Jim Kelly in Super Bowl XXVII.
Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated

Ten things our (Buffalo-bred) media writer thinks about the NFL and how it’s being covered this week

By Richard Deitsch
December 10, 2015

1. I think I can’t recommend enough the upcoming 30 For 30 documentary on the Super Bowl era Bills’ teams of the 1990s. The two-hour documentary—entitled The Four Falls of Buffalo—airs Dec. 12 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, and it’s one of the best 30 for 30 efforts of recent vintage. The poignant and painful thoughts from Scott Norwood, the Buffalo kicker who missed the game-winning field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV, serve as the emotional center of the film. Here’s a review.

2. I think ESPN's Mike Tirico did something last Monday night that I really appreciate: He did not refer to an NFL owner as “Mr.,” as other broadcasters seem to do on every game. In my opinion the honorific in that context is class-oriented and a tad absurd given no NFL announcer says “Mr. Newton” or “Mr. Watt.” And before you say it’s a respect thing for elders—which I would never argue with—there are plenty of younger broadcasters not dropping a “Mr.” title on Mr. Brady, Mr. Manning or Mr. Vinatieri. Is this a big deal? Of course not. But it is telling from broadcasters, who do not work for the owners.

3. I think I am always amazed when I see the career percentage for Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski for field goals of 50 yards or more. He is 17 of 22 lifetime, including four-of-five this year.

4. I think I’m starting to become convinced  that the Dallas Cowboys (currently 4-8) are immune to ratings failure, regardless of their record. Last month I did a long piece on the indisputable fact that the Cowboys are the most popular television team in pro football. The Tony Romoless Cowboys’ victory over the Redskins on Monday night earned a 10.0 overnight rating according to Nielsen, the highest overnight so far this season for “Monday Night Football.”

5. I think the late Buffalo Bills center Kent Hull and former Bills special teams ace Steve Tasker should be in the Hall of Fame. So does Bill Polian.

6. I think former NFL quarterback and current ESPN college analyst Danny Kanell has every right to express his viewpoint on what he believes is a “the war on football” and that  “concussion alarmists” and the “liberal media” are ganging up to eliminate the sport. I also believe using rhetoric such as “the liberal media” for this issue is flamethrowing nonsense, and I’d wish Kanell, given his huge forum, would not stoop to loaded code words. There’s an important discussion to be had on age requirements for the sport in relation to concussions and the development of the young brain. And it’s a discussion that has little to do with political orthodoxy, or in this case, nonsense tags that distract from a serious conversation. (To Kanell's credit, he later told the New York Daily News that he foolishly used the term “liberal media” and that “‘war’ was probably a little bit of hyperbole.”)

7. I think there is no war on NFL football given the sport is covered 24/7 and 365 days by nearly every major newspaper and digital outlet and broadcast and promoted weekly by the following media giants: CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and NFL Network.

8. I think you might be surprised that NBC’s Michelle Tafoya will work her 200th NFL game (regular-season and postseason games included) on the sidelines this Sunday night for Patriots-Texans. Among those 200 games, Tafoya has done three Super Bowls, worked in 35 stadiums, done 27 Cowboys and Patriots games, and been part of a Cowboys-Giants matchup eight times.


9. I think this piece on Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus by Buffalo News staffer Ty Dunne is worth your time if you have yet to read.

10. I think I was curious to see what odds you could have gotten on the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 before the season. What did I discover? Bovada had them at 40-1