NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth, a former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, has some bad memories of the Super Bowl. His Bengals lost twice to the San Francisco 49ers (26-21 in 1982 and 20-16 in 1989) in the big game.
Collinsworth, who will broadcast Super Bowl XLVI with Al Michaels and sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, hopes it will go better in his second time in the broadcast booth. He also called Super Bowl XXXIX for Fox as New England edged Philadelphia 24-21.
“Well, I was 0-for-2 playing in this game so I'm hoping I do a better job with this one,” Collinsworth said in a conference call this week.
Collinsworth, 53, had some big shoes to fill when he replaced fan favorite John Madden in the NBC booth in 2009. A 12-time Emmy award winner, Collinsworth has earned mostly positive reviews for his commentary.
Collinsworth said preparing to call a Super Bowl is harder than getting ready to play in it.
“There are only so many things I had to prepare for as a player,” he said. “I was getting ready for San Francisco's defense on both occasions, and they could go only throw 11 of them out there at a time.”
Broadcast preparations involve getting to know as much as possible about both teams in a short period.
“It's all-consuming trying to imagine every possible thing that could come up and be a part of a Super Bowl broadcast,” he said. “The exciting part about it is you are on the high wire, and there is an element of danger to it.”
Michaels, 67. who will broadcast his eighth Super Bowl, called the quarterback battle between Tom Brady and Eli Manning the key matchup of the game. It's the first time two Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks have faced each other in the game.
“Brady is one of the greatest of all time,” Michaels said. “I think Eli has also captured the fancy of everybody around the country, especially with the way he has played down the stretch. I don't think enough was made about the beating he took in the San Francisco game. They were all over him. There were a couple of incidents where I was watching the replay and I'm thinking he's going to need surgery. The next thing you know he is back in the huddle. He is a tough guy.”
WELKER FEATURED ON PREGAME
For its “Hometown Hero” segment on the six-hour pregame show (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), an NBC production team visited Oklahoma City to report on Wes Welker, a former Heritage Hall High School star. Other players featured are Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants, and Brady and Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots. Producers interviewed people who made an early impact on their lives, including former coaches, teachers and friends.
In a “Behind the Quarterbacks” segment, NBC interviewed Eli Manning's parents, Archie and Olivia, and Tom Martinez, who has served as Tom Brady's mentor since high school.
Among others scheduled to be interviewed will be President Barack Obama, halftime entertainer Madonna, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and both quarterbacks and head coaches.
Bob Costas will serve as pregame host. Super Bowl MVPs Aaron Rodgers and Hines Ward will be guest analysts.
— NBC charged $3.5 million for a 30-second commercial, up 17 percent from last year. As the sole beer sponsor, Anheuser-Busch will run six commercials over 4½ minutes.
— Studio analyst Rodney Harrison, a former Patriots defensive back, said he still could be objective in his commentary. “I've criticized (Bill) Belichick, and the defensive backs from the Patriots as well as I've been complimentary at times to that team. That's my nature. If I feel something, I'll let you know it.”