Airwaves: Comcast hits home run with Baer interview 

Nice job this week by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on the interview with Giants honcho Larry Baer. This series, “A Conversation With ...,” has come across very well.

The first two installments featured Brian Sabean and Billy Beane. I think Baer is great, and this interview portrayed him in the perfect light. He is the Bay Area’s top sports executive, period.

- During the Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs game last weekend, I thought Rich Gannon did his usual great job explaining the game and what was happening on the field, especially in the passing game. My only complaint during the telecast was lack of an explanation by old No. 12 or broadcast partner Kevin Harlan following a muffed punt, that led to confusion on the field. If you don’t know the rule, ask a stagehand or the truck to find out what it is and then relay it to the viewers.

- I love the way Fox uses sideline guy Tony Siragusa. In essence, the “Goose” is the third member of the broadcast crew. He gives football and technical comments, not mindless, useless jibber that we get from most sideline people.

- KTVU (Ch. 2) needs to assist host Mark Ibañez and Dwight Hicks with a makeup person. Both of their faces were shiny during the “Point After” show following last week’s 49ers game. Ibañez is sensational, but Hicks had a voice issue and should have been on injured reserve for the show.

- I love that fact that “Fox NFL Sunday” gives college football updates each week. Most people who watch NFL studio shows and games are also college football fans.

- Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick are fabulous doing the highlights every Sunday evening on the NBC studio show “Football Night in America.”

- KNBR (680 AM)’s Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert have been 100 percent on target with their takes and opinions of what is wrong with the Raiders and the 49ers and the Lane Kiffin soap opera. The “Razor” pulls no punches. He is observant, obviously well-spoken and gets directly to the heart of the matter. I guess there is a reason he is the dean of all Bay Area sports-radio hosts. He joined KNBR in 1984. Great listening is the “Steve Young Show” every Wednesday at 5 p.m.

- Sports director and host Raj Mathai of KNTV (Ch. 11) and crew do a good job every Sunday night following the NBC game. It is not an easy assignment after a long day of NFL. Mathai keeps it lively, interesting and fast moving. Analyst Jerry Rice has gotten better during the last year.

Too much ado about Tony's translation

During this past week, there has been way too much said and written about ESPN “Monday Night Football” announcer Tony Kornheiser. He made a slight — and I mean very slight — off-color comment during the game that had many people in an uproar.

After listening to a Spanish version of a touchdown, he jokingly commented that “I took high school Spanish and [the Spanish announcer] said [the runner] is not going to be caught or please pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow.”

Now trust me, that was not offensive. In fact, most people listening had no reaction whatsoever. The ESPN bigwigs obviously did, thought it was offensive and made Kornheiser apologize later in the broadcast. This has taken political correctness too far.

This comment was not in bad taste. If, as a viewer, you don’t like the announcers, mute the tube and turn on the radio. Kornheiser has done a solid job for ESPN in the role he has been placed in. He is not an ex-player or coach, but a cynical, dry-humored ex-newspaperman.

He is also the co-host of ESPN’s highly successful “Pardon the Interruption” with Michael Wilbon. I have heard him be much more offensive, politically incorrect and cutting on that show. He is not of the Don Imus mold nor has he been charged with some, of the racially insensitive comments we have heard through the years.

However, Kornheiser should know better. One blog I read Tuesday had 9,000 responses within a two-hour period and half of them were ripping him. I have found when broadcasting a game, you should stay away from comments about race, religion, gender or substance abuse. Any commentary on these subjects usually offends someone.

In fact, these comments — and the reaction — have taken away from the excellent job he and fellow announcers Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski did during the broadcast. Let’s write about that instead!

I doubt very much that Kornheiser was expressing any prejudicial thoughts about Hispanic people. The reason that the call was being replayed in Spanish is that it is Hispanic Heritage Month in the NFL, which is a wonderful outreach to Hispanics throughout this country and abroad.

Who said it

TERRY BRADSHAW

“First, Vince, it was disturbing news to hear you were thinking about suicide,” the Fox NFL analyst said while delivering a message on the air to depressed Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. Bradshaw was terrific in his advice ending the statement by telling the troubled player his talent is a gift from god. Great stuff!

PAUL JOHNSON

“The guys who do the game, they’re morons. … I don’t worry about what they say,” the intense Georgia Tech football coach said after watching a TV replay of his team’s loss last week to Virginia Tech. He was referring to the ABC crew of Dave Lamont and David Norrie. Johnson, a former longtime Navy coach, might have a point here.

One to watch

COWBOYS AT PACKERS

Week 3 of Sunday Night Football (today, 5 p.m., KNTV (Ch. 11)) showcases two of the NFL’s greatest traditional teams. The Green Bay Packers, led by Cal alum Aaron Rodgers, host America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, who are coming off of a huge win Monday night versus Philly. I hope Jessica Simpson shows up for this one.

ON TARGET

“Fox NFL Sunday” comedian Frank Caliendo last week gave a very real impersonation of TV Mafia boss Tony Soprano. This might have been his best impersonation to date. In addition, Frank is not bad at picking winners. Last year, he had the most correct choices on the show and was three out of four last week.

By the numbers

30-second in-game commercial spots available for Super Bowl XLIII
10

Amount NBC is charging for a 30-second spot

$3 million

Rate charged by Fox for a 30-second spot last year

$2.7 million

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels,was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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