Related topics

NBC denies it’s had discussions with Joe Montana about becoming a f

April 13, 1995

NBC denies it’s had discussions with Joe Montana about becoming a football announcer, even if he can become a football announcer.

In fact, NBC Sports spokesman Ed Markey says: ``We all hope he decides to continue playing.″

But it doesn’t look like he will. It looks like he’ll quit next Tuesday in San Francisco, and that means he’s eligible to become television’s newest former-NFL superstar-turned-analyst.

There’s at least one problem, though.

Montana might have been the best quarterback ever, but as a personality, he’s boring, drab, even dull, totally stultifying.

And don’t think the powers-that-be in network television don’t know this.

You might remember the pass Montana threw to Dwight Clark that became known as ``The Catch″ in the 1981 NFC championship game, but I bet you don’t remember a single word Montana said later.

Still, Montana probably will wind up on television if he wants to, and it appears he does. While it’s true that NBC has not discussed anything with Montana, it’s also true that Montana’s representative, another inspiring personality, Peter Johnson of IMG, has contacted NBC.

At this point, however, there have been no negotiations. That means the issue of money probably hasn’t been mentioned, either, and there’s another problem. A superstar of Montana’s stature, represented by an agency of IMG’s greed, will undoubtedly expect grand remuneration. And the networks won’t expect to pay it for an untested announcer with Montana’s track record of sleepy interviews.

NBC isn’t the only refuge of jock announcers, however. ESPN just lost its marquee quarterback analyst, Phil Simms, to NBC, and TNT’s experiment with Lawrence Taylor was an embarrassment.

Yet to be heard from is Fox, but that’s a real longshot. Montana doesn’t suit Fox, where boredom is a capital crime, punishable with death by hockey.

OUT TAKES: ABC Sports begins its series of four specials on women in sports, entitled ``A Passion to Play,″ on Sunday with an episode that chronicles two of the best, Katarina Witt and Nadia Comaneci.

``I think I’ve spent a lifetime working for this moment,″ said Donna de Varona, former Olympic swimmer and ABC announcer who was instrumental in getting the series started. ``These are `firsts’ in TV. We’re doing things I’m proud of and excited about.″

De Varona will be the host of the final of the four episodes, a look at motherhood and sports, on May 14. The second episode on April 23 looks at African-American women in sports, and the third examines women’s involvement in extreme sports such as ice climbing and kayaking.

``We live in a very diverse society, and I think our programming has to reflect that,″ ABC Sports president Dennis Swanson said. ...

Find out if Anfernee Hardaway is funny. Find out what makes Muggsy Bogues laugh. Find out why Mo Cheeks elicits guffaws. And find out who the heck Flex is.

The cable chuckle channel, Comedy Central, unveils ``NBA Saturday Night″ on, you guessed it, Saturday night. Each week, Comedy Central and NBA Entertainment will present two hours of interviews with players from a featured NBA team, talking about their favorite ``Saturday Night Live″ sketches.

The interviews will be done by Flex, the comedian who starred in the ABC blockbuster ``Where I Live.″ And that’s who Flex is. Now, where does he live? ...

The Legends golf tournament, forerunner of the modern Seniors PGA Tour, nearly never got going. TV didn’t want it and advertisers wouldn’t buy it.

``They kept telling me, `Who wants to watch a bunch of old guys play golf? It would be like watching an oldtimers baseball game,‴ said Legends founder Fred Raphael, who will produce the tournament for ABC on April 22-23. ``The reason I didn’t think it was odd was because I’d just come off the Shell series. I had seen all these guys, so I knew damn well they could still play. They convinced me golf is a game that can be played from cradle to grave.″

Sam Snead and Gardner Dickinson won the first Legends, a best-ball team event, in 1978, and Raphael said it took off the next year when Roberto DiVicenzo and Julius Boros had to birdie every extra hole in order to win a now-famous six-hole playoff with Art Wall and Tommy Bolt.

``After that, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing with potential sponsors,″ Raphael said. Liberty Mutual has been the title sponsor ever since. ...

This might be a first for the Albert family, and there aren’t many of those left. On Sunday, Marv Albert will do play-by-play for NBC when Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls play host to the New York Knicks.

In New York, the early part of that game will go up against the tail end of the Rangers-Islanders hockey game regionally televised by Fox. Albert’s son, Kenny, who also does football for Fox, will be doing the call of that game, one of nine regionally televised by Fox.

``It’s never happened quite like this,″ Marv said, ``especially on something with a New York orientation like this.″

So, does the kid have potential?

``I’ve been watching him for so long doing local cable on Long Island. He was very solid then, I thought, and his hockey is excellent,″ Marv said. ``He played a lot of hockey as a kid, and it was his favorite sport when he was growing up. He’s always been very strong on it.″

Update hourly