SBD/February 3, 2014/Media

Fox Forced To Improvise Over Super Bowl Pregame Show Due To Bradshaw's Absence

Strahan (l) assumed Bradshaw's postgame duties for the trophy presentation
Fox' pregame coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII yesterday "came off as oddly muted" without the presence of analyst Terry Bradshaw, who flew to Louisiana to be with his family after his father died Thursday, according to David Hiltbrand of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Although Michael Strahan "assumed Bradshaw's official duties, Howie Long seemed determined to make up for any gaps in the coverage all by himself." Long "was markedly voluble during his airtime" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/3). SI.com's Richard Deitsch notes Bradshaw's absence "forced Fox to improvise." Strahan, "who was originally assigned to work the Super Bowl red carpet coverage, assumed Bradshaw's place on the pregame show with pregame regulars Curt Menefee, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Jay Glazer." Strahan "handled the postgame trophy presentation coverage and Chris Myers replaced Strahan for the red carpet segment" with FS1's Charissa Thompson. The net "did a great job at the top and bottom of the broadcast addressing Bradshaw's absence." Menefee near the end of the pregame show said, "We miss you, we love you and know that our hearts are with you." Deitsch: "Very touching" (SI.com, 2/3). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes Fox had "an uneven balance of entertainment and over-indulgence during its four-hour pregame spread," and had "some of the steam taken out by the absence" of Bradshaw. His departure "forced a stealth re-arrangement of duties, the one most miscast was Chris Myers as a red-carpet greeter" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/3).

WHAT HIT, WHAT MISSED: SI.com's Deitsch writes pregame show features on Pat Summerall, Vince Lombardi and Joe Namath, as well as the reading of the Declaration of Independence, "were very good." The interview FS1's Randy Moss conducted with former teammate and current Broncos WR Wes Welker "was fun, even if it was the journalistic equivalent of a segment on E!" (SI.com, 2/3). In Miami, Barry Jackson writes Fox’ red carpet interviews "again served partly as a promotional tool for stars of the network’s prime time series." The interviews "weren’t as mindless as usual" because Myers, who "was summoned at the last minute to handle some of them, came up with decent alternative questions" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/3). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews' "ha-ha pregame chat" with Seahawks CB Richard Sherman was "nauseating." She "certainly wasn’t amused two weeks ago, when his wild-eyed, self-aggrandizing spew made her bolt" (N.Y. POST, 2/3).

PRESIDENTIAL PROBLEMS? Fox continued a recent trend of including an interview with President Obama as part of its pregame show, but the L.A. DAILY NEWS' Hoffarth writes it is time to "call for a truce in any more live passive-aggressive, condescending presidential interviews." No matter "what network has it, who is sitting across from the boss, who’s trying to pretend he’s being fair and balanced." Hoffarth: "Especially this time, when it became a Fox News promo manifesting itself into an uncomfortable semi-contentious moment that’s much better suited for another time and place." For those who "flipped over to the NFL Network, you're smarter than all of us" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/3). The MIAMI HERALD's Jackson writes Fox News' Bill O'Reilly's interview was "sometimes contentious." O'Reilly, who "interrupted Obama 48 times in their pre-Super Bowl interview in 2011, interrupted him 26 times in 10 minutes" yesterday (MIAMI HERALD, 2/3). Sports media reporter Ed Sherman wrote, "Enough is enough." He wrote this "isn't about politics," as he "felt the same way about the presidential interview with George Bush" as with Obama. Sherman: "How out of place was Obama’s interview? The previous segment was a song by Phillip Phillips" (SHERMANREPORT.com, 2/2).

NFL NETWORK PRAISED: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes NFL Network during its pregame coverage "presented a blistering, raw look at the 'culture' of NFL locker rooms." Andrea Kremer "was asking the questions," and she "wasn’t throwing a Happy Fizzies Party." Her report "went the distance: from video of hazing to Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s response to her question whether a gay teammate could be accepted in an NFL locker room." This was "not the stuff you expected" the NFL Network to "serve a national audience for breakfast." There was "brutal honesty" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/3). 
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