zorro tv series


DON’T BLAME THE HOST CITY

Super Bowl Week has come and gone in North Texas, and I seriously doubt we will see it return for several years. At the moment, we can basically forget hosting Super Bowl L in 5 years

Not that we did anything wrong. You can’t blame us for the weather. You can’t even blame Jerry Jones for three thousand fans being unseated a few hours before kickoff. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took that rap Monday morning, saying the league always runs the Super Bowl stadium. He didn’t blame Jones, the Cowboys, the Arlington firefighters, or anyone else involved for a temporary section of the stadium being shut down for safety reasons.

Goodell is a stand-up guy, and I told him that Monday morning at the final Super Bowl press conference honoring winning coach Mike McCarthy and MVP Aaron Rodgers. Goodell, through some quick thinking, found some seats for the displaced fans. I know this to be true. I sat in the auxiliary press area in section 327 and many of them were reseated all around me, in spots unfilled by no-show sportswriters. Believe me, the fans in my midst were quite happy with their new arrangements. They enjoyed a vantage point far improved from the nosebleed section.

Not only did Goodell and his NFL workers take care of most of the fans, he is inviting the angry nomads to join him in Indianapolis at SB XLVI – FREE OF CHARGE. Not only does Goodell know how to spin a story, he knows how to make people happy.

I predict in the coming days and week that the heat for the ice, snow, and the seating fiasco will fade. The owners will get over it, and, as Ed Werder of ESPN told me, “the owners don’t care. They rode around in limos all week and stayed at five-star hotels. They didn’t see the ice and the snow.’’

No doubt, though, the media will continue to hammer us unmercifully. I stayed at the Media Center at the Sheraton in downtown Dallas all week. I listened to their bitching and moaning. Many of the national writers are my good friends. I’ve known them for decades.  But I got tired of them complaining about bus drivers missing turns and various stupid crap. I used a line stolen from old pal Walt Garrison. “Stop bitching. They’re playing the game indoors.’’

Frankly, it won’t kill me if SB L is played somewhere else. I had a great time. Every event came off as scheduled. We plowed through ice and snow and enjoyed every second of it. I’m sad that it’s over. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

I like the Steelers

I have said all week that I like Pittsburgh over Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, and I really like the Steelers at plus-3 points in Las Vegas.

The word around the Steelers’ camp all week is they go with a dime defense most of the day, and that is just fine with me. But you can be sure that Pittsbugh will blitz Aaron Rodgers from start to finish. In fact, I would not be surprised if Rodgers fails to finish the game. He was knocked around hard in the NFC title game by the hard-charging Bears and he’s going to take it on the chin today. James Harrison could care less about a helmet-to-helmet blow against Rodgers. What are they going to do – suspend him for the preseason next year? Shoot, there might not be a preseason next year, or a season for that matter, the way negotiations are going between the union and management.

This is the day that the Vegas bookmakers put up hundeds of proposition bets on the game. I am hearing that the wise guys in Nevada are firing with both fists on the “prop’’ wagers.

Here are a few to consider:

–Green Bay running back James Starks over 49.5 yards. If the Steelers play a “dime’’ defense with six defensive backs, Starks will have room to run all day.

–Rodgers under 35 passing attempts. As stated earlier, I’m not sure Rodgers can handle the heavy blows coming his way.

–Troy Polamalu over 4.5 tackles (assisted and unassisted). For the first time all season, the hardest hitter in the Steelers secondary is completely healthy.

This should be a great Super Bowl that will come down to the wire. If the scoring is low in the first half, thanks to offensive jitters, go with the “over’’ in the second half.

Have fun. It’s the greatest day of the year in all of sports.

Super Bowl XLV Highlights

Jim Dent and Roger Goodell

 

Highlights from Super Bowl Week in Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth are boundless. Forget the weather. People are having a great time, and the best I can tell, Super Bowl XLV still has a chance to be one of the most memorable of all time. I should know. I’ve  covered eighteen of these suckers.

            Here are my top five highlights of SB XLV Week:

            –Sitting on radio row next to Frank Caliendo a few minutes after finishing my interview with Billy Ray Smith Jr. on radio station XX1090 in San Diego. Caliendo is singing a Barry Manilow song, “I Write the Songs,’’ in John Madden’s voice. I am laughing so hard that I’m on the floor, just like everyone else around the table.

            –Listening to Pat Green lighting up the crowd at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth. A Bob Seger disciple, Green moves from rock-and-roll to country-and-western without missing a beat. The crowd at Billy Bob’s on Thursday night at the Host Committee Gala is revved up to the point of shaking snow out of the sky.

            –Walking out into the Winter Wonderland at Billy Bob’s at 11:30 that night into one of the most beautiful snowfalls I’ve ever seen. The only problem is that we have a 40-mile drive back to my hotel at the Sheraton in downtown Dallas. Fortunately, my girlfriend, Kathryn Shrum is a fine “wheel-woman,’’ and we make it back safely in just under two hours in spite of the terrible drivers along the old Turnpike headed east.

