Montana-Elway duel was 'MNF' classic

October 21, 1994|By PHIL JACKMAN

The TV Repairman:

The Bassett Hound, Dan Dierdorf, and his buddies, Al Michaels and Frank Gifford, had a sensational night calling the Broncos-Chiefs game on "Monday Night Football." Dan lost his opening monologue to technical difficulties, a plus, but proved the lead guy in discussing targets of opportunity, not always football-related. After 25 years and about 400 games, even the most ardent NFL fan doesn't insist upon knowing if the defensive team is in a double zone.

The trio discussed the length of the tail of the horse galloping around Mile High Stadium, the old TV dummy Jerry Mahoney ("I knew him when he was a kid," said elder statesman Gifford) and sundry other subjects while not overlooking a spectacular game.

After John Elway and Joe Montana had manufactured the most exciting ending in years, two length-of-the-field touchdowns in the last 90 seconds, Dierdorf had a classic closing: "Lord, you can take me now, I've seen it all."

Maybe you had to be there, which not too many figured to be, considering it was 12:42 a.m. when the game finished. As Michaels put it, "The last couple of years, there have been maybe two or three compelling games a year out of 17." Certainly a turn for the better is due.

* What does it profit a TV station if it turneth in a masterful job covering a breaking news story in sports (the Orioles naming Phil Regan manager Sunday) and no one is watching at the time? Perhaps that's why Channel 13, with his unappealing programming schedule on Sunday afternoon, didn't sweat not getting involved in the race to be firstest with the mostest against Channels 2 and 11. Interviews eight hours later don't save face.

* The featherweight title bout you'll be missing, compliments of Channel 11, tomorrow (CBS, 4:30 p.m.) is Boom Boom Johnson (38-2) taking on Pancho Segura (25-6), not the old tennis player. A great ultra-endurance race, the Leadville 100, also is included on the "Eye on Sports" show, so try to pull in Channel 9. Those who saw it are still talking about last week's Orlando Canizales-Sergio Reyes pier sixer on CBS, which many thought the champ, Canizales, lost.

It would be a step in the right direction if WBAL at least included these fights in the sports highlight package on the news later on. Channel 11's dumping of CBS sports programming doesn't bode well for the net setting up its morning show during the November sweeps (ratings).

* OK, mark off 15 yards against CNN. During a tribute to Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon who died last week, the crack news-gathering organization spelled both of Grete Waitz's names wrong. She won the NYC nine times and just about every other race but the Olympics.

* With three of the four competitors coming off either embarrassing draws or losses, it's difficult to see how the pay-per-view "High Noon (Sunday) in Hong Kong" is going to do any business tomorrow (10 p.m.): Tommy Morrison (41-2) reaches for the WBO heavyweight title held by Herbie Hide (26-0), and Herbie destroyed Michael Bentt with one punch a while back. Remember what Morrison's chin is like? The co-feature has Frank Bruno taking on Ray Mercer, and neither of these gents have impressed in a long time.

* That CBS-promoted "War on Ice" competition between the best here, Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, Paul Wylie and Nancy Kerrigan against the world's Oksana Baiul, Victor Petrenko, Kurt Browning and Katarina Witt slated for prime time Nov. 9 and 12 gives contrived events a good name, and the network is looking to get a 12/13 rating for its $2 million investment. Not having Tonya Harding in the cast is counter-productive because she'd easily be good for 20 ratings points, maybe more.

Scott Hamilton is likening the event to the Davis Cup in tennis and the Rydar Cup in golf, which may be a tad premature.

* Talk about a quandary, whom to root against Sunday at 1 p.m. when Fox (Chs. 45 and 5) send along the Redskins-at-Colts tiff? By the way, anyone interested in contributing to Bob Irsay's plans for a new $7.5 million training facility he has wrested out of taxpayers can forward their checks to P.O. Box 535000, Indianapolis, Ind. 48253. The red-faced owner will love you for it.

Don't ever accuse our I-95 neighbors to the south of being front-runners. The 1-5 'Skins did a 34 rating and a 67 share (percentage of TVs operating at the time) locally for their game against Phoenix, those numbers shooting up to 40/70 when the game headed into overtime after 4 p.m. Actually, that's sick!

* Since George Foreman will be in the ring being cuffed by heavyweight champion Michael Moorer in a fight on HBO Nov. 5, Gil Clancy will take the seat at ringside usually reserved for George and do commentary with Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant. Strangely, Foreman got this title shot off a loss to semi-competent Tommy Morrison more than 16 months ago.

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