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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Any Given Sunday x 15+ hours

DigitalSportsDesk is ready for 15+ hours of sports today
BOSTON - The terms "Any Given Sunday" will take on a new meeting today as the NFL kicks-off its normal autumn Sunday scheduled at 1:00pm (edt) but continues with live game programming until early Monday morning.  That means your loyal sports writing servants at could easily be providing 15-17 consecutive hours of sports coverage on an NFL "couch potato" assignment desk on this dreary, rainy New England day.  Heaven!

Here is the "over-the-air" tv schedule for my neck of the woods in New England.

1:00pm - New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

4:00pm - Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals

4:25pm - Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

8:00pm - Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers (kick is later than 8pm, for sure).

11:30pm - San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (special NFL Network game to allow enough time to convert the Oakland Coliseum from last night's American League Division Playoff series game until tonight's NFL game).

Of course, the pregame shows have been on since the NFL Network went on the air this morning with "Game Day First" at 7:00am (edt), but I'll shift over to the TV at about Noon to watch a combination of the main pregame shows on ESPN, CBS and Fox until the Patriots kick-it-off at Cincy at 1pm.

Interestingly, there are three games that will have my (divided) attention today with New England/Cincy at 1pm, Denver/Dallas at 4:25pm and Houston/San Francisco at 8pm. I'll enjoy the Patriots from a strict competitive aspect with AJ green the lone "fantasy football" exception. Same goes for the Denver vs. Dallas game where Wes Welker is the lone "fantasy" participant. The NFL on NBC will be a key game, as my fantasy team employs SF 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and I'll have a keen interest in his performance tonight.

The remote will be working overtime, as the MLB Divisional Playoffs heat-up with the St. Louis Cards at Pittsburgh at 4:30pm and the Atlanta Braves (don't call them Redskins or make tribal chants, please) taking on the LA Dodgers at 8pm edt. If it's pro basketball you crave, the NBA is tipping off its preseason with Global games coverage from Bilbao, Spain as the Philadelphia 76ers face Bilbao of the EuroLeague. In the WNBA - believe it or not - it's the Finals and (poor) ESPN will carry the Atlanta Dream at Minnesota Linx at 8:30pm edt. (The Twin Cities sports gods gave the Vikings a "bye" week to mark the occasion, I guess.

Motor sports fans, you've got the Hollywood Casino 400 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs while the golfers can tune into a rain soaked Presidents Cup match play tournament which gets nowhere near the buzz of the Ryder Cup.

Amazingly, there's no NHL action today to distract me, but there are three NHL ice hockey games along with a couple English Premiership futbol matches and two MLS soccer matches if you are so inclined.Tennis, you ask?  The China Open is ready.

Look here at The Blog (at) for updates throughout the day while the "Content Becomes King" at with photos, video highlights, and updates scores and stats as we post the written world throughout the day, evening, night and into the wee hours.


Here is today's timeline, beginning with a Noon start for the NFL pre-game shows - although many, including the NFL Network have already had five HOURS of pregame chit-chat this morning.

12:00 Noon (edt) - The remote in hand, the highlight and special TLs "Garlic Roasted Potatoes" cooling in the oven, the column intro written and posted - so here we go!

The NFL Today!

12:01pm: "Hello everyone, I'm James Brown and welcome to the NFL Today," were the first words I heard as I flipped to my old friends at CBS Sports. While I enjoy ESPN and the others, I always seem to have a spot in my sports-watching heart for CBS.  JB is a pro's pro. The mix of personalities (too many people on all shows, by the way) seems best on The NFL Today with Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason,  and Bill Cowher complimenting each other quite well.

12:04pm - The first remote report, as James Brown throws in to Solomon Wilcox in Nashville, Tenn. for a report from the KC Chiefs vs Tennessee Titans game. (I learned nothing, by the way).

12:07pm - It's off to Miami for an update on the Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens game, a key early season game for sure.

12:09pm - A strong CBS Sports report on the future of Josh Freeman, the ex-Tampa Bay Bucs QB. - Key info - Detroit's All-Pro Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson will NOT play today.  Ahhh! He's on my fantasy team.  It's time to STOP writing and deal with my usual fantasy geek duties to check line-ups, active lists and other news, like the weather!

Buh-bye.  Back at Kick-off time, 1pm edt.

