Some broadcast moments get crunched in guacamoleThe...


January 29, 1993|By RAY FRAGER

Some broadcast moments get crunched in guacamole

The history of sportscasting is sprinkled with memorable calls. In fact, I think I hear some of them echoing right now:

Red Barber: "Back goes Gionfriddo! Back, back, back, back, back, back! He makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen! Oh-ho, Doctor!"

Russ Hodges: "There's a long drive! It's going to be, I believe! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

Johnny Most: "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!"

Al Michaels: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

Phil Rizzuto: "And we'd like to send get-well wishes to Father Sarducci from all the sisters at Our Lady of Perpetual Bingo in Metuchen. Hey, White, do you know what inning it is?"

The point of this little exercise -- other than to jog your memory, make fun of Phil Rizzuto and start to fill my allotted weekly space -- is that it's hard to recall a memorable sportscasting moment from any Super Bowl.

The game has been called by some of the profession's biggest names -- Curt Gowdy, Dick Enberg, Pat Summerall, John Madden, Michaels -- and, each year, the nation stops to watch the NFL championship in all its Roman-numeraled glory. In fact, were someone to remake "The Day the Earth Stood Still," you wouldn't need a robot named Klaatu to halt the populace; he just could bring a Super Bowl from another planet.

Yet, for all this talent and attention heaped upon The Ultimate Game, is there a sportscasting moment that has stuck in the mind like those from Barber or Most?

It could be that the Super Bowl is still relatively young, and just hasn't had its moments yet. Another explanation is that many of the games have been one-sided, not lending themselves to dramatic readings.

"The circumstances just haven't presented themselves," said Bob Costas, NBC's pre-game show host.

But maybe we haven't been paying enough attention. The Super Bowl, unlike, say, the World Series, is a social event. We're as concerned with the guacamole as we are with the analyst's explanation that thedefense was in a double rotation zone with the strong safety keying on the way the lights reflect off the tight end's earring and the defensive end looping to the outside in order to leave two tickets at Will Call for Roger Clinton.

The result is that everyone has a guacamole memory -- there was that Nat "King" Cole song: "Guacamole, guacamole, men have named you" -- but no recollection of what the guys in the booth were saying.

It's big, it's huge

NBC's Super Bowl pre-game show starts at any moment.

No, no, that's just my wild and crazy sense of humor.

Actually, the pre-game has been running on C-SPAN II since Monday, but no one has noticed.

NBC's "Super Bowl Live" begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (channels 2, 4). The 2 1/2 -hour pre-game show will be anchored by Costas, perhaps the only man on Earth who can make the program worth sitting through.

"It's a big game that has to be covered with some degree of seriousness, but it's also a carnival," Costas said yesterday. "It should have a degree of ironic detachment. You should have a twinkle in your eye.

"It's important to bring a sense of goofiness."

Goofiness is in the eye of the beholder, but NBC is promising "an entertaining mix of football, personality, music and technology."

"We're going for a hybrid show," Terry O'Neil, NBC Sports executive producer, said this week. "We'll see if we can pull off this mixture of entertainment and football.

"I think we're saying that, in 2 1/2 hours, we have time to satisfy bothaudiences [fans and non-fans]."

"Super Bowl Live" will include a look at preparations for Michael Jackson's halftime show, an interview with national anthem singer Garth Brooks (no word on whether Brooks' hat will be interviewed separately) and live music from Glenn Frey, formerly of the Eagles (the "Hotel California" ones, not the Philadelphia variety) and Fleetwood Mac, whose members haven't caught on that one reunion for the inauguration was OK, but let's not push it.

Non-singing participants on the pre-game program include Todd Christensen, Cris Collinsworth, Mike Ditka (apparently following the traditional, let's-work-at-NBC-while-I-wait-for-another-coaching- job path), Gayle Gardner, Jim Lampley, Paul Maguire, Will McDonough and O. J. Simpson. Magic Johnson will be a "guest contributor," and promises not to have his bodyguard beat up anyone unless Maguire makes smart remarks.

At 6 p.m., play-by-play man Dick Enberg and analyst Bob Trumpy take over, and it is rumored that a game might break out at 6:18. But football will give way to show biz at halftime, when Michael Jackson will commandeer the Rose Bowl field for a mini-concert, joined by about 3,500 children, ages 5 to 17, and with the participation of the crowd in a card stunt.

You know, the whole thing sort of sounds like another Woodstock.

Elsewhere on the dial

You'll need more Super Bowl-related programming than just a 2 1/2 -hour pre-game and about four hours of game coverage.

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