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Sound bites

Some observations from the Bucs-Eagles broadcast Sunday:

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 21, 2002

Some observations from the Bucs-Eagles broadcast Sunday:

Bucs viewers got two-thirds of Fox's No. 1 team, with Dick Stockton subbing for No. 1 play-by-play man Joe Buck, and also got about 66 percent of the fun the top team usually produces.

Stockton, Cris Collinsworth and Troy Aikman didn't seem to click Sunday. With Buck, the rapport this season has been funny and irreverent. With Stockton, there seemed to be little interaction. And even when Aikman and Collinsworth tried to work some humor in, it flopped (see: rally monkey discussion ... ugh!)

In all, a solid but unspectacular performance, but enough to make you hope for a quick conclusion to the World Series.

* * *

CLASS CLOWN: Collinsworth is one of the most honest analysts in the game. While others might sugarcoat player mistakes, Collinsworth is quick with the "he blew that one." It makes for some more entertaining takes.

He said the Bucs were pass blocking "like a high school team."

On a rare Bucs gain thanks to a penalty, he thought it was ironic that "the only big play for the Bucs comes from the Eagles hitting them too hard."

When Brad Johnson missed Keyshawn Johnson on a potential touchdown pass, Collins-worth called it "a horrible throw" and pointed out that the quarterback did the same thing last week when Keyshawn Johnson was open.

And when Keyshawn Johnson failed to draw a penalty thanks to lack of aggressiveness, Collins-worth jumped on him: "That was an opportunity for Keyshawn. All he had to do was jump into Al Harris (who broke up a pass) and he would have gotten pass interference called. He cost his team a first down."

BROADCASTING 101? Is the first thing they teach broadcasters to say on plays where the defensive back is burned is, "He thought he had help deep?"

Collinsworth blamed safety Dexter Jackson for Todd Pinkston's 42-yard touchdown catch, saying "he blew that one."

Looked more like Brian Kelly did, especially since a receiver was breaking down the middle of the field. Perhaps Collinsworth should have given some credit to the Eagles' play calling.

FOLLOW UP: Aikman, considered one of the brightest young analysts in broadcasting, had a few shining moments.

On Brad Johnson: "He's only been sacked nine times, but he probably gets hit more than any other quarterback in the league."

And when Warren Sapp was poked in the eye, Aikman reminded viewers that if Eagle lineman John Welbourn were the guilty party, it was he who accused Sapp of doing the same last year.

We'll never know if it was Welbourn because Fox failed to show a replay.

THE REPLACEMENT: Stockton still has one of those distinguishable, comforting voices, but he stumbles at times.

Coming back from a commercial showing a shot of Broad Street, he pointed out that the Bucs "have a not-so-broad lead."

Would that mean the Bucs lost by a broad margin?

With halftime stats on the screen, he said "the numbers are not going to be high but certainly the intensity is high."

He also called a shovel pass to Mike Alstott a shuffle pass and said Harris needed to get one foot in bounds -- the rule is two -- on an interception.

FUNNY STUFF: The announcing team was drooling over the Bucs defense early, shorting an Eagles defense that might have been playing better.

"They don't need an offense," Aikman said about the Bucs.

Good thing, because they don't have one.

When Stockton said he thought the Bucs defense was totally befuddling Philadelphia, Collinsworth chimed in: "I don't know if they're confused, they're just whooped. This isn't the first team beaten up by the Tampa Bay defense."

It's also not the first team to run all over the Bucs late in the game when the team really needs a stop.

The announcing crew was so focused on the greatness of the Bucs defense, it ignored the ineptness of the Bucs offense, which ultimately was the reason Philadelphia won.

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