The Seacrest Bowl (cont.)
Posted: Friday February 1, 2008 3:19PM; Updated: Friday February 1, 2008 7:02PM
Fox will also bring back one of its terrific features from Super Bowls past -- a reading of the Declaration of Independence, featuring current and former NFL players, and military personnel stationed around the world. The feature also includes a reading by Marie Tillman, the widow of Pat Tillman. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will perform at halftime.
In addressing the entertainment aspect of the pregame show, Scott Ackerson, the show's coordinating producer, said the four-hour block will be football-based but not entirely about football. "I think in years past, and if you look at the CBS show last year -- and this isn't anything for or against CBS -- it was pretty much a straight four-hour football show," he says.
"Everything [CBS did] was about breaking down the offense, defense, special teams, all that stuff. I think with this type of game I think you have to make it broader. Will it work? I don't know. We'll find out Monday morning when the ratings come out. And whether it works or does not work, it won't matter because I'll be in the car driving back from Phoenix to L.A. and won't have my cell phone on."
The Xs and Os fall to the usual cast: Pregame co-hosts Terry Bradshaw (he is working his eighth Super Bowl) and Curt Menefee (first) and analysts Long (fifth) and Jimmy Johnson (third). All will appear from a set on the field. Chris Meyers has been assigned all things Patriots. Pam Oliver is embedded with the Giants. NFL Insider Jay Glazer, comedian Frank Caliendo, and Jillian Reynolds will also get airtime. Traffic cop Menefee will be charged with throwing to Seacrest when the celebrities enter the stadium, which should begin around 2:30 p.m.
Among the pregame features that look promising: Bradshaw's interview with Archie Manning; a roundtable hosted by Glazer with Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, Broncos safety John Lynch, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman and Cowboys tight end Jason Witten; a sit-down between fishing buddies Johnson and Patriots coach Bill Belichick; Oliver interviewing Giants coach Tom Coughlin and a Bradshaw one-on-one with New England quarterback Tom Brady.
The game is scheduled to kickoff at 6:17 p.m. ET. (Westwood One Radio's broadcast will be distributed across the country on more than 600 terrestrial radio stations; SIRIUS will have 12 live broadcasts featuring game calls in eight languages.) Fox will have 28 cameras and 18 digital replay machines in Glendale, as well as the familiar broadcasting team of Joe Buck and Aikman.
"I think if they [the Pats] win this week you can make the argument that they are the greatest team of all time," says Aikman, one of approximately 400 Fox staffers in Arizona this week.
Buck and Aikman are the first broadcast team to call the same team (the Giants) four times in one postseason. They have far less experience with the Patriots. The last New England game they broadcast was Nov. 26, 2006, when the Pats beat the Bears. (Aikman did do the Patriots-Redskins game with Kenny Albert on Oct. 28 while Buck was busy with baseball.)
Fox will even have its own Manning in the booth: Associate game director Derek Manning, who puts together the opening teases, hails from, of all places, Framingham, Mass.
While the Super Bowl is can't miss programming -- the broadcast could be called by Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino and still draw monster ratings -- this year's broadcast is unique in storyline. With a perfect season on the line for the Pats as well as a telegenic, model-smooching quarterback with a Q-rating as high as most actors, Super Bowl XLII has a chance to set audience records.
In terms of total average audience, the all-time best for a Super Bowl came in 1996, when the Cowboys beat the Steelers in front of 94.1 million viewers. "If the game is competitive, I think it will be one of the most watched television shows ever," says Fox Sports president Ed Goren.
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