."
Dynamite boxing show on ESPN last Sunday. After Bruce Seldon bloodied up a big Moscovite in short order, they threw on the Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton brawl from 1976, the one where Ali had to belt a home run in the 15th round to pull out an extremely questionable 8-7 (rounds) decision.
* Both ABC and CBS have college hoops double-headers Sunday, first going against the Celtics vs. Lakers on NBC (12:30), then the Peacock's pre-game Super Bowl schlock. The best of the matchups is Michigan-Iowa at 2:15 (CBS) and Georgia Tech-Florida State at 4 (ABC). Oh no, does that mean Dick Vitale?
* Randy Cross' weekly contribution to the good-line department concerns his never having been named to the All-Madden team during an illustrious 12-year career: "I was tainted early in my career by the 'finesse' label. I never got dirty enough. You have to weigh 300 pounds and roll in the mud to get John's attention."
* Marv Albert won the play-by-play Cable Ace Award for his work on New York Knicks basketball, beating out a stellar field: Jon Miller, ESPN baseball; Jim Lampley, HBO boxing; Brad Nessler, WLAF football; and, Mike Patrick, ESPN pro football. In fact, this cast is probably better than any the networks could muster.
* Jay Leno says: "This year, there's a new pricing structure for the Super Bowl. The top tickets are going for $1,750, which includes a premium seat, special parking and a celebrity brunch. Hey, for that kind of dough, I want to be able to kick off."
* Talk about misreading a situation. Here's a news release lead for the Senior Skins Game on ABC tomorrow (2:30-5 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30-4 p.m.): "At age 63, Arnold Palmer is faced with a crossroads year in his brilliant career."
What, if he has a bad year everyone will forget he's one of the all-time greats?
Palmer's competition includes Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and Chi-Chi Rodriguez. Arnold has beaten the over-the-hill gang in two of the last three years, pocketing more than a half-mill in the process.
* The pro figure skating show at the Capital Centre last month is on Channel 4 tomorrow at 4 p.m. . . . The women's final of the Australian Open is on ESPN tonight (9) and don't you know "Little Miss Grunt," Monica Seles, is odds-on. . . . Larry King's radio talk show moves to afternoons Monday (3-6 p.m.) and has no Baltimore outlet yet. Meanwhile, WBAL will continue with Mutual's 11 p.m. show featuring Jim Bahannon.