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Leading off

By TOM JONES
Published October 8, 2006


Can we have a mulligan?

A few weeks back, we chose Fox's NFL Sunday as our favorite pregame show. But we didn't anticipate how much the new format would wreck everything.

First, the show left the studio and is on location each week so host Joe Buck can do the play-by-play of the game. Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson haven't changed their clever and humorous banter, but being outside among the cheering fans has changed the impact of their comments. The whole scene has become too chaotic.

Then Buck leaves with 10 or 15 minutes left in the show so he can get up to the press box to call the game and is replaced by Curt Menefee. Suddenly, it seems as if you're watching an entirely different show, adding more chaos. Menefee then stays through the halftime and postgame shows.

And now the show has to struggle through a few more weeks of disarray while Buck takes a leave to call the baseball playoffs.

It's a mess.

Fox should have either named Buck the host only, without play-by-play duties, or named another host. Either way, the show should have stayed in the studio.

CHECK IT OUT

Street & Smith's annual basketball yearbook hits newsstands Tuesday and Gator fans will be happy to know the defending national champion is ranked No. 1 by the self-proclaimed "America's Sports Bible."

The Gators are followed by Kansas, North Carolina, Pitt and Duke.

THIS WEEK'S SIGN THE WORLD HAS GONE CRAZY

The preliminary list for the 2007 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame went out to voters last week. Included in the names? Elvis Grbac.

SPORTSRANT

It drives me crazy when ...

I have to endure ABC Sports' Brent Musburger's continuous blabber, endless talk and total disregard for action of the field.

John D. Harris

Dayton, Ohio

The Devil Rays are in such a hurry to re-sign the entire staff that led the team to 101 losses. Were they afraid that these geniuses would be stolen by other teams? Other teams seem to have accountability for mediocre, nonplayoff teams through firings. Tampa Bay?

Jim Cook

St. Pete Beach

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OTHER VOICES

"I think in the overview it is clear that Terrell Owens - and we have said this before - is not just a controversial or colorful character, he has some internal demons, he has some personal history that predates his arrival in the NFL that's traumatic. He has some emotional problems. That doesn't mean that the police report in this case is correct. That doesn't mean that he overdosed on painkillers or that he attempted suicide. But there is reason to be concerned about Terrell Owens the person."

- Bob Costas, HBO's Inside the NFL