Madden And Michaels Make Up For Shaky Pregame Show

Monday, February 02, 2009


I mentioned yesterday afternoon, that the pregame show on NBC was all over the place, and after I wrote that, I was a bit worried that the game would continue along the same lines. Thankfully it didn't, and not only was the game itself a great one, I think it was one of the best broadcasts I've ever seen. Perhaps even the best.

The production elements were spot on, the replays were stellar and there wasn't much overkill in the network's reporting. As far as the announcing, there's a reason why people still respect and want to listen to Madden and Michaels. In recent years, I've commented that Madden had lost a step, and Michaels didn't seem to like the game anymore, but they both had a resurgence this past season. To end it on a high note in the Super Bowl like this, just adds to their legacy as broadcasters.

I enjoyed everything about the game and even thought that the normally boring halftime show was rather exciting as well. I don't even like Bruce Springsteen that much either. As far as negatives go, the only things I would point out were the terrible commercials (which isn't NBC's fault) and the number of sideline reports. Other than that I think I'll be giving out one of my first "A" grades in the site's history.

There's just something about NBC's broadcasts each Sunday that are just light years better than any other network. Al and John don't try to make themselves bigger than the moment and let the games speak for themselves. FOX and CBS' telecasts come off as boring at times, and it seems as if the announcers are talking down to you, but not with the "Peacock".

There were 11 years between Super Bowls on NBC, and the NFL needs to make sure that never happens again. Onto the grades....

GRADES:

Matt Lauer- C+ (Good questions with Obama, but he didn't seem to care when he was on-air)
Al Roker- F- (The Super Suite was a horrible idea and Roker was just not good in the role)
Bob Costas- B+ (Was at his best/non-annoying self yesterday)
Cris Collinsworth- B+ (Still the best analyst in the Sport)
Dan Patrick- B- (Entertaining and informative)
Keith Olbermann- C (Just too smarmy for my taste)
Jerome Bettis- C+ (Better than he normally is, but the Steeler homerism showed)
Tiki Barber- C (Pointless)
Peter King- D+ (Doubly pointless)
Matt Millen- B- (Good analyst again and he works well with Collinsworth and Costas)
Tony Dungy- C (Loved the connection to Tomlin, but also pointless)
Mike Holmgren- C- (Really pointless)
Rodney Harrison- D+ (Just wasn't ready for the big time. The Tyree stuff could have been interesting, but he still seems bitter about the play)
Alex Flanagan- B- (Should be NBC's full-time sideline reporter)
Andrea Kremer- C+ (I'm biased here, because I've never been a fan, but she wasn't bad)
John Madden- B+ (Hopefully he's got another year in him)
Al Michaels- A- (Best Football play-by-play man period)

Pregame Show- D
Halftime Show- B+
Game Coverage- A

19 Comments:

You must be pulling a Michael Phelps....Madden couldn't stop slobbing on the Steelers all night, especially Heath Miller.

Corbin said...
Feb 2, 2009, 12:58:00 PM  

"(Should be NBC's full-time sideline reporter)"

Seriously?
I thought she was stumbling all over her words and had the demeanor of covering a state funeral.

Mike Georger said...
Feb 2, 2009, 1:07:00 PM  

Millen was godawful, just terrible. He is somehow living on some credibility he developed ten freaking years ago, then he was able to ruin the Lions in the intervening period. He is confused and adds jackshit, give me Tim Ryan , Baldy...

Holmgren, awful. I am surprised he is a coach in the NFL, Collinsworth made him look like a total idiot.

Who was the slow-talking chick?

hollywood wags said...
Feb 2, 2009, 1:18:00 PM  

Alex Flanagan was terrible. I thought for sure that she would suffer AA's wrath today. Just a clueless and pointless inclusion into the broadcast.

GMoney said...
Feb 2, 2009, 1:24:00 PM  

Even my mom, who is the most positive person I know said Alex Flanagan's interview with Kurt Warner was dumb. What more needs to be said? Otherwise, Rodney Harrison needs to grow up. The stupid Pats had the wrath of karma come back to bite them. Cheaters never prosper, Rodney.

Brad James said...
Feb 2, 2009, 1:32:00 PM  

AA, I Ddon't know what you were somking last ngiht, but Alex Flanegann is not ready for prime time. I agree Holmgren and DUngy were boring as hell. They were a waste of time on that set. Both of them, showed as much personality as Bill Bellchick does on those post-game press conference's, and by hte way, I thought Bellichick was great yesterday with collinswworht breaking doown both teams. And without question, Al Micheals and John Maddne showed last ngiht why they are the best football broadcasters. They were spot on all night.

sportsfan25 said...
Feb 2, 2009, 1:45:00 PM  

Matt Millen had no right to be up there especially with that horrid 0-16 season...Millen SUCKS. And Madden had a great line during a steelers drive that went something like "Ben likes it better when his team is closer to the goal line"...thanks for that insightful opinion John.

Conner said...
Feb 2, 2009, 2:14:00 PM  

I disagree slightly with the pregame show. I thought that the first hour and a half or two were bad when they were jumping from the studio sets to the locker room to the team hotels to the Top Chef competition. But they settled in rather nicely afterwards, I thought. They had some really good segments and as much as I can't stand him as a coach, Bill Belichick might be pretty good in the booth someday in the future. He was a natural breaking down those defenses. But they also had some bad segments, everything with the Al Roker Super Suite was stupid, pointless, filler and I felt there was little need to have an interview period with Bob Costas and the Boss let alone a 2-part interview. I'd give them a C+. Even though it had rough spots, they had some good spots that's about as good of a 5-hour Super Bowl pre-game show as you're going to get.

