IF TELEVISION had to cover pro football games the way it has to cover wars, what you see might go something like this:
Anchorman: The heavily favored San Francisco 49ers have begun to show their superiority early in the championship game with the New York Giants. Let's go to Candlestick Park for an update.
Reporter: Yes, Dan, the 49ers took the opening kickoff and drove straight down the field, racking up one first down after another.
Anchorman: Bill, can you tell us some of the highlights?
Reporter: Joe Montana completed five passes in that drive. Here is a videotape of one of them.
Anchorman: Boy, that was a beauty. Can we see that again? Wow, look at that! Now, Bill, you say he completed five passes. How many did he attempt?
Reporter: I'm not sure, Dan. The 49ers' public affairs office has only released film of those five so far.
Anchorman: Do you think you could get that for us?
Reporter: Stand by. Here comes our pool reporter now. He has been on the sidelines. He saw it all. Oh, Tom, could you describe that opening drive for us, play by play?
Pool Reporter: Let me read this. This is my story as approved by the 49ers' front office. "Led by Joe Montana's pinpoint passing, the 49ers dominated play here today. The Giants' pass defense was no match for the attack. At the end of the first quarter, 49er coaches said it was obvious their game plan would lead to victory."
Anchorman: You say the first quarter is over? What's the score?
Reporter: We can't go into that at this time. Wait a minute, this just in from the 49ers' front office. It says the 49ers' defensive unit, and I'll quote this, "has smothered the Giants' running and passing game."
Anchorman: How do you account for that? Is John there?
Analyst: Yeah. Let me diagram it for you on this stop-action footage. The linebacker shifts with the man in motion, see, and then the guard cuts across here, and pow!
Anchorman: That's very dramatic film. Did that play take place early or late in the quarter?
Analyst: That was file film from the 1989 game, but it gives you an idea of what's . . . --
Color Reporter: Excuse me, John! This is Frank on the field, Dan! We just got the green light to go to live coverage! Tony Bennett is getting ready to lead off the half-time festivities!
Anchorman: The first half is over? What's the score?
Reporter: I have the 49er head coach here. Sir, what's the score?
Head Coach: We're right where we want to be.
Reporter: Back to live action.
Tony Bennett: . . . high on a hill, above the bay . . .
Anchorman: Bulletin! Men, CNN reports the score is tied at the half. Could that be so?
Analyst: No way, Dan. I used to be a coach, myself. I've studied these teams. The matchups are totally in the 49ers' favor.