The Buffalo Bills failed on two counts Sunday. They couldn’t hold a halftime lead and they couldn’t reduce the verbiage by NBC analyst Bob Trumpy.
Midway through the first half, Trumpy complained the Bills were running their hurry-up offense so quickly that “it’s difficult to get a comment in here.”
In front of televisions across the country, viewers no doubt were yelling, “Faster Bills, faster.”
Trumpy, despite a shaky start, didn’t have a bad day. At least not as bad as Thurman Thomas. He made some good points.
It’s just that he talked too much.
Maybe he suffers from that dreaded Dan Dierdorf disease. Or maybe he thinks he gets paid by the word.
Trumpy is hardly alone when it comes to over analyzing. Word economy seems to be a lost art in broadcasting.
Besides Pat Summerall, there aren’t many who practice it any more.
The first time Trumpy appeared on camera--during the pregame show--he no doubt made viewers say “ouch!”
After drawing lines all over the screen while trying to explain the Bills’ two-deep zone, he said: “If they have to go a man-to-man against the lead draw with Emmitt Smith, it’s Dr. Kevorkian for Buffalo.”
The standard “it’s lights out” cliche would have sufficed.
Trumpy appeared nervous at the start of the game telecast. Maybe all the talk about John Madden coming to NBC had an effect.
Said Trumpy: “Last year Jimmy Johnson said he thought he had a royal flush. He’s got a small straight this week .” He probably meant year, but that’s a ticky-tack.
However, he was unclear if the small-straight comment was Trumpy’s opinion or Johnson’s. Later, he made it sound as if it was Johnson’s.
Trumpy then said, “I think Dallas, ah, Buffalo has a chance to win this game.”
Trumpy did settle down later, but not enough.
Dick Enberg was his usual sharp self. No major gaffes, although he did seem to go out of his way to mention his hometown.
Noting that Emmitt Smith might win the Rozelle Trophy as the game’s most valuable player, Enberg said: “For the first time, former commissioner Pete Rozelle is not in attendance at a Super Bowl. He and his wife Carrie are watching on television back at their home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.”
What’s become of Bob Costas? Isn’t he supposed to be NBC’s main man?
He sure didn’t appear to be on Sunday.
He was reduced to doing a taped interview with Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones during the pregame show and baby-sitting Mike Ditka and Joe Gibbs after the game.
Meanwhile, Jim Lampley was host of the two-hour pregame show and got to interview all the main principals after the game as well as monitor a call from President Clinton.
Costas didn’t even get to make a pregame prediction, as did just about everyone else on NBC’s staff.
Oh well, at least Costas will be NBC’s prime-time host of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The piece Costas did with the Johnson and Jones indicated they were semi-lovey-dovey.
After it ran, Ditka came up with the line of the day: “If I didn’t know better I’d say one of them is lying, but since I know better I know both of them are lying.”
The postgame question that begged to be asked of Buffalo Coach Marv Levy was: “What happened to Thurman Thomas, was he injured or was he pulled from the game?”
It was mentioned during the game that Thomas had leg cramps, but the question still needed to be asked. O.J. Simpson didn’t ask it.
However, Simpson did two nice pregame pieces--one with the Cowboys’ Leon Lett, who at first was so nervous about doing the interview he wouldn’t answer his hotel-room door, and another with the Bills’ Bruce Smith, who talked about his concern for his father, who is suffering from emphysema, has a pacemaker and has lost most of his eyesight.
Best pregame piece was the one on the New York Jets’ victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Second best was the one on the Minnesota Vikings, 0-4 in Super Bowls.
Ahmad Rashad, the former Viking wide receiver who did the piece, made the point of the day: “If the Bills fall behind, it’s over. They’ll be saying to themselves, ‘Here we go again.’ ”
The biggest snafu of the day didn’t belong to NBC. It belonged to ABC, which didn’t schedule enough time between the Senior Skins golf and its regional college basketball telecasts.
A sudden death is fairly common in skins play, and Sunday was no exception. So ABC didn’t join the UCLA-California game until 11:28 remained in the first half.
Making things doubly bad, it left the golf after the first sudden-death hole even though the final skin wasn’t decided until the fourth.
Arnold Palmer dropped out on that first hole, thus clinching the overall money title for Raymond Floyd, and ABC used that as an excuse to cut away.
But missing the start of Sunday’s UCLA game wasn’t as bad as what Prime Ticket did on Thursday night. First of all, the Bruins’ game against Stanford was delayed. Then Prime Ticket didn’t begin showing it until after 11 p.m., more than half an hour later than the listed starting time.
But the worst thing was giving the score without warning viewers who didn’t want to know it. Prime Ticket should have known better.