I really can't comment on Springsteen because I'm not a huge fan of him, and therefore only payed half-attention during the performance.

There's one word that I have that can describe the performance of Michaels and Madden: Phenomenal. Like you, AA, I've questioned if they still had it in them (even at some points this year). And the answer was a resounding yes. The enthusiasm exhibited by both at the end was great. They were entertaining throughout the entire game, they were into the whole time, even during the boring parts in the 3rd quarter, and they made very few, if any, mistakes.

Great game. Great broadcast. Now if only we can the Super Bowl on NBC ever year.

JFein said...
Feb 2, 2009, 2:19:00 PM  

I've grown tired of Madden and Michaels the past few years, but they were good last night. They didn't overshadow the game, or stink up the joint like Joe Buck did last year. It was a great broadcast, and they had all the right angles on the replays.

Botox Alex needs to go though, she looked like an alien last night.

j-daddy said...
Feb 2, 2009, 3:13:00 PM  

AA, if you think Madden gets a B+, then give me a drink out of your glass. There were at least 3 or 4 times Madden's "insight" led the ENTIRE PARTY to look at each other and figure out what the hell he was talking about.

Trip Darvez said...
Feb 2, 2009, 3:15:00 PM  

Madden was infatuated with "big, strong hands." I lost count at the end of the game how many players he discribed as having these atributes.

walnuts said...
Feb 2, 2009, 3:34:00 PM  

Was I the only one who noticed how having an announcer who cares makes the game more exciting? Both Al & John, whether you like them or not, are always into good games and obviously, they were into the game last night. I just kept thinking how refreshing it was to hear announcers enjoy the game as opposed to Buck & Aikman last year who treated the biggest game ever played like a May baseball game.

NBC always does the really big events well, like the Olympics, the Winter Classic and I thought their inauguration coverage was the best. And they do speical events like the Kentukcy Derby well.

It's the weekly stuff (Sunday Football Night, Notre Dame football, NHL) that they suck at.

Ed James said...
Feb 2, 2009, 4:34:00 PM  

Madden/Michaels the best? Sure, if you were a Steelers fan. Could either of them have a bigger man-crush on Big Ben? Jeez. It was patently obvious who they were rooting for. After AZ scored their go ahead TD in the 4th and it was looking like they were going to win,you could just hear the dissapointment in Madden's voice. "Here's a guy that doesn't know how to be impartial".

And Michaels would just not shut up about Harrison's TD run. It broke a record. Great! we get it! It was a fantastic play. Move on.

Dave said...
Feb 2, 2009, 5:23:00 PM  

Michaels is a talker just like his crony Frank Gifford. Madden drooled over Pittsburgh just like he drooled over Dallas and the Giants. Remember that Madden was assigned mainly to DAL and NYG when he worked for CBS and Fox.

SB43 may have been Madden's last hurrah. If he invokes that 3-year opt-out clause and leaves, Michaels will quit -- and NBC can go with a clean slate in the booth. Could we see the return of Costas & Trumpy?

@Ed: NBC was pool producer for the inauguration, thus most of the video on 1/20 came from NBC.

chuckyinjersey said...
Feb 2, 2009, 5:56:00 PM  

Not sure if Flanagan reminded me of Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer on the sideline. And her interview with Whisenhunt almost ended with a long, passionate kiss.

Greg. said...
Feb 2, 2009, 6:21:00 PM  

AA, not sure what you were watching last night, as I strongly disagree with you on a few points:

1. Alex Flanagan was dreadful. Bad delivery, stupid questions ("what happened on the interception at the end of the half?"), and why the hell was she quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald at the beginning? Perhaps she was nervous, but she was definitely trying too hard.

2. I like Al Michaels. But, like so many announcers, he does not understand the rules. On Harrison's interception, Michaels kept talking about where the ball hit the ground during the replay review. The ball?? Where or when the ball hit the ground was irrelevant--he and Madden completely missed the reverse angle, which showed Harrison's elbow hit before the rest of his body (not that I think it should have been overturned, b/c you couldn't see where the ball was in relation to the goal line). Michaels had some other moments like that, too--he gets fixated on what he thinks the relevant rule is, which a lot of times is the wrong thing.

3. Production values: NBC did some really cool things last night. One thing was just simply having cameras close to the goal line, so you could see red zone plays much better. I hope other networks adopt that, too, but CBS is so cheap that will NEVER happen.

I agree with some of your other points, and generally, I like Al and John. But Al needs to learn to not speculate on rules so much (he gets them wrong quite a bit), and John is just goofy at times (which is still fun). But you're right that Al and John let the game speak for itself.

Lom Henn said...
Feb 2, 2009, 9:50:00 PM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one that hated Alex Flanagan. She talked slower than that Stevie kid on Malcolm in the Middle. Excrutiating!

B-rent said...
Feb 2, 2009, 9:58:00 PM  

and why the hell was she quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald at the beginning?

There hasn't been a reach like that involving a member of NBC's Super Bowl coverage since Millen drafted Mike Williams in 2005. NBC should napalm their sideline people a la CBS, unless they could throw some $ at Stacey Dales. NBC did a fine job with the game, though honestly, I didn't watch any pregame nonsense.

Feb 2, 2009, 10:09:00 PM  

Another thing that made the Super Bowl very well done is that Michaels and Madden did a good job explaining some of the more vague rules to the people tuning in for just the Super Bowl (the 3rd challenge after 2 successful challenges, for example). It was informative for the non-fan and non-annoying for the real fans.

Zach said...
Feb 2, 2009, 10:12:00 PM  

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