As it will for most American households, today's holiday meal at the home of ABC college football analyst Bob Griese will be a chance for the family to give thanks for all the good things that have happened since this time last year.
But the elder Griese, a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, claims to be a little less thankful for the conduct of his son Brian, a Michigan quarterback who came off the bench Saturday to lead the Wolverines to an upset road win over Ohio State.
The Michigan victory spoiled the prospect of having two unbeaten teams, the Buckeyes and Arizona State, meet in the Rose Bowl, which -- surprise, surprise -- will be seen on ABC on New Year's Day.
"When I see the kid, I'm going to kick his [butt]. He just ruined the Rose Bowl and he might have cost the network a lot of money. Why couldn't he have beaten somebody else?" said Griese, jokingly.
Actually, the situation by which Bob Griese ended up analyzing the play of his son on national television is not such a funny one. ABC officials originally wouldn't allow him to call Michigan games last season, not out of fear that he couldn't be objective, but that the situation would be awkward.
Griese had not been assigned to a Michigan game this year, but Saturday's game was too big not to have the network's No. 1 announcing team on it, and Brian Griese was not the Wolverines' starting quarterback. But when Scott Dreisbach was lifted, the two Grieses were on duty.
To his professional credit, the father played it straight, showing not a hint of bias.
"I'd like to think that I'm professional enough that I can analyze a game, even if my son is playing in it. I mean, there were times when I knew Ohio State needed an interception and that was my kid on the other side. But I can't help him from here. It really wasn't any big deal. I viewed it as a sportscaster, not as a parent."
Said Keith Jackson, Griese's booth partner: "It doesn't make a damn bit of difference who's playing out there. I thought it was kind of a silly overreaction for the network not to let Bob do it last year. Neither one of us cares who wins or loses."
That, of course, is while the battle is ongoing. Once it's over, Griese again becomes a parent, and he plans to watch the tape of Saturday's game as a proud papa, though he is a bit critical of his son's fashion sense.
"I wish the kid would have worn some long-sleeve undershirts," he said. "He's trying to show off his biceps and that's not like us. If he keeps that stuff up, we'll make a lineman out of him."
Let's face it: Besides turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, Americans love to gorge themselves on football, and there's no shortage of it on view today.
While tonight's ESPN2 Air Force-San Diego State game at 7 is the lone college competition, there's the usual pro doubleheader, starting with NBC's coverage of the Kansas ZTC City-Detroit contest at 12: 30. The Fox clash on Channel 45 pits Washington against Dallas at 4 p.m., and while the game should be entertaining, as Redskins-Cowboys tilts always are, the most fascinating aspect of the telecast should be when we find out whether John Madden has found one of those mutant turkeys with the extra drumsticks.
If, for some unexplained reason, football doesn't tickle your fancy, CBS (Channel 13) has the first part of "Ice Wars: USA vs. The World," one of those contrived ice-skating shows today at 2: 35 p.m. Look for Scott Hamilton and Oksana Baiul to hook up in a steel-cage match to the death.
Finally, ESPN has a college basketball doubleheader from the Great Alaska Shootout, starting with a game between the two schools that met in last year's championship match, Kentucky and Syracuse, at 9 p.m., followed at midnight by the Maine-Alaska (Anchorage) game.
Pub Date: 11/28/96