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Block That Blooper

TIMES STAFF WRITER; Steve Harvey writes The Times' Bottom Ten column

With the help of several fired instant-replay judges, TV Times offers these lowlights, bizarre moments and unintentional laughs brought to you by television and radio oddcasters during the 1992 football season:

Sounds like a case for Lt. Columbo: When Texas A&M; safety Steve Kenney was injured, Phil Stone of the Raycom network said, “He goes off holding what looks to be a left leg.”

Next he’ll tell us he can’t fly through airport terminals anymore: NBC’s “NFL Live” commentator O.J. Simpson, a.k.a. “Juice,” revealed he can’t drink the stuff because it makes his arthritis act up.

Where’s a special prosecutor when you need one?: CBS questioned whether NBC’s rival “NFL Live” scoreboard show announced the one-game suspension of Miami running back Bobby Humphrey after having seen it reported on CBS’ “NFL Today” earlier that morning.

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It must be the Howard Stern influence: NBC’s Todd Christensen said of Miami Dolphins’ tight end: “Evidently Keith Jackson’s groin is not going to make it back.”

You are entering football’s Twilight Zone: Dave Rowe of the Raycom network, describing a run by Texas Christian’s Curtis Modkins: “He’s on about the 40, the 50, 51, 52-yard line!”

And he couldn’t think of a new nickname for O.J.: NBC’s Bob Costas announced he was retiring as studio anchor of “NFL Live” because he needs more challenges than “reading the scores in three minutes during halftime.”

The short version: Three of the 10 reasons that comic David Letterman cited for the diminutive Costas’ decision:

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--"Lucrative offer to be towel boy on John Madden bus.”

--"NBC won’t spring for high chair in studio.”

--"Pulled groin.”

Funny, it didn’t sound hollow: Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, asked by CBS’ Terry Bradshaw if he had suffered any ligament damage in his elbow, responded: “I hope not--knock on wood,” and tapped Bradshaw on the head.

Boys, boys: Mike Ditka offered to fight a caller to his radio show who branded the Chicago Bear coach a “baby.”

Smokey and the Pundits: Burt Reynolds said CBS’ Bradshaw was chosen to guest-star on his “Evening Shade” sitcom because the former Steeler quarterback is “fun and gregarious” whereas other sportscasters, such as NBC’s Simpson, “try to make themselves something they’re not.” As for ESPN’s Joe Theismann, Reynolds said: “I love him like a brother, but after you ask him a question he’s still talking an hour later.”

Smokey and the Pundits, Part II: Another reason why Simpson and Theismann were rejected. Reynolds’ show is on CBS.

This guy’s funny enough for “Evening Shade”: ESPN’s Mike Patrick trumpeted the first two quarters of a game between the Raiders and Chargers as “a sensational first half of football.” The Chargers led at the time, 21-3.

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Off-sides: Denver receiver Vance Johnson sued HBO for a broadcast of locker room footage that showed him fully naked.

Next time he’ll pay his bill on time: Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula, whose son David coaches the Cincinnati Bengals, was at home watching the Bengals on ESPN one Sunday night when his television screen went blank. The elder Shula listened to the rest of the game on the radio.

Bad luck charm: On Friday the 13th of November, a New Orleans radio station waved pieces of fried chicken over the grave of a voodoo priestess to bring good fortune to the Saints. The team lost to San Francisco, 21-20.

The players would have gladly thrown him across: ESPN college analyst Beano Cooke proclaimed that if the University of Pittsburgh won seven games he would swim the Monongahela River. The team finished 3-9 and Beano stayed dry.


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