Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday 12/27 A.M. Quickie:
NFL Net, Motor Mania, End-of-07 Awards

Today's Names to Know: NFL Network, Motor City Mania, Curtis Painter, Dan LeFevour, Holiday Bowl, Eddie Sutton, Mark Prior, Monta Ellis, Kevin Durant, 2008 CFB Predictions, Top 40 Sports Names of the Year and More!

NFL Network to broadcast Pats 16th win on CBS *and* NBC (in addition to the NFL Network). The NFL turns this from what could have been a debacle into a HUGE win, giving the league an unprecedented platform for its biggest regular season game in decades. (Except they're still using Bryant Gumbel, right? Oh, the national humiliation!)

Most-watched regular-season game ever? Not only should this be the highest-rated Saturday football game in history (not a high bar), but it could be the most watched regular-season game (network, cable, whatever) in decades. This is the closest thing that the NFL will get to a regular-season Super Bowl; it's the perfect storm: It's history, it's the one team that is a proven ratings monster AND it's a Saturday night of a holiday weekend.

One big question: Can NBC and CBS run their own pre-game or halftime or post-game or in-game shows? Because, if so, I would load up their pre-game shows and also go to hyper-quick cut-ins before and after commercial breaks to give their on-air talent the chance to impact the broadcast. Forego the ad revenue for the chance to add value to the game and build the brand.

It's going to be fascinating to see if more fans tune in to NBC or CBS to watch the game: Which network will truly be able to lay claim as America's national football network?

(Another question: Why didn't ESPN or Fox get their chance to simulcast the game, too? I get Fox: It's an NFC network; but is ESPN limited to only MNF games? If so, how did NBC get the Saturday game when they are a Sunday network? Is the theory that NBC would have claimed the Pats-Giants game as a "flex" game? Like CBS wouldn't have protected it?)

Motor City Bowl: Hope you picked the "over." 99 combined points tied the second-highest point total ever for a bowl game that ended in regulation, and Purdue edged Central Michigan 51-48 on a last-second field goal. Early in the 3rd, this thing was a Purdue rout.

QBs were the stars: Curtis Painter set a Purdue passing record with 546 yards. Meanwhile, CMU's Dan LeFevour had 292 yards passing (4 TDs) and 114 yards rushing (2 TDs). For the record, he finished the season with 27 passing and 19 rushing; undoubtedly, he will join Tim Tebow in the "20/20 Club" next season.

Tonight's Bowl Mania: Pac Life Holiday Bowl! Arizona State vs. Texas. ASU was a late-season unbeaten, but a team that few (if any) ever thought would REALLY go unbeaten all the way. Texas lost to Kansas State (again) and Oklahoma, in back-to-back weeks, then lost their season finale to rival Texas A&M. All in all, a pretty crappy year.

Player to Watch: John Chiles, Texas' backup QB. The true freshman electrified UT fans with his ability to run the ball, a nice complement to Colt McCoy's single-threat passing skills. Here's hoping Mack Brown flashes a couple of Chiles packages to give UT fans some hope that a McCoy-Chiles two-QB system next year can help the Longhorns survive what sizes up as a brutally top-heavy Big 12 next season to make a run at a national title.

CBB: Eddie Sutton is coming out of retirement to take over at San Francisco? At the risk of an incredibly tasteless joke, what the hell is USF AD Debra Gore-Mann been drinking that she thinks that's a good idea?

Sutton is at 798 career wins and apparently wants to use this team to see himself reach 800; it is unclear whether he cares at all about the kids or program. He never even visited the school before accepting the job.

I appreciate that the school and the players will get more attention now from Sutton than before (none), and I presume the USF president and AD are just as complicit in this mockery.

NBA Last Night: The Bulls still stink, even without Scott Skiles. Doesn't help that their first game of the Post-Skiles Era was against the defending champs; the Spurs beat the Bulls by 15.

NBA Stud of the Night: Monta Ellis, who had a career-high 35 points leading the Warriors to a win over the T'wolves.

