WEEKLY MEDIA NOTES
Recommended viewing: a splendidly-crafted documentary on the Dolphins’ 1972 team, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the perfect season. It will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on NFL Network, but a few hundred – including much of the ‘72 team – watched it at the Gusman Theatre in downtown Miami last Saturday night.
The 45-minute film, narrated by Roy Firestone, frames the season within the context of what was happening in South Florida during that era.
Hall of Famer Larry Little recalls going to a WT Grant store in Miami, before segregation ended in the 1960s, and “sneaking to drink the water [served to white customers] to see if it was different from the water [served to blacks]. It was colder.” The ’72 alums talk admiringly about how Don Shula had white and black players room together.
Viewers hear amusing anecdotes from ’72 Dolphins and the reflections of a broad spectrum of people, including Gloria Estefan, longtime Herald sports columnist Edwin Pope and an Orange Bowl hot dog vendor that season.
There are plenty of highlights, but it’s not a highlight film per se. There’s also old footage of interviews and discussion about how the team impacted South Florida and how the players became a part of the fabric of the community, often tailgating with fans after games. The title could have shorter – “More than Perfect: One Team, One Town; The Untold Story of the 1972 Dolphins” – but the documentary could not have been done much better.
### CBS has only seven NFL announcing teams but had to summon an eighth (former network NFL voices Don Criqui and Randy Cross) to call what it deemed the worst of its games this weekend: Dolphins-Bills.
### Love those miked-up segments on Showtime’s Inside the NFL. Where else could you hear Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton complaining, during a game, about the NFL not building restrooms on sidelines?
This week, we heard Joe Philbin jokingly calling Sean Smith "a big baby" for a minor injury, and Philbin telling Ryan Tannehill he needs to learn how to slide.
### What in the world was Fox’s Terry Bradshaw talking about last Sunday when he said: “I don’t know what’s wrong with Christian Ponder, but whatever it is, it’s hard to pronounce.”
### The Knicks-Lakers/Heat-Thunder Christmas doubleheader will be the first ABC exposure of the season for the network’s revamped studio show, which added Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons to replace Jon Barry and Chris Broussard.
Rose, Simmons, Magic Johnson and Michael Wilbon have displayed decent chemistry during their ESPN appearances, but the network should never have pulled its offer to Stan Van Gundy, who’s doing college games for NBC Sports Network.
“Last year, I felt like they were leaning too much on Magic to be the be-all and end-all coming out of every commercial, right at the end of every game,” Simmons said. “How hardcore and sophisticated can you get, while making sure you’re not alienating the casual fans? It’s a challenge. It’s something that TNT has always been able to pull off because Charles Barkley is so good and Kenny Smith is so smart and really prepared.”
### ESPN suspended Rob Parker for 30 days this week, after Parker questioned whether Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is authentically black because he has a white fiancée.
### The SEC is exploring starting its own TV network, following the path of the Big 10 and Pac 10… Showtime dropped its weekly NASCAR show after three seasons…. The first non-Olympic boxing match on free-network TV in 15 years (Leo Santa Cruz vs. Alberto Guevara) draw a decent enough rating last Saturday (a 1.3) that CBS will consider airing more bouts… Notre Dame-USC finished as the highest-rated prime time network college football telecast this season, with UF-Tennessee 12th and UM-FSU 14th (with some getting Baylor-Texas that night). ABC easily outdrew Fox's prime-time package.
### For Week 17 of the season, the NFL generally likes to give NBC a Sunday night game in which at least one of the teams can make the playoffs with a win, without earlier games having any bearing on that. Fox doesn't want to lose Cowboys-Redskins in Week 17, but it's entirely the NFL's call. Fox and CBS cannot protect Week 17 games.
This weekend, Fox protected Giants-Ravens, leaving 49ers-Seahawks exposed. And the NFL shifted that San Francisco game to NBC in prime time.... ESPN concludes its NFL package with Atlanta-Detroit on Saturday night because the league doesn't want a game on Christmas Eve.