Signing Off: CBS' Dierdorf Ready To Hang Up The Mic Following Colts-Patriots
CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf's "run of either playing in or broadcasting the NFL ends after nearly 4 1/2 decades" Saturday night, according to Dan Caesar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Dierdorf, who is retiring from the CBS booth following Colts-Patriots, said, "It’s been a little more traumatic than I thought it would be. I didn’t realize how many people wanted to talk to me and how much time it would take." Caesar notes Dierdorf is "still sharp on the air at 64, but it’s a case of matter over mind," as travel now "takes a heavy toll on his body." CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell both will be in attendance, and McManus "hopes a deal can be reached for Dierdorf to contribute" to CBS Sports Radio. Something Dierdorf has "no interest in, though, is a farewell tribute after the game Saturday." Dierdorf: “I can’t keep them from doing something, but this is a playoff game." But Caesar notes viewers should "expect coverage of Dierdorf’s departure in the pregame show." Broadcast partner Greg Gumbel also is "hopeful of getting something fitting in after the game." Dierdorf said, "I'm retiring, I'm not expiring. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do. I'll probably do some kind of radio, I'll do something" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/10). Dierdorf: “I’m a little melancholy. It’s a little hard to believe that this is my last game." In Boston, Chad Finn writes the "perception of Dierdorf is not unlike that of another accomplished broadcaster who recently retired, Tim McCarver." Once "perceived rightfully as great, it was with increased exposure to [his] flaws -- and yes, some slippage with age -- that he began to grate." That "leads to their strengths being overlooked" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes Dierdorf, like "virtually all high-profile announcers, has his share of critics, but there is no denying his impact on his craft" (Albany TIMES UNION, 1/10).
ALLIE WAY: In California, Michael Lev notes CBS' Allie LaForce will "serve as the sideline reporter" during the Colts-Patriots telecast, "by far the most high-profile assignment of her broadcasting career." CBS Sports President David Berson said, "She is very comfortable on air. She's extremely genuine. That is Allie. Every assignment that she has been given, she has exceeded expectations. We believe she deserves this opportunity." LaForce "worked as a sideline reporter during the NCAA Tournament," and she "served in the same capacity for the Sun Bowl, where she also was the halftime host." LaForce said, "In the back of your mind, you're always hoping for an assignment like that. But I can't say I was expecting it." As a former Miss Teen USA, LaForce is "asked whether critics ever question her credentials -- and doesn't shy away from the subject." LaForce: "It's hard to avoid if you're involved in social media in any way. ... If you do your job and do it well, that's all you can ask of yourself" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/10).
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: On Long Island, Neil Best notes Fox' Kevin Burkhardt will "conclude his rookie season" by calling Saturday's Saints-Seahawks game. Burkhardt said, "I obviously was ecstatic, and a little bit incredulous ... All I wanted to do was just have a good year. That was winning the lottery, man, that phone call." Burkhardt was "expected to be in the middle of Fox's play-by-play depth chart in his first year, but his announcing team, including analyst John Lynch and reporter Erin Andrews, did well enough to be given several prominent assignments, culminating in this one." Fox "tries to reward a deserving team" with a postseason assignment in the divisional-round game not being called by lead team Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. The net has "expressed interest in expanding" Burkhardt's role "to include baseball and basketball, but he is under contract to SNY through the coming Mets season, so any additional work for Fox would have to be agreed upon by SNY" (NEWSDAY, 1/10).