MLB Hot Stove: Mark Prior signs with Padres for 1 year/$1 million. Is that what you'd call a "hometown discount?" Or just a "pity discount?" If they're doing it to attract fans, can they expense it against their marketing budget?

Sports Law: MSG settled with that ex-Rangers cheerleader who sued for sexual discrimination. If only they were as smart about the last one. (Actually, if only they were smart enough to avoid the sexual discrimination in the first place.)

CFB Superlatives: In my latest Deadspin CFB guest-post, I bust out the extra-shallow season-ending superlatives, including 5 quality predictions for 2008. Let me recap my top predictions for next season.

Biggest Game of the Year: Ohio State-USC
National Championship Game: USC-Florida
Heisman Winner: Percy Harvin
Big Headline: "Plus One" approved (gack)
Coaching Move: Notre Dame fires Weis

Baseless, unaccountable predictions are one of my favorite parts of the end of the year.

Yahoo Sports' Top 40 Names of 2007: For the second year in a row, Jamie Mottram included me in his panel of sports bloggers determining the Top 40 sports names of 2007. (What he didn't tell me was that it would be the lead story on the front page of yesterday.)

It's a really fun list, headlined by Michael Vick, but scattered with both memorable names and pithy commentary from those on the voting panel (I was shut out ). Here's a link: Definitely today's must-read.

Sports Blogs: Draft Kevin Durant actually interviews Kevin Durant. I suppose this would be like me interviewing Tim Tebow. (You readers who are following my added-bonus Twitter feed would know I was actually in Tim Tebow's hometown of St. Augustine over the weekend. No, I was not stalking him – although I did hope for a sighting. No luck.) Question: If you could talk in person with one athlete, who would it be?

-- D.S.


WuzUpG said...

I don't know about anybody else in this country, but CBS provides me (SF Bay Area) the best 5.1 surround, so I'll be tuning into CBS.

I think hiring Eddie Sutton is a great marketing ploy for a CBB program that was canceled due to the Quinton Dailey scandal.

It will give USF a chance to get a plug that Bill Cartwright, KC Jones, and Bill Russell played here.

Unknown said...

lol, so are you the only "panelist" that does not get credit for that Top 40 Yahoo! story? Or were you just lying about your involvement ;)

Scott said...

"I get Fox: It's an NFC network;"

I don't think the "It's an NFC network" reason is valid. This a home game for the NY Giants, an NFC team. The Pats played a home game on Fox against the Redskins about 2 months ago.

marcomarco said...

It took me two full days to get through to Comcast to cancel the NFL network, no point in keeping it.

I'm certain that I wasn't alone.

Luke Bell said...

The rights go to Fox for NFC games, or NFC vs. AFC teams at the AFC stadium. Same for CBS, except they get the NFC home games vs. AFC opponents. That is why Fox is shut out.

From Yahoo: "Because the matchup at East Rutherford, N.J., is an away game for the AFC, it would have gone on CBS if it had been broadcast on a Sunday afternoon. NBC, for its part, would have had broadcast rights if the matchup had been a Sunday primetime game. So the NFL opted to make the Saturday primetime game available to both."

Scott said...

luke, thanks for that info. I had no idea the away team brings it own network. Sorta like college teams bringing their own officials, I guess.

Boomhauertjs said...

LeBron James, to plead with him to stay in Cleveland until the Cavs win a championship.

bird said...

Dan, I hope you're right on your CFB predictions for 2008--specifically the Heisman winner and the participants in the national championship game! :-)

C.West said...

My opinion is that I am disappointed in the NFL for caving. They should have stuck to ehir guns and left the game on the NFL network. I am all in favor of exclusive rights. The NFL has done it for a half century so why should it change now. This is how they got this monster television deal to begin with.

Unknown said...

As far as NBC having the game goes, they would have been able to flex it since Week 17 games can't be protected

Unknown said...

If I could talk to one athlete... I want to sit down and talk shooting with David Feherty. Or Tiger Woods.

Both are avid sport shooters, sadly their media people don't like that getting out.