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FOOTBALL-HUNGRY CHANNEL SURFERS WILL GET THEIR FILL OF AFC EAST ACTION

Three days after Thanksgiving, local sports fans are going to have an AFC East feast. This Sunday is an unusual one on which all four teams fighting for the divisional title will appear on local television.

It also is an unusual Sunday because the Bills-New England game on CBS and Channel 4 at 4 p.m. will be opposite a 4 p.m. game between New Orleans and Miami on Fox and Channel 29.

The simultaneous games mean there is the potential for dial-switching, which Channel 4's and Channel 29's advertisers just have to love.

The one game without competition is the 1 p.m. game between Carolina and the New York Jets. The reason the Bills' game is getting competition is because this is a Fox doubleheader weekend, which means Channel 29 gets two games with the Bills on the road.

If it had been a CBS doubleheader weekend, Channel 4 surely would have carried a 1 p.m. game opposite a 1 p.m. Fox game and left the Bills without competition.

If the Bills lose to New England and Miami and the Jets lose, that would mean all four teams would be 7-5 going into the last quarter of the season.

By the way, CBS' second team of Verne Lundquist and Randy Cross will work the Bills-New England game for CBS.

Bonnie Bernstein of CBS' pregame show, "NFL Today," has a report Sunday (noon, Channel 4) about the blending of the Bills' old guard of Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed with the younger players. And presumably Doug Flutie, who is new but not younger.

Monday Night Football finally caught a break when the Patriots defeated Miami, 26-23, on a late drive in which New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe led his team down the field with a broken finger that made it tough for him to grip the ball.

The game featured another dumb move by Miami coach Jimmy Johnson, who lost his genius title earlier this season by going for it on fourth down and a yard to go on the Dolphins' 38-yard line in a game against the Bills. The play failed and the Bills scored on the ensuing change of possession that changed the game's momentum.

This time, the Dolphins went for a two-point conversion when leading 23-19 with about three minutes left.

Just before the play started, ABC's Al Michaels realized the stupidity of the decision. Michaels noted that if Miami kicked the point, it would have a 24-19 lead and could still win the game with a field goal if the Patriots scored a touchdown and kicked an extra point for a 26-24 lead.

Michaels ignored the probability that the Patriots probably would have tried for two points with a 25-24 lead to make it 27-24.

In any event, the Dolphins' two-point play failed, the Patriots scored and took a 26-23 lead. In the final seconds, the Dolphins were trying to get into position for a tying field goal rather than a winning attempt. Fortunately for Johnson's reputation, the Dolphins never got to try the kick.

One of the subplots in the Monday game was the recent announcement by Patriots owner Robert Kraft that the team was preparing to move to Hartford.

Michaels, Boomer Esiason and Dan Dierdorf all seemed to accept the owner's reasoning that he had tried everything to keep the team in Massachusetts.

It was clear from their conversation that if the Bills don't make their sales goal by Dec. 1 and owner Ralph Wilson tries to move the team, the city shouldn't expect any support from MNF's announcers.

Once again, Monday Night Football's schedule is missing some of the surprise teams in the league. The Bills, the NFC West-leading Atlanta Falcons, Oakland (7-4) and even high-scoring Arizona (6-5) aren't on the schedule, which is based on last season's records.

Meanwhile, ABC is promoting Monday's game between San Francisco and the New York Giants by saying the Giants aren't going anywhere and they want to spoil things for the 49ers. They'll have to promote San Fran's next appearance with Detroit and a Green Bay date with Tampa Bay the same way.

The final two MNF games look like good ones. The Denver-Miami game will be more attractive if the Broncos stay undefeated and try to match the record of the 1972 Dolphins. The final game between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh could have playoff ramifications.

On its Thanksgiving Day game, CBS premiered its own version of ESPN's "Firstand 10" line that shows viewers where a first down would be with a yellow line superimposed on the screen.

CBS' technology is similar, though the line is orange. The network won't be using it on all of its games because, unlike ESPN, it has several each week and not just one national game.

The technology will be on hand for the Bills' national home game with the New York Jets on Saturday, Dec. 19, and in four playoff games.

Phil Esposito, the former Boston Bruin great who helped put the Tampa Bay hockey franchise into the basement, has done what all failed team executives or coaches do. He's become an expert hockey analyst for Fox Sports News.

If you're a big Keith Olbermann fan and are excited about Olbermann leaving MSNBC to join Fox Sports Net, be advised that he won't be as visible on the Empire Sports Network as he is on other regional networks across the country.

Olbermann will anchor the 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. news highlights shows for ESPN's competitor. The problem is the 10 p.m. Fox News show will be pre-empted by Hockey Hotline on weeknights of Buffalo Sabres games. And that usually happens at least twice a week.

Bet you didn't know that Minnesota Gov.-elect Jesse "The Body" Ventura did radio analysis for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1989-90, then did commentary on the Minnesota Vikings network in 1991.

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