Posted: Monday January 9, 2006 9:57AM; Updated: Monday January 9, 2006 9:22PM
Jillian Barberie got Sunday's NFL coverage off to an interesting start.
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1. On FOX's pregame show, Jillian Barberie plugs the network's new show: Skating with Celebrities, of which she is a part. For some strange reason I'm tempted to get the entire cast list from FOX's Web site. Wow. Check out this roster: You've got Barberie, Bruce Jenner, coming off a stint on legendary reality show, I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here!, Todd Bridges, Kristy Swanson, Dave Coulier, Deborah, "Don't call me Debbie" Gibson. Wow, Just wow.
2. Steve Smith whips out the snow angels celebration dance. He can do way better than that. I mean, this is the same guy who this season diapered a baby as his post-TD look-at-me act. Later Smith gallops like he's riding a horse. That one isn't much better. Snow angel gets a C, Horse gallop gets a C+.
3. If the NFL doesn't change the rule about a playing not being reviewable because someone was down by contact, they need to watch the film of the Giants-Panthers game. In the first five minutes of the third quarter we had two CLEAR fumbles. Each was missed by officials and then couldn't be reviewed. How is this possible? How hasn't this been changed already? This should be rule No. 1 that the competition committee deals with this offseason.
4. Not only is Smith a great WR, he also speaks the truth. During his postgame interview with Chris Myers, Smith offers his feelings on the beginning of the game, saying, "The first half was pretty much boring."
5. Tiki Barber is a great RB, but he doesn't speak the truth. During his postgame chat, he tells Pam Oliver, "There's no reason to hang our heads even though we didn't play well today." Memo to Tiki: If you get shut out at home in a playoff game, you should hang your head.
6. Eli Manning might not want to tune into New York's all-sports station, WFAN, for a long time. He's taken heat the past few weeks and Monday will be an all-out frenzy on the airwaves.
7. Bengals-Steelers game coverage begins with Jim Nantz talking about how Chad Johnson went into the parking lot before the game to meet and greet fans. While that's a great gesture, I don't understand why the media gets on every player who showboats and puts the spotlight on themselves, but Johnson gets a free pass. Broadcasters almost openly root for Johnson to score so they can see what celebration he has up his sleeve. Yet, when anyone else pulls post-TD antics, they get ripped. Nantz is rooting so hard for Johnson, he says it's Chad who catches Carson Palmer's 66-yard pass on the second play of the game. It was Chris Henry.
8. Great job by CBS covering Palmer's knee injury. We get a sideline shot of a distraught T.J. Housmanzadeh, a replay of Kimo von Oelhoffen upset with himself for causing the injury, a report from Bonnie Bernstein that reminded viewers that Palmer hurt that same knee in Week 13 last season and a shot of an equipment guy transferring the right audio components from Palmer's helmet to Jon Kitna's.
9. Unless you root for the Steelers, how can you not feel bad for Bengals fans? The team hadn't been in the playoffs since 1990, they suffered through numerous embarrassing seasons, they have a winnable home game and their QB gets hurt on the team's second offensive play. That's rough.
10. I also feel bad for all those people who bet the Bengals +3. It's rough to lose a bet less than five minutes into the game.
11. Late first half, CBS comes out of a commercial and shows us the Bengals cheerleaders. Unfortunately, a huge graphic for UPS and then AT&T covers the screen. Those graphics are then quickly followed of one of Greg Gumbel, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason. What's the point of showing cheerleaders if they're gonna be covered up -- on the screen that is.
12. There's a nice shot of Jerome Bettis' parents celebrating in the stands after the Bus scored in the third quarter. I'd much rather, however, see Brady Quinn's sister.
13. The Steelers pull off a great flea-flicker for the weekend's best looking touchdown, narrowly beating out the great effort by Watson.
14. The Pats are off to Denver while the Steelers will visit the Colts. You'd have to think that anyone who isn't a Broncos or Steelers fan is pulling for New England and Indy to come through and give us what will be a fascinating -- and probably the most-hyped ever -- AFC Championship game.