Sunday Highlights: CBS Makes Use Of Andrew Catalon's Background
CBS' Andrew Catalon "knows the Bills as well or better" than any of the net's play-by-play announcers because he called the team's preseason games, and that knowledge "became apparent early" during yesterday's Dolphins-Bills game, according to Alan Pergament of the BUFFALO NEWS. Catalon near the start of the game noted the Bills activated RB Senorise Perry instead of T.J. Yeldon because of his "special teams work." He "illustrated that he did his homework" throughout the broadcast, and Catalon also "gets extra points for having a decent excitement level on big plays and excelling in the play-by-play man's duty of drawing out opinions from analyst James Lofton when there was a critical coaching decision." Lofton had "some good moments" in the analyst seat, though he often "tries to be clever but sometimes needs a translator to understand what he is talking about" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/21).
LEARNING HIS WAY: In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe notes Rob Gronkowski returned to "Fox NFL Sunday" yesterday in his new role as a studio analyst, this time to "offer his shaky assessment of the five best tight ends playing in the NFL." There was "one notable omission from Gronkowski's list" -- Eagles TE Zach Ertz. Gronkowski showed he has a "long way to go before he becomes a polished studio analyst," as Terry Bradshaw at one point "had to instruct him to address the camera" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/21).
STILL AS GOOD AS EVER: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel noted NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya has "been on your television for so long that by now you take her presence for granted, and despite her security she fights insecurity like anyone." Tafoya: "Aging on TV is really tough, especially for women. Thank God I have a great stylist. It's not easy. If people think this is easy, they are incorrect. ... Every week I am sent clips of what I have done during games, and whenever I hit play, every single time my stomach gets in a knot. It's not just insecure about the way you look, it's every aspect of it." Engel wrote Tafoya is the "gold standard for TV sports sideline reporters." There are "many good ones; she is the best" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/19).
SPEAKING HIS MIND: In Boston, Chad Finn noted the outcome of last week's Lions-Packers "MNF" game was "marred by not one but two phantom hands-to-the-face calls," and analyst Booger McFarland "did not hesitate to spit the truth" on the broadcast. He "did so on multiple occasions as it played out and then when the debacle was over." After the second penalty on Lions DE Trey Flowers, McFarland said, "That is a terrible call." His "bluntness served viewers well, especially with ESPN's rules analyst, former official John Parry, seeming more interest in finding something to justify the terrible officiating than pointing out how egregious the calls were." McFarland said, "It may rub people the wrong way, but I try to be honest. I try to look at something and give my honest opinion." McFarland said that he "recognizes that officiating is a sensitive issue in the league office, but that he can't allow that to make him hesitant to share his thoughts" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/20).