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ON MEDIA

Papa's play-by-play offers 'different dynamic' than Gumbel's big picture

July 18, 2008|By RAY FRAGER

Dishing out sports media notes while waiting for the next episode of the new summer series on Fox News, The Greta and Brett Show:

*The hiring of Bob Papa as the NFL Network's play-by-play voice - a long-anticipated move announced this week - means a switch in outlook on the games from the perspective offered by Bryant Gumbel. That's according to the man sitting behind the analyst microphone for the Thursday night package, Cris Collinsworth.

"With Bryant, I was always interested in his take on the games because Bryant has a way of seeing a very broad picture of the NFL and big picture of where the NFL fits in the world, obviously with all his news background and such," Collinsworth said, according to highlights of a conference call.

"So that was an interesting dynamic for me all the way through. But I think with Bob, he lives the minutiae the way that I do, if that makes sense. ... So I think it will be a different dynamic."

Collinsworth, an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America and Showtime's Inside the NFL studio shows, said he looks forward to working games for the chance to approach talking football differently.

"We will get into discussions of the details of what's going on in the league. And, for me, that's probably what I enjoy most about doing the games themselves. When you do studio work, you're always talking about the Brett Favre situations of the world; you're always talking about the same four or five topics that sort of are the headlines in the newspapers. But when you're doing the games, you get to talk about the left guard and the running backs coach."

*Papa, the New York Giants' radio voice, would be more than willing to talk about the running backs coach. Also from the conference call, he said: "All eyes of the NFL are on these games. To have a chance to work with Cris and be a part of this is tremendous. I mean, I've been a subscriber and a fan of NFL Network since its inception. It's always on in my house."

I'm sure he doesn't literally mean "always." After all, how many times can you watch the Making the Squad episodes about the 2006 San Diego Chargers cheerleader tryouts?

*When the news broke this week that Billy Packer was leaving television - replaced by Clark Kellogg as CBS' lead college basketball analyst - it's unlikely that many tears were shed. Packer was never going to be passed overhead in a student section at a college arena like Dick Vitale. In fact, it seemed more probable that the students would drop Packer on the floor.

Packer could be pretty cranky on the air about what he was seeing on the court, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing - nothing wrong with holding players and coaches to some kind of standards rather than just oohing and aahing about their brilliance.

However, as Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "What stood out about Packer over the last few years was inability to project joy. He had one of the most recognizable voices in NCAA tournament history but never sounded as if he was having fun."

Kellogg, on the other hand, as we've seen in his studio work, does project the excitement and fun of the sport.

*Though he has left his post as WMAR's sports anchor, Scott Garceau retains his place as Baltimore's representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection panel, at least through the process for picking the class of 2009, announced at the Super Bowl. As long as he's a working member of the media - which he still is, though not on the same full-time basis for Channel 2 - he is eligible to stay on the committee, the Hall said.

*Was it my imagination or did Tim McCarver seem uncharacteristically quiet during stretches of Tuesday's All-Star Game on Fox? Maybe he had a hint the game would go 15 innings and was saving his voice.

*During yesterday's British Open telecast on TNT, analyst Ian Baker-Finch made it sound as if he thinks Phil Mickelson psyches himself out when he comes to the event. According to highlights from TNT, Baker-Finch said: "Phil concerns me because he always seems to be worried about his trajectory when he comes over to the Open Championship. I think the players that have done well in the Open Championship go out with their own game; they just play. Phil is trying to change things, and I think that's why his Open record is so poor. I really believe that he tries too hard to change his game and prepare for this event rather than bringing his own game here."

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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