Undated (AP) _ Jack Buck and Hank Stram, who have worked together the last seven years broadcasting National Football League games on CBS television and radio, will continue their busy, dual-media roles this year, even though CBS Radio Sports has lost the NFL contract to NBC Radio.
Buck, one of the smoothest play-by-play men in the business and not one to pull his punches, and Stram, the former coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints, will team for a TV game each Sunday. Those contests - usually CBS’ No. 2 game, while Pat Summerall and John Madden work the feature game - will be the only chance to hear Stram’s precise analysis and uncanny play-calling skills.
But the Buck-Stram duo will be available each Sunday night on CBS Radio for The NFL Tonight, a two-hour analysis of the day’s games. Listeners are being invited to send in their names for a call-out segment in which the announcers will telephone fans at home to talk about the NFL. It will be the first such effort by CBS Radio.
John Rooney will anchor the show from New York, while Buck and Stram will air from the NFL city in which they worked that day.
CBS also has a 20-minute preview show on tap for Friday nights with Brent Musburger and Jimmy ″The Greek″ Snyder.
A college football scoreboard program begins on Saturday, hosted by Ed Ingles. It will run for 20 minutes each Saturday night of the season.
In addition to Buck-Stram and Summerall-Madden, CBS’ announcing crews for NFL football include Dan Dierdorf and Jean Fugett, Verne Lundquist and Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brookshier and Dick Vermeil, Tim Ryan and Johnny Morris or Dan Jiggetts, Dick Stockton and Wayne Walker, and Jim Hill with John Dockery.
For NBC, the top pairing once again is Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen. John Brodie has left the network to try his luck as a golfer on the seniors tour, so Bob Griese has replaced him as Marv Albert’s sidekick.
Charlie Jones teams with Sam Rutigliano, the witty former coach of the Cleveland Browns. Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy will see double duty, working Sunday games on TV and Monday night contests on radio. Trumpy will host a call-in talk show immediately after the Monday game.
Also available for play-by play are Jay Randolph and Phil Stone, both veterans of NBC’s NFL coverage, and newcomers Tom Hammond, Paul Page, Fred Rogin and Bob Lobel. Other analysts include Reggie Rucker, Dave Rowe and Bob Kuechenberg, who recently retired as a player.
The NFL’s hopes for higher ratings - Commissioner Pete Rozelle stuck his neck out a bit when he predicted an upsurge in viewership - could be boosted by several balanced division races. Only the NFC West and AFC East figure to have runaways with the defending conference champion San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins.
What bodes well for the league is the likelihood of tight races involving teams in major markets. The New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams and Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals are rated as contenders in their respective divisions. CBS and NBC would like nothing better than for those big-city teams to be in the chase into December.
As for ABC, it’s Monday night package looks solid, though such projections often turn sour when the Rams or Gints or Bears fail to live up to expectations. The opening game features Dallas at Washington, and the Cowboys remain the best TV draw in the league. Appearances by Kansas City, Cleveland, Minnesota and the New York Jets - teams which figure to be also-rans - come relatively early.
In addition, division rivalries such as the Giants and Cowboys, Bears-Green Bay Packers, Bengals-Steelers, St. Louis Cardinals-Redskins, Chargers-Raiders, Rams-49ers and Dolphins-New England Patriots are supplemented by powerhouse interconference games featuring the Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers and the Denver Broncos, the 49ers and Seahawks and Raiders-Rams.