Montana won't watch these films


September 12, 1995|By MILTON KENT

The Montana family huddled around the television set the other night in San Francisco to watch the NFL Films documentary on their husband, father and son, Joe, widely TC acclaimed as the greatest quarterback of all time.

That is, everyone except the subject of the special, which premieres tonight (TNT, 8 o'clock, with repeats through the week).

"I hate to hear my own voice, and I was watching the game," said Montana on a conference call yesterday. "I was peeking back and forth. It's tough to take. It's kind of hard to listen and watch myself."

Now Montana, the NFL's all-time top rated passer, knows how defenders felt the week before they played the San Francisco 49ers, whom he led to four Super Bowl titles and 26 fourth-quarter comebacks, including "The Catch" -- the touchdown pass to Dwight Clark that won the 1982 NFC championship game.

"We consolidated all the great years he was in the National Football League, and it made for great entertainment," said Bob Smith, a senior producer at NFL Films. "It's sad for us to see him go because the moments he provided were special."

Montana, a part-time studio analyst for NBC's pre-game show, said the fact that the documentary marks the end of his career made it hard for him to watch. But that doesn't mean he regrets his decision to retire after last season from the Kansas City Chiefs, who traded for Montana in 1993.

"It's been busier than ever. I feel like I made the right decision," said Montana. "What I miss is the guys, but I don't miss it [playing] nearly as much as the guys were telling me I would."

Game, set, match

The U.S. Open semifinals and finals did nicely fine for CBS this weekend, as the Nielsen national overnights indicate.

Saturday's women's championship and the first men's semifinal did a 5.1 rating with a 14 share, a 46 percent increase from last year's 3.5, while the second men's semifinal got a 6.8/15, a 58 percent boost from a 4.3 in 1994.

Sunday's men's final did a 6.9/14, a 33 percent increase from a 5.2 the year before, and an impressive showing against the NFL.

It's official: Albert to MSG

The Madison Square Garden network yesterday formally unveiled its newest employee, Kenny Albert, who, as previously reported, will join New York Rangers radio broadcasts.

Albert said his departure from Home Team Sports was amicable, but that he might still do some projects for the Bethesda-based channel, because HTS let him out of his contract two years early.

Of course, Albert will be working at MSG with his father, Marv, who does Ranger radio as well as the Knicks on television and NBA telecasts for NBC.

The pair will work together for the Rangers opener, with clearly delineated roles.

"I refuse to be his color man," joked Marv.

ESPN doings

The normally solid news judgment exhibited at "SportsCenter" slipped badly Sunday night, when the results of the men's singles finals at the U.S. Open weren't reported until 15 minutes into the program, tucked behind the NFL and baseball scores.

This wasn't some ordinary tournament that was glossed over, but the last Grand Slam event, pitting the top two players in the world, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. It deserved to air ahead of highlights from Week 2 of a 17-week football schedule.

By the way, the always-clever Keith Olbermann got off a great quip. While narrating the Minnesota-Detroit highlights package, Olbermann, noting that Vikings kicker Fuad Reveiz was on the verge of setting a consecutive field-goal record, and with tongue firmly planted in cheek, said, "Some idiot out there will say that Reveiz should sit out and share the record."

Clearing the record

A Channel 11 official called yesterday to say that the station's audio of the Cal Ripken post-game ceremonies Wednesday that is being used in its congratulatory promos came from NBC and CNN, not from HTS.

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