            –Witnessing Frank Luksa, Pat Summerall, and Dan Jenkins walking onto the stage and being honored with the “Blackie Sherrod Award’’ at the media party. The terrific event, held Tuesday night at the House of Blues on the edge of downtown Dallas, is captivating from start to finish.  I watch old friends, Pat, Frank, and Dan, walk across the stage to receive the bust Blackie that actually gave me goose bumps when I saw it a week earlier. I think about Blackie a lot. He gave me my first shot at the Dallas Times Herald that led to me covering the Cowboys for twelve years. I visited him recently about the book I am writing about the late Freddie Steinmark, titled Courage Beyond The Game, that will be released in August. In spite of being 91-years old, Blackie’s mind is still sharp as a tack.

            –Spending so much time with Roger Staubach, who I consider the greatest living NFL player, and a man I consider not only to be the “face’’ of this Super Bowl, but of the entire league. I can assure that Roger’s role as “chair’’ of the North Texas Host Committee will be widely chronicled in my book. I will have an exclusive interview with him right after the Super Bowl. Don’t forget to pre-order. We are offering big discounts for those who order early. We are also slashing the prices for SB XLV corporate sponsors with large orders.

“The Time of My Life

My girlfriend, Kathryn Shrum, told me yesterday that I am having “the time of my life’’ at the Super Bowl. This is true.

Forget the ice and snow (there is more snow coming) and the shivering temperatures. Forget the ice on the sidewalks and that is sending everyone falling onto their butts in downtown Dallas. Forget the misery that the national media is suffering through.

As my long-time friend Walt Garrison said, “Tell them all to stop whining. The damned game is being played indoors.’’

This morning, I did twenty minutes on the Mark Davis show (WBAP in Fort Worth) and will be interviewed Friday morning by Hal Jay on the same station at around 7:30. I am doing Billy Ray Smith’s show in San Diego around 8 a.m. I covered Billy Ray in the mid-1970s at Plano High, just north of Dallas. Billy Ray  was a two-way All-Stater at guard and linebacker. He played in one of the most memorable games in the Texas high school football at Texas Stadium in 1977. Plano trailed Highland Park 28-0 going into the fourth quarter, but won in the final seconds on an 80-yard flea flicker pass. The Wildcats converted the two-point conversion with three second to play to make the final score 29-28.

Billy Ray also played before the biggest crowd in the history of Texas when Plano defeated Port Neches-Groves for the state title that year. The record of 49,953 still stands.

Billy Ray is the son of Billy Ray Smith Jr., who played for the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and participated in Super Bowl III and V with the Baltimore Colts. He died in 2001.

You can read much more on this father-son combination in Super Bowl Texas Style, my book that will be released in late April. You can pre-order now on this Web site. I promise you. This is going to be a great book.

Weather taking front and center

My guess is that Dallas-Fort Worth will never get another Super Bowl. The weather is killing everything. Temperatures will not move above freezing until Saturday. Sunday is supposed to be nice with a high of fifty-one degress. By then, though, the fans, the media, and everyone else is going to be sick of this icy and snowy mess.
I was boarding the media bus the other day when Jerry Green of Detroit newspaper stardom said to me, “hell, Jim, it’s colder here than Detroit. You’ve got more snow than Detroit ever had for a Super Bowl.’’
Not completely true. I remember Super Bowl XVI in the Motor City back in January of 1982 when snow was piled six feet on the side of the highways and cars were everywhere in the ditch. Still, this is a hard pill to swallow for North Texas. How could we get blasted with snow and ice one week after the temperatures were in the 70s just about every day. As Stu Rosenberg of Miami radio fame said to me, “I hate Dallas. I hope the Super Bowl never comes back here.’’
Bill Lively, the eternal optimist and the president of the host committee, said to me Thurday morning, “We’ve still got a chance to overcome this. The weather Friday is going to be pretty good on Friday, good on Saturday, and very good on Sunday. We will be fine because most of the folks that are coming are not here yet.’’
Told that media was ripping his Super Bowl, Lively said, “we can not make them respect us. But if you are in any part of the Midwest or the East right now, you are getting hammered by ice and show. It’s just a fact of life. Other parts of the country have it a lot worse than we do.’’
The weather saddens me. We had a great chance to show the world a great Super Bowl. Now, I’m afraid, they will only want to talk about the weather.

Super Bowl Day 1

Radio Interview 105.3 The Fan

         Day One at Super Bowl got off to a fast start.  About nine in the morning, a wild protest of Dallas cabdrivers broke out near the Media Center. These guys looked mad as hell. Mostly foreigners, they complained about getting bumped in line around Dallas because they did not own the expensive compressed gas engines. 

            What is this, anyway? Fear and loathing in taxi hell. The protestors on Olive Street were in full view of the national media. As Tony Fay of the Host Committee said, “that should teach the NFL to put a big glass window between protestors and the media.’’

            For writers like me who have been covering Super Bowls since the late 1970s, Day One is always a reunion of comrades who rarely get to see each other. I shook hands with friends like Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, Gary Mihoches of USA Today, Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, and Howard Balzer of St. Louis (and everywhere else for that matter).

