IRVING, Texas — Vikings-Packers, NFC showdown last Sunday afternoon, and during a break in play, here came the likenesses of Landry Jones and Johnny Manziel on the screen.
Then Troy Aikman began talking about the Cotton Bowl quarterback derby, and all of a sudden, it seemed just fine that the OU-Texas A&M showdown is one of only two bowl games not televised by ESPN's family of networks.
ESPN is the master of hype, but it has many a mouth to feed.
Fox — Big Fox — has OU-A&M, and the Sooners and Aggies get all the love during Fox's NFL broadcasts.
“Yeah, you get talked about by a Hall of Famer, it's always pretty cool,” Landry said this week at the Omni hotel in Las Colinas, the Cotton Bowl's headquarters. “I think it's cool that he got to talk about us and this whole game.”
The Cotton Bowl's move away from Jan. 1 and to a Friday night following New Year's Day gave it a prime-time slot for television and a good calendar spot for traveling fans. And Big Fox embraces the game.
“I'm always watching the (Dallas) Cowboys play,” said A&M safety Steven Terrell. “Every time I see that commercial, it kind of gets me going. Gets me ready for the game. They've been building it up, building it up.”
ESPN has the contract of every bowl except the Cotton and the Sun Bowl (CBS). Most of ESPN's games are on ESPN. The Gator and the Kraft Fight Hunger bowls were on ESPN2, the Capital One Bowl was on ABC and the Heart of Dallas Bowl was on ESPNU.