Here’s hoping Joe Buck was taking notes.

The next time the Fox TV lead announcer works the NFL’s championship game, he should look back at how Al Michaels handled this Super Bowl.

While Buck is sometimes too smug for his own good, Michaels is the consummate pro. His performance in his eighth Super Bowl assignment was as good or better than the first seven.

The man of “Miracle on Ice” fame was a calming influence on a sports day that rarely is calm. Michaels made his points succinctly and without the “I’m smarter than you” delivery others implore. He dropped facts like the Giants having an 86-0 edge in total yardage midway through the first quarter and had run 19 plays to New England’s one as footnotes for your consumption.

Unlike others that raise their voices on a 1-yard run, Michaels picked his spots during the Giants’ 21-17 victory. When he upped the decibels, it was for effect, not grandstanding.

Even a special human-interest story didn’t cause Michaels to gush like a radio shock jock. When the father of Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants was pictured in the stands, Michaels calmly related that the Haitian-born father, attending his first game, is blind and was listening to the game in his native French.

Cris Collinsworth, Michaels’ analyst sidekick, started a lot slower and might have had you yearning for the good old days of Pat Summerall and John Madden — or at least Jim Nance and Phil Simms.

Collinsworth, who played in two Super Bowls as a Bengal, appeared tight at the opening of the telecast, and when Michaels later said Madonna was nervous about performing at halftime, Collinsworth, who insisted he never had seen the Patriots so unsettled at the start of a game, quipped, “I know the feeling.”

But once he got over his butterflies, Collinsworth was particularly informative. Though he and Michaels didn’t immediately pick up that Tom Brady’s intentional grounding while in the end zone would result in a safety, later on Collinsworth quickly pointed out that the Patriots had 12 players on the field, a penalty that would erase a Victor Cruz fumble.

When Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington couldn’t bring down a Giants receiver, Collinsworth remarked: “High school coaches are cringing at how Arrington tried tackling (Henry) Hynoski.”

While he wasn’t as outspoken as he was earlier in the season, when he said Giants safety Antrel Rolle had been “barbecued” by a Cowboys receiver, Collinsworth questioned why the Giants tried to defend New England’s tight ends with linebackers, and complimented Eli Manning for taking the short passes New England’s defense was giving him.

As a former wide receiver, Collinsworth explained how Mario Manningham cost the Giants a first-down completion by fading his route too close to the sidelines, a mistake Collinsworth had seen him commit before. To his credit, Collinsworth gave Manningham his due for a spectacular 38-yard reception that ignited the game-winning drive.

Even the last hour-plus of the always-too-long pregame show — I chose to skip the first five hours — provided viewers with useful information and anecdotes.

Then there was Bianca Wilfork, wife of New England’s massive defensive tackle Vince, revealing that they met online.

That, Joe Buck, qualifies as too much information.

 


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