Pigskin turns bad in summer heat

Phil Jackman

July 26, 1991|By Phil Jackman

The TV repairman:

Season's greetings, sports fans, the start of the mini-series you've been breathlessly awaiting these many months is at hand: WTL football.

WTL stands for the Waste of Time League, of course, and the first official confrontation goes tomorrow with Denver and Detroit meeting in the Hall of Fame debacle in Canton, Ohio (ABC, 12:30 p.m.).

Ah, can you wait for Frank Gifford to wax, "[So-and-so] has had a good camp so far and they really like him." Tears will well in the eyes of Giff when he thinks back over the careers of inductees Earl Campbell, Bob Griese, John Hannah, Stan Jones and Tex Schramm.

And it's been so peaceful around here without the grating voice ot Dan Dierdorf, too.

NBC, which amazingly had no sports scheduled for tomorrow, gets in gear Sunday (1 p.m.) with the Bills-Eagles scrimmage from London. A feature of this game will be Todd ("Mr. Wonderful") Christensen dropping those meaty tidbits from the sidelines on us.

Actually, a visiting martian might conclude it was mid-November, not the midst of a monster heat wave, considering all the grid fare: Besides a Redskins-Jets pick-up game tomorrow (4 p.m.) on Channel 5, Ch. 11 will be aboard for the Big 33 Maryland vs. Pennsylvania high school all-star bash (7 p.m.) and, Monday at 11:30 p.m., Home Team Sports is picking up a Canadian Football League contest involving Toronto (alias Rocket Ismail).

* The area is losing a good sportscaster with word that Kevin Kiley is leaving Ch. 7. He's got so much work with Turner Broadcasting, the Washington gig was becoming a drag.

* ABC is bemoaning the fact Greg LeMond is apparently no longer a factor in the Tour de France, but viewers have been staying away from the once-popular event in droves anyway. Coverage of the race's conclusion begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.

* Home Box Office hopes to spruce up its Pernell Whitaker-Poli Diaz lightweight title bout tomorrow (9 p.m.) with George Foreman ringside analyzing and Evander Holyfield lined up for an interview. Fact is, these guys aren't going to pop off no matter what. Maybe the Michael Moorer-Alex Stewart co-feature will get it.

* While CBS is doing the Hartford Open -- 4 p.m. tomorrow, 4:30 Sunday -- ABC has the U.S. Senior Open (Jack Nicklaus & friends) -- both days at 3:30 after ESPN covered the first two rounds. See the old folks easily win the ratings battle.

* If ABC bigwig Bob Iger is correct in suggesting one of the networks could end up folding its tent, which would you mourn the loss of least, sports-wise?

* At the very least, the Federal Communications Commission should suspend the license of anyone running tape of the Dick Vitale-Jim Boeheim one-on-one showdown for a week.

* NBC gives untested Bill Parcells a ton of money to be part of a low-rated pre-game pro football panel Sundays and attempts to get lively, interesting Cris Collinsworth for a song. Serves 'em right the star-to-be ran a fly pattern.

* Along the same lines, classy Mel Proctor will reportedly be pulling down just $1,500 per game in the important role of play-by-play man for the net while dull ex-players and coaches are pulling down 20 times that much as stumbling analysts. No wonder TV sports is in hock.

* The el floppo "Stadium Show" preceding the NFL game on TNT has been hacked in half to 30 minutes, which constitutes a baby-step in the right direction.

* If TVKO is successful with a boxing card featuring Riddick Bowe taking on Bruce Seldon (in lieu of injured Tommy Morrison and Ray Mercer) Aug. 9, it will prove fight fans will watch just about anything.

* Just eight days until Brent Musburger invades your living room for about 20 hours as ABC covers the Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba.

* You can get a videotape ($20) of the "1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs" by calling 1-800-634-4900 . . . Darrell Green wins the "NFL Fastest Man" contest on NBC "SportsWorld" Sunday (4 p.m.). Hope this scoop doesn't ruin your weekend viewing.

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