Buck, Aikman Shine in Bloated Super Bowl Telecast: TRAINA THOUGHTS


1. Forgive me for going all "OK, Boomer" and "Get Off My Lawn" here, but the Super Bowl really is a painful experience for die-hard NFL fans.

By "die-hard NFL fans," I mean the people who sit in front of their TVs every single Sunday from 1 p.m. ET until the end of the Sunday night game. I'm talking about the people who revolve each and every one of their Sundays around the NFL schedule. I'm talking about the people who are just as invested in an October CBS game at 1 p.m. as they are the Super Bowl.

For those people—the folks who just want to get immersed in a game between the two best teams in the league—the Super Bowl telecast is just excruciating to sit through. Over-the-top ceremonies before the game, a never-ending halftime and a bombardment of commercials and promo—that's what the Super Bowl has become.

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, doing the honors on their sixth Super Bowl together for Fox, were able to overcome all the nonsense to call an excellent game, with Aikman really standing out.

The Hall of Fame quarterback was outstanding, first-guessing decisions and breaking down why the Chiefs' explosive offense struggled for three quarters. Aikman quickly criticized Niners coach Kyle Shanahan for not using his timeouts at the end of the first half. He didn't make any excuses for Patrick Mahomes's two interceptions and subpar play for a big chunk of the game. 

Aikman also kept pointing out where the Chiefs had one-on-one opportunities, anticipating it was only a matter of time before they hit a big play. Sure enough, the biggest play of the game was Mahomes's 44-yard pass to Tyreek Hill on a 3rd-and-15 midway through the fourth quarter. In a nice moment for Buck on the play, he said the Chiefs "need some Mahomes magic" right before the completion. 

I've written many times in Traina Thoughts that Joe Buck is a superb play-by-play man. That was on a display again Sunday night with Buck calling a smooth, crisp game filled with outstanding calls and no glaring errors. That's always what you get with Buck. You're not going to get a better call of a game than the one Buck and Aikman gave you in Super Bowl LIV.

Unfortunately for them, it was hard for the duo to get in a solid rhythm and flow for about three quarters because the game was so bloated with commercials and promos. The entire world knows there's a halftime show. Does Fox really need to make poor Joe Buck read promos telling people to stay tuned for it in between plays? There were also missed opportunities to analyze plays and provide needed replays because it seemed like they had to go to commercial after every play. 

In the first quarter when Patrick Mahomes fumbled the ball out of bounds while running for a first down, Fox immediately went to commercial because the Niners defender who hit Mahomes was hurt. We had no idea whether Kansas City had gotten the first down and we weren't given any replays. When FOX came back from the break, Buck told us the ball was fumbled out of bounds behind the first-down marker.

When Chiefs running back Damien Williams scored a controversial touchdown, FOX went to break while it was being reviewed. When they came back, Buck, Aikman and rules expert Mike Peirera analyzed replays to determine whether Williams had stepped out of bounds before the ball crossed the plane of the goal line. It would've been nice if Buck and Aikman had time to also get into what Andy Reid would do if Williams was marked short and Kansas City ended up with a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line while down 20-17 with 2:44 remaining because it would've been a FASCINATING decision for the coach.

Fortunately for Buck, Aikman and viewers, the action was intense for the entire fourth quarter, and it seemed like the commercial breaks were not as intrusive as they were for the three quarters prior.

SI PRESENTS: Celebrate the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory with a special commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated

2. The camera shot of the night for Fox was easily Niners GM John Lynch's signaling for a timeout from a suite while his head coach just wanted the clock to run out in the first half.

3. FOX unveiled a new scorebug and new graphics for the Super Bowl. They were fine, but it would've been nice if it had done this during the season so we could get used to where to look for certain information. Granted, I'm old and dumb, but every time I tried to see how much time was on the clock, it took me a second to find it because my eyes and brain were trained to look in a certain spot. Fox's new touchdown graphic also seems a tad aggressive.

4. Demi Lovato aced the national anthem while Patrick Mahomes won the MVP award to ensure himself a trip to Disney. Both of them had anticipated their moments.

5. Here's something you don't see every day. Or ever. An athlete thanking the media.

6. Here's my last "GET OFF MY LAWN" point about the Super Bowl just being a totally out-of-control event. A popcorn and a soda ran you $30 at Sunday's game. Shameful.

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo had the best tweet during the Super Bowl.

8. Travis Kelce was in full Travis Kelce mode after his Super Bowl victory. He imitated Chris Berman during an interview with Chris Berman and then busted out a new song and dance.

9. If you missed it over the weekend J.J. Watt exceeded all expectations in terms of acting ability and comedic timing as host of Saturday Night Live. The defensive star was downright fantastic throughout the entire episode. This was the best sketch of the night, in my opinion.

10. If you missed it on Friday, John Cena told me that Brock Lesnar is the greatest in-ring performer of all time.

11. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Of course, the one big bit of bloat and excess I was able to tolerate Sunday was the Rock doing awesome intros for the Niners and Chiefs players.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram