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Best, worst in 2012 sports media

By Barry Jackson, The Miami Herald Published: December 29, 2012

Worst moves for fans: 1) NBC continuing to refuse to show live TV coverage of the biggest Olympic events. Why not show a few of them live, then replay them in prime time? 2) Baseball moving two playoff games to MLB Network, which is unavailable in more than 50 million homes.

Oops: NBC showing a “Today” show promo revealing that Missy Franklin had won an Olympic gold medal in swimming a short time before NBC aired the race.

Personnel move most designed to drive us nuts: ESPN reuniting Stephen A. Smith with Bayless on “First Take.” Why not just let them argue among themselves in a room without microphones?

Best game analysts: NBC's Cris Collinsworth and ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy.

Most compelling nonevent TV moment: HBO's “Hard Knocks” airing the tape of Joe Philbin's uncomfortable meeting with Chad Johnson during which the receiver was released.

Overkill award: ESPN's unhealthy obsession with Tim Tebow, curtailed only when network president John Skipper told his producers to cool it.

Worst abuse of power: Southern California football coach Lane Kiffin attempting to ban a Los Angeles Times writer for reporting a USC kicker's injury — information obtained legitimately.

Worst overreaction: ESPN firing a producer who used “chink in the armor” in a headline about Jeremy Lin. Even his boss said the producer had no idea it would be considered an ethnic slur. Anchor Max Bretos was unfairly suspended for 30 days for the same (unintentional) offense.

Most unwarranted criticism: Fans blasting Adam Schefter and others for reporting NFL Draft picks on Twitter or TV before the commissioner announced them. That's their job, folks.

Best reporting: ESPN's Chris Mortensen, who was right and first every step of the way in reporting on the Colts' release of Peyton Manning and the free agent sweepstakes that followed.

Notable media deaths: NFL Films president Steve Sabol, college football pundit Beano Cook, Turner Sports essayist Jim Huber, boxing writer and sports historian Bert Sugar, and ESPN Radio announcer Jim Durham.

Pettiness award: To ESPN's Bob Knight, who refused to utter the word “Kentucky” during last season's NCAA Tournament because of his dislike for coach John Calipari. Knight referred to Kentucky as “that team from the SEC.”

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