Fox’s Super Bowl game telecast began with Troy Aikman contradicting Joe Buck about the reason for the game’s early safety, and Fox stubbornly sticking to its short-sighted approach of not displaying graphics for either team’s starting lineup.
Fortunately, Fox improved from there, serving up a telecast that was generally solid, despite the lopsided score, but clearly short of exceptional. Aikman offered a bunch of cogent points but delivered several head-scratching moments, too.
The good: Aikman correctly predicted before the game that Seattle’s Percy Harvin would be a factor; adeptly explained what Seattle was doing to frustrate Peyton Manning; noted that Denver’s receivers often couldn’t get into their routes because of the Seattle pass rush and tight coverage; and weaved in useful information gleaned from pre-game meetings, such as Seattle’s Earl Thomas questioning Manning’s arm strength.
He spotted nuances, including the fact Seattle safety Kam Chancellor was downfield on his interception against Manning but is usually lined up near the line of scrimmage. He noted Denver didn’t throw a pass against Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman until more than 31 minutes had elapsed. He bemoaned in the fourth quarter: “I don’t know what Denver’s doing — they’re playing so soft” in coverage.
But Aikman, either confused or not particularly skilled at math, asserted that Denver needed “four touchdowns and three three-point conversions” to rally from a 29-0 deficit. Buck either didn’t hear that or understandably didn’t want to embarrass Aikman by correcting him, even though Aikman earlier disputed Buck’s assertion that noise contributed to the first-quarter safety.
Aikman probably overstated matters in claiming this loss would not affect “one thing” about how Manning is remembered. It will to many people, Troy. Also, Aikman curiously spoke of Sherman possibly needing six months to recover without knowing his specific injury.
Because the Super Bowl audience is comprised of millions who don’t have football Ph.Ds, Aikman should have explained his reference to “natural rubbing action” on a passing play. And Aikman continues to irk grammar teachers everywhere by repeatedly saying “many a times.” (Troy, it’s many a time or many times.)
Fox’s production was exemplary, including a terrific slow motion replay of the shock on Manning’s face when the first snap of the game sailed over his head for a safety.
Read more at the Miami Herald where this story was originally published.