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Fox pregame show waste of our time

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
Published February 7, 2005

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One of the great traditions of television viewing, the Super Bowl pregame show, is dead.

After years of sitting around the television for hours bathing in hype, the stories and the commercials, I can officially say: What a waste of time.

For years, the pregame show and commercials saved the broadcast. But that was when the games were blowouts, the commercials edgy and the pregame stories interesting.

Sunday, the game had to save the broadcast.

Despite an interesting feature on defensive backs' measurable role in past Super Bowls, Fox had little football to offer, but plenty of this:

Randy Jackson is a buffoon. Called out just to pimp American Idol , he said of singer Kelly Clarkson "She's dope, she's the bomb" before sending her off the stage with a "I'm proud of you, yo."

Have you ever heard so many people yell "Beautiful!" and "Good one!" and "That's got a chance" on golf shots into the water? Fox's coverage of a hole-in-competition was dreadful.

Dale Jarrett was presented his winning check by NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip . By coincidence, Fox will televise the Daytona 500 in two weeks.

"Imagine that," broadcaster Tim McCarver said.

Yes ... imagine that.

Jillian Barberie introduced John Fogerty , calling him "the best performer out there today."

No, seriously. She did.

WTVT-Ch.13 ran a commercial showing a guy charging their cameras 1,285 times. Tune in tonight to find out why this guy was so mad.

Fogerty, Charlie Daniels , Paul McCartney , Earth, Wind & Fire ... welcome to the 1979 Super Bowl!

As for the commercials:

Overall, they weren't as funny as in past years, but not nearly the disaster many feared. I laughed a few times, loudest during an NFL Network commercial when Bucs coach Jon Gruden stopped singing Tomorrow to yell "knock it off" at two of his sons sword fighting in the background. Gruden can't sing a lick, but his comedic delivery was perfect. And Joe Montana excitedly saying, "That's a good jam" when the band started playing Tomorrow was just as good.

Also laughed at MC Hammer twice getting tossed over the fence in the Lay's commercial.

Especially liked the dot-coms thumbing their nose at the puritanical approach to commercials this year, wardrobe malfunction be damned. The commercial with the woman testifying before a congressional committee and the monkey making a copy of his behind on the copy machine for the commercials should be setting off an e-mail campaign by the Parents Television Council right ... about ... now!

And lastly, let's give it up for Saturday Night Fever . Came out in 1977, but two songs from the movie were featured in commercials: Stayin' Alive in a Diet Pepsi ad and Disco Inferno in a Tabasco ad, as well as two other commercials featuring John Travolta .

And on to the game:

As play-by-play man Joe Buck ran down the halftime stats, he couldn't resist telling viewers that Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell had zero catches, causing analyst Troy Aikman to cackle in the background.

Mitchell caused a ruckus last week when he said he "had something" for Patriots safety Rodney Harrison . This was Buck's way of letting us know Mitchell had, well, nothing.

Final score: Harrison 2 catches, Mitchell 1.

Calling on his experience as a Super Bowl quarterback, Aikman told viewers that a new ball is rotated in on every play and the slickness of those balls was probably contributing to some bad passes from Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb .

Surrounding Paul McCartney 's stage with screaming 17-year-olds who probably weren't alive the last time he had a hit did not convince me he was picked because the kids really dig him. He was picked because Pat Boone wasn't available. Nice try though.

Overall though, not a bad performance.

Buck, Aikman and analyst Cris Collinsworth didn't have much to work with in the first half, but got better as the game went on.

All three properly expressed amazement that Philadelphia was huddling late in the game trailing by 10, though Aikman stumbled a few minutes later, identifying Greg Lewis (he said it was Mitchell) even after Buck correctly called the play and mentioned how New England coach Bill Belichick said he had feared Lewis more than Mitchell.

On third down with 1:29 left, Collinsworth said if Philadelphia could hold New England, it would get the ball back with 45 seconds left. Good guess: it was 46.

Collinsworth summed up the final four minutes best as the Eagles' last gasp fell short: "Once again, this two-minute offense for the Eagles looks like a disaster."

[Last modified February 7, 2005, 01:45:08]

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