            Thanks to my crack staff of radio producers, Jennifer Smith and Ivan Sokalsky, I did ten radio interviews across the country on Monday. Again, the talk show hosts included a lot of old friends kicking butt in the radio business.

            I thought the best interviews of the day were by Richie Whitt and Greg “The Hammer’’ Williams on 105.3, The Fan. I’ve known both of these guys since they broke into the business, Richie as a Cowboys beat reporter, and Greggo as a tape man for Randy Galloway at WBAP. I’ve enjoyed their friendship for a long time and appreciated their kind praise for my books. It helps that The Junction Boys was a New York Times bestseller and that Twelve Mighty Orphans is headed to the silver screen this year. Needless to say that I am thrilled that Super Bowl Texas Style will be released in April. This is going to be one my best all-around books.

            Other friends I did radio interviews with were Mike Evans of 104.3 The Fan in Denver. Mike and I worked together at Prime Sports Radio in Dallas for a couple of years in the mid-1990s. One of my favorite sports media guys in the business is Howard Balzer and we had a lot of fun on his show. Great to see David Smoak back rocking and rolling at the ESPN affiliate in Waco. He is one of the most underrated talents in America.

            On Tuesday, I will open my day a radio interview with Peter King of Sports Illustrated, then head off to Media Day at Cowboys Stadium. Two hours with every player and coach on the Green Bay and Pittsburgh squads. A full day.

            A lot of my friends will be surprised to know that I’m hitting the sack early, getting ready for one of the biggest days of the Super Bowl week.

            Don’t forget to pre-order your early copies of Super Bowl Texas Style to be released in April. You will never regret it. This is going to be a great book

Super Bowl Texas Style!

Super Bowl Texas Style

Posted on 1-25-2011

            You can bet your silver spurs and ostrich boots that executives at the Fox Network were on their knees, praying for a Chicago-New York Super Bowl. Bringing two of America’s three most populated cities into the mix would have been a ratings goldmine.

            I still think Super Bowl records for attendance and TV ratings will be broken with the Green Bay-Pittsburgh match-up. Why not? All season, TV ratings for the National Football League games have gone up in smoke. More than 107 million people tuned in for the conference championship games. 

             Furthermore, Green Bay versus Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV is drenched in history. Never before have two franchises with more than seventy-five years of history met in the Super Bowl. Here we have the ghosts of  Lombardi, Lambeau, Hutson, and Rooney.

            Green Bay-Pittsburgh is an old school matchup with a nice ring to it. Anyone who grew up in Dallas as a Cowboys fan knows how the Packers derailed all championship hopes in the 1960s. Pittsburgh defeated Dallas twice in Super Bowls the following decade. Both clubs have a nationwide following and you can be sure they are on their way to North Texas. This will be my fifth Super Bowl covering the Steelers. They will show up in droves, wearing black and gold, and they will spend their money. Likewise for the green-and-gold of Green Bay.

            Adding to the allure are two bearded quarterbacks with big guns and high profiles. The Pittsburgh defense is a throwback to the Steel Curtain, and Green Bay’s “D’’ is reminiscent of the Lombardi Era, when a toothless Ray Nietzsche ruled the day.

The early point spread, set Sunday night, was Green Bay favored by 2 ½ points, but that line is already starting to drop. I predict a “pick ‘em’’ game at kickoff. This might be the most even matchup in the history of the Super Bowl.

Now I must do some bragging. I actually predicted this matchup before the season began. Might as well beat my chest while I can because I’m sure it will be years, maybe decades, before I get another one right.

            One factor to keep in mind in trying to handicap Super Bowl XLV is that Green Bay is a sixth seed from the NFC, and Pittsburgh a number two out of the AFC. This has the wise guys scratching their heads in Las Vegas. That is why I predict the point spread will drop as the days count down.

            Yet another huge element, and one the bettors might overlook, is the pounding that the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers is certain to take from the Pittsburgh defense. When Rodgers was upright and his ears were not ringing against Chicago, his passes were crisp and on the mark. He completed his first five passes with three going for 22, 26, and 22 yards.

            But when the Bears started getting to him in the second quarter, his passes went awry. Both of his interceptions came following hard sacks.  Early in the fourth quarter, Julius Peppers really put the brakes on Rodgers with a helmet-to-helmet hit that drew a flag and a 15-yard penalty. Rodgers proceeded to throw two straight incompletions and the Packers were forced to punt. The Green Bay offense failed to score after the Peppers sack, and Rodgers, at times, looked a little punch drunk.

            You can be sure that Pittsburgh defensive end James Harrison, who has drawn more fines for illegal hits this year than any other player, will target Rodgers from the start. He will easily trade a 15-yard penalty for a chance to knock Rodgers off his rhythm? Rodgers suffered two concussions during the regular season, and the one against Detroit sent him to the sideline for a game and a half. I’m not saying that Pittsburgh will should play dirty against Green Bay.  But I’d be willing to wager the Steelers are already thinking about knocking him out of the game.