NFL Network Cameraman on the job (Getty Images)
1:00pm - Game Time ... New England at Cincinnati is the "main game."
1:01pm – It’s here! Kick-off – New England Patriots QB Tom Brady starts from his own 13-yard line after the Cincinnati Bengals kick-off  and CBS Sports covers the action. I am happy to hear the voice of my friend, Greg Gumbel.
On first set of downs, Brady is sacked. Crushed by Geno Atkins of Cincy.
Three and out.  Not good for NE but very strong for Cincy and its rough-house “D.”
1:09pm - I make my first move for ... The Kitchen and the NFL "RedZone" Sunday on my smart-phone which was charging by the kitchen counter, not far from the Roasted Potatoes, the (soon-to-be) Eggplant Parmigiana in the works and some chips.
1:30pm - My Verizon Red Zone is on the smartphone and it features an Instant Reply review in the Seattle vs Indianapolis Colts game. Nothing much there, but on my SONY tv screen, Cincy QB Andy Dalton threw his first career "Red Zone" interception and New England has the ball. Brady seems less-than-sharp, as he tosses one well ahead of Danny Amendola. Punt.

1:57pm - Mike Nugent of Cincy taps a 39-yard FG through the uprights and I watch the first score of the day, although my NFL RedZone has highlighted a number of interesting scoring plays, including the Indy Special Teams' runback of a blocked kick.  The Colts vs. Seahawks game - a real clunker a year or two ago - seems to be the marquee match-up today, so I'm glad I have the Red Zone.

My kitchen run turns-up a nice combo of Roast Turkey, Swiss and some Genoa Salami - not a great match with turkey, but it worked on a melted cheese/whole wheat toast hotbed, complete with Gulden's mustard.  Nice, quick break.

2:10pm - First head nod of the day.  Oh No!

2:18pm - The Bengals try to Ice Rob Gostkowski, the NE Patriots place kicker as the Pats attempt and hit a 42-yard FG to make it 3-3 for the half (Who's got the "Under?"). After the chicanery, New England scores and leaves :08 on the clock for a possible Cincy kick-off return. Basically, a paint-drying, grass growing boring half of football, American style.

Halftime: 3-3 score, but Cincy is leading.

2:35pm - Greg Gumbel makes my point, stating that NE came out "relatively unscathed" after poor field position worked against them all during the first half.  

A few thoughts come to mind!

I MUST - just MUST make a run to Whole Foods for some delicacies and most notably to get the special chips of parmigiana cheese that will make or break my Eggplant Parm.  We'll need a few other things, too, like very good bread.

Time for a 15+ Any Given Sunday Game Break - TL style.  (I'll tune in to some sports radio, NFL channel and maybe even the Sirius XM Fantasy sports radio channel on the short trip.  Could even grab some dry firewood for the first fire in the fireplace of the season?

My errands are completed, delicacies all purchased (sauce and parmigiana for the Eggplant, nice french baguettes, some chicken and vegetable Chinese rolls, fresh guacamole and a few other items (for meatball parm hero dinner), so it's time to check all scores and stats updates.

4:00pm - New England's Brady tossed a last ditch, rain-soaked, desparation heave towards the end zone but it was tapped, knocked and eventually bobbled and grabbed before it touched the ground and Cincinnati finished up with a key American Football Conference win while NE headed back to Boston with their first loss of the season. Brady was less than sharp but some credit must go to the Bengals.
CBS Sports switched to bonus coverage of the 23-all Baltimore vs. Miami game. Marv Albert's voice filled our home like sweet jazz music.
4:10pm - Justin Tucker sent a line-drive bullet towards the goal posts and Marv pronounced it "goood" in a way that would've made Marty Glickman proud. Baltimore secures the win over Miami.
4:30pm - We join Jim Nantz and Phil Sims for the Denver at Dallas game and there is some renewed energy in the House that Jerry Jones built, so let's watch some football. Tony Romo put Dallas on the board with a TD pass to Dez Bryant to make it a game from the get-go vs. Peyton Manning and the Broncs.

5:30pm - Duty called and I went to work on a lengthy but productive conference call which linked business partners from three Los Angeles-area posts, one Houston sponsorship and marketing exec and yours truly. The time-out in the football marathon was also complemented by a nice family dinner of special Meatball Parm hero, my garlic-roasted potatoes, fresh garden vegetables from the Newton Community Farm (mainly a tomato salad) and some other wonderful delicacies. 

