Sunday's third team also is putting together intricate game plan

Phil Jackman

January 22, 1992|By Phil Jackman

First things first. The kickoff is slated for 6:18 p.m. Halftime is scheduled to last 25 minutes, running time.

OK, now to the incidentals, or conversations with members of the third team at Sunday's Super Bowl, CBS.

John Madden, analyst: "I think two weeks' preparation time is necessary. First, the players need the rest, but there's so much more to do than usual. You don't even know if you're going until you win the conference title, then there's all that administrative stuff: tickets, rooms, travel, getting everyone settled. It takes an extra week. Look at the conference semis. Every team that won had the week before off. That tells you something."

Sandy Grossman, director: "We're down to 16 cameras this time around. For Super Bowl X, we had 23. But cutbacks have nothing to do with it. Extra cameras don't mean you get more; they just add to the confusion."

Pat Summerall, play-by-play: "John and I both stand up when we're doing a game. There's a simple reason for it. We can see better. Last time I sat down at a football game was last year when I went to see my old high school play, and I got in a fight."

Bob Stenner, producer: "The fact that Buffalo runs a no-huddle offense is good in that it will cut down on replays. We don't want to get in the way of the game by showing too many and taking time away from John and Pat, who are best when they're talking football."

Madden: "There are [artificial] turf teams and there are grass teams. When I was coaching at Oakland, we drafted grass players because that's what we played on. We stayed away from turf players. The great Pittsburgh teams, the Super Bowl winners, they had a turf line. Those guys wouldn't have been as good on grass.

"Now Washington, it's a grass team, but it does a lot of practicing on turf. The difference is a grass player can stick his foot in the ground and get a hold. Playing into the grass makes the game slower. The other guy plays on top of the turf."

Stenner: "I think the indoor blimps we'll be using are going to be terrific. They won't be moving around distracting people but will remain directly over the goal line, where we will get the definitive shots if there's any questions about a guy scoring."

Summerall: "Right from the time they put us together as a team, I felt comfortable working with [Madden]. I know football and it's sure as heck he does, so I thought whatever I'd miss, he'd hit. Then if he hit something, maybe I could hit it, too."

Madden: "To be honest, I didn't have any idea what I was doing when I first started broadcasting. I'd answer guys talking to my earpiece over the air. I'd be talking during commercials. Guys would come on and say, 'Hey, that's pretty good; now say it when we're on the air.' Pat knows the game and he's so smooth he takes the rough edges off."

Summerall: "I'll give you an example of John back in the early days. We had been together two years when I said one day, 'I'm behind on filling out my expense accounts.' John looked at me and said, 'Expense account for what?' Four years John worked before he learned about [submitting] expense accounts."

Grossman (referring to NBC's problems losing power during the Orange Bowl): "We've contacted the Japanese and they'll have a camera we can tap into.

"I think super slo-mo has been the best innovation added the last few years. Innovations and gimmicks are two different things. Gimmicks have a way of taking away from the game. Innovations add to it.

"For instance, we've come a long way in the audio department. But it's always bothered me how the CIA can listen to a guy talking two miles away with its equipment and we can't pick up what a football player is saying 50 feet away. I think we'll be seeing more mikes on officials and players sooner or later."

Shaker: "We'll have a 2 1/2 -hour pre-game package, the longest to date. What we're going to do is cover from the outside in. Pat O'Brien will go ice fishing and Lesley Visser will cover that intimate little party the NFL throws for 20,000 people. As it gets closer and closer to the game, we'll move to the outside of the stadium with Greg Gumbel and Terry Bradshaw, then move inside and pick up Pat and John.

"Eric Mann, the pre-game producer, wanted the show to be five hours, but we cut that in half. Uh, that's a joke."

Stenner: "We don't prepare for a one-sided game, but we'll be prepared if that's what happens. Often times, that's when John and Pat are at their best, because no one prepares for a game as thoroughly as they do."

Madden: "I'd say we get to use about 10 percent of the stuff we're prepared to go with for most games. But I don't think we'll have to worry about that Sunday.

"You know, every year, we write and talk so much about this game we tend to be a little bit disappointed no matter what happens. Hey, there's been some good games."

In fact, the only change the game's premier commentator might make if he was in charge would be to play the Super Bowl on the best team's home field. "After all, that's what they play all year for, to play it as it lays, as they say in golf. It was only a week ago they played in Washington and Buffalo and, now, what, it's too cold up on the frozen tundra. What is tundra anyway?"

Grossman: "One plus of playing this in a cold-weather city not noted for its partying is maybe a few of us show up a little more clear-headed the day of the game."

Summerall: "I have no prediction for the game. The last guy who made predictions around here isn't around anymore."

What did happen to Jimmy the Greek?

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