Aikman had few insights into Manning’s bad game - The Buffalo News
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Aikman had few insights into Manning’s bad game

The Super Bowl was worse than the January weather in Buffalo but we can’t blame Fox Sports for that.

It would even have been impossible for CBS chicken wing expert Mo Rocca to make this game entertaining.

However, Fox analyst Troy Aikman had just a passable game and can be faulted for a few things.

Aikman failed to provide a first-half answer for why legendary Denver quarterback Peyton Manning had a game that looked a lot like the horrific season of his younger brother Eli.

And Aikman later proved to be lousy at math.

Midway through the second quarter of Seattle’s 43-8 victory Sunday over the Broncos, Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck asked Aikman the question many of the millions watching were wondering: “What is going on?”

“Seattle’s defense is playing at a faster clip” than Denver’s offense, replied Aikman.

Really. That’s all you got?

Bob Dylan made things more understandable in a car commercial and that was the first time I’ve understood what he said in 25 years.

Would it have been too much to explain how Seattle’s secondary shut down the Broncos in a 22-0 first half? Could the Fox cameras have given a wide picture of the field so we could see what Manning saw or didn’t see?

Finally, before the start of the second half, Fox ran several shots for Aikman to analyze of Broncos receivers having difficulty getting open. Manning clearly had no place to go with the ball.

Fox didn’t get great angles on sideline plays, including one early in which Seattle coach Pete Carroll lost a challenge when it looked like quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a first down despite the official ruling otherwise. It was hard to see why the call stood. Earlier, Fox didn’t give a great angle when Seattle’s Percy Harvin was ruled out of bounds.

Manning had a tough night from the first play, a Seattle safety when the ball was snapped over his head as he moved toward the line of scrimmage. It looked like the snap would have gone wide right even if Manning had stayed back.

Manning’s performance actually contradicted Aikman’s pregame analysis that while Wilson wouldn’t know how he would react to Super Bowl pressure, Manning would because he played in a couple before. You could have just as easily said that Manning might react differently in each Super Bowl, as proved by his performance.

Aikman’s math problem came when he suggested the Broncos needed four touchdowns and three two-point conversions when they were down, 29-0. They just needed one two-pointer to tie if they scored four touchdowns. But math was hardly the Broncos’ problem.

Some other things of note:

Wide Right, Really? Before the game, Fox showed a highlight of Scott Norwood’s wide right field goal in the Bills’ first Super Bowl. Ouch. At least Norwood’s teammates, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, did a good job earlier reading excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.

Anthem Success: Rochester native Renee Fleming’s singing of the national anthem started a local Twitter debate over whether it was better than Whitney Houston’s rendition during the Bills’ first Super Bowl. I vote for Fleming, who sang live. Houston sang to a track.

The Commercials Were “Nothing”: Not even nutty ads featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert worked. The cellphone ad featuring ex-Bronco Tim Tebow was reasonably funny. I bet the pass he threw from the moon in the ad must have been intercepted. Poor Bruce Willis had the misfortune of saying “great game, huh” in his fourth quarter Honda ad.

Huh indeed? The debate today will be over whether Fox was stuck with the worst Super Bowl in history.


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