All the while, I've had one eye-ball on "The Shootout in Texas" between Peyton Manning and the Broncos and Tony Romo and his Cowboys.  Put up a 24-second clock for TD scoring or FG attempts, and the heck with first downs is the way I look at it.  Let's Go!

7:15pm - As the clock struck 7:15 in the east, Tony Romo completed a 79-yd completion and run after the catch to Dez Bryant and Romo became the first Cowboys QB to register a 500+ yard day. Minutes later, Romo passed for a short TD to Cole Beasley to make it 48-41 Dallas over Denver with a full 7:19 left in the 4th Quarter at Dallas. (long way to go).

7:28pm - Instead of playing Bruce Springsteen's "Trapped Again," Romo should record "Sacked Again," as the Cowboys -- in crunch-time -- allowed the Denver front line to penetrate on the blitz and sack Romo at a key point in the game. With the 2-minute warning looming, Romo ruined his 500+ yard performance by forcing a pass and having it intercepted by Denver's outside linebacker Danny Trevathan.

7:39pm - Matt Prater kicked a 28-yd field goal to give Denver a 51-48 win over 'dem Cowboys. Romo set team records, threw for more yards than Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, or Dandy Don Meredith but he'll always be remembered for the sack and the "Force" and the interception to blow this game. This could be a back-breaker for the Cowboys' 2013 season.

Time to switch to the NFL on NBC.  I've been with CBS Sports since Noon, now it's onward.


8:30pm - It's a little strange to think of the timing of a pregame show (NBC's NFL Sunday Night) at 8pm in much the same frame of mind as the NFL Today show I was watching earlier today, but that, indeed, is the situation as the familiar voice of Dan Patrick (I've known him since 1983) and the wise counsel of Tony Dungy together with no-nonsense commentary by Rodney Harrison prepped us for the game at hand - the Houston Texans at the SF 49ers.

I made note of Dungy's comment that he thought Frank Gore would run all over the Texans.  In the pregame, I was of the belief Texas RB Arian Foster might do the same to the 49ers "D."

Kick-off after a glimpse at 60 Minutes and a longer glimpse of Carrie Underwood (I liked Faith Hill better), brought the night-cap sessions of the NFL along as the Tex-49ers will lead into the SD Chargers and Oakland Raiders at 11:30pm. Yippee... it's just like 1pm again.

8:35pm - The 'Niners D (Tremaine Block) picked off an 18-yard Matt Schaub pass to take it back and it's 7-0 SF. Do you notice all the commentators now say, "Just like that?"  - As in, "Just like that, the 49ers lead, 7-0."

My other "pet peeve" of criticism directed towards current-day media/courtside/on-field reporters is the non-question interview when they state something like, "Talk about ... blah, blah blah." - when did the command "talk about" replace the journalistic approach of asking a pointed question of the subject being interviewed?

I can hear it now:
"Talk about how bad you looked when you threw that terribly-timed interception, Tony?"


Oh yeah, Houston FG kicker Randy Bullock missed a 45-yard attempt.

8:55pm - SFs Frank Gore plowed into the Texans' end zone and "just like that," it's 14-0 San Francisco.

10:00pm - Let me take a walk downstairs.  Home land is on.

Ahhh, the best laid schemes of mice and men went astray as I sauntered down to the basement family room, away from the NFL action on Sunday Night Football. I wanted to spend some quality time and partake in one of my quality activities with my bride, that being the appointment viewing of "Homeland" via cable tvs "Showtime" network.

Just as "The Sopranos" made an HBO subscription a must buy, so has "Homeland" upped the ante of Showtime, a CBS entity. Each Sunday night, sometimes after the DVR has done its duty and taped the episode, we await time when the kids have gone to bed to watch the saga of Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), Nicolas Brody (Damien Lewis) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Pantinkin) as they navigate against the baddest asses in all the world as members of the USA's Homeland Security detail.

The problem on Sunday night?

I was tired.

I went horizontal.

The rest was history.

Sorry to all, as I left the Niners and their blow-out of the Texans and Oakland's win over the San Diego Chargers to the imaginations of my readers or to their smart phone score updates.

Maybe next time.  

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