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MADDEN PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON 98-YEAR-OLD BUFFALO NATIVE

Some super and not-so-super notes on Super Bowl Weekend:

It took Buffalo's Jim Ailinger 98 years, but he finally has made an All-Madden Team. The All-Madden All-Millennium Team, that is.

Ailinger, a Hutchinson High School graduate who was born in 1901 and played guard for Buffalo's professional franchise in 1924, made the team as the oldest living professional football player.

He will talk with Madden and Miami coach Jimmy Johnson during Fox's broadcast of the All-Madden All-Millennium team at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on Channel 29.

According to a Fox publicist, Ailinger tells Johnson during a Miami practice that he played for $50 a game. That prompts Johnson to jokingly offer $100 for Ailinger to come out of his Florida retirement.

The All-Millennium team is part of Fox's seven-hour pregame show, which begins on Channel 29 at 11 a.m. Sunday.

* With the marquee matchup between defending Super Bowl champion Denver and an Atlanta team coached by former Bronco coach Dan Reeves, Fox can expect a rating between 42 and 45 for the game. It is averaging a 22.4 rating for the four NFC playoff games so far, up 13 percent from a year ago.

* Fox's pregame coverage actually starts at 2 p.m. today with some related shows. At 5 p.m., it carries "The Road to the Super Bowl," which includes in the first segment a brief mention of Bills quarterback Doug Flutie's play this season. Flutie is shown scoring his winning touchdown against Jacksonville. Andre Reed also is shown being interviewed about a bad officiating call in a segment that focuses on zebra mistakes. By the way, Flutie also visits the QVC channel between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today.

* If you can't get enough football, be assured that Fox Sports Net begins carrying an NFL Europe Game of the Week on April 17, and Fox will air games on the final four Sundays of the season starting June 6 and culminating with the World Bowl on June 27. The football season on Fox really only takes a two-month rest.

* The USA Network is giving Fox a taste of its own medicine. When Fox didn't have the rights to NFL games, it carried alternative halftime programming. This Sunday, USA is carrying WWF Halftime Heat, which will feature an uninterrupted championship match. The WWF is quite a competitor, too. This year, it did very well against Monday Night Football. The wrestling match will battle Fox halftime performers Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for viewers. Boy, I can't wait for Fox play-by-play man Pat Summerall to promote Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's halftime appearance.

* Some Syracuse fans were upset last Sunday when CBS and Channel 4 left the Orange's rout of South Carolina for a more competitive game. A CBS spokesperson said that, unlike Rochester and Syracuse, the Buffalo TV market wasn't locked in to the entire Syracuse game.

* If you want to be guaranteed that you will see Syracuse games during the NCAA tournament or games involving your favorite team, better find someone with Direct TV. The satellite service has announced that it will charge $39 for a package that allows residential subscribers to see all tournament games in the first three rounds and not just the ones offered by Channel 4. The charge for an individual game is $14.95.

* Cable's Fox Family Channel has announced that it plans to carry an original two-hour film April 18, "Michael Jordan: An American Hero." It stars Debbie Allen -- the wife of former Laker Norm Nixon -- as Jordan's mother, Ernie Hudson as his father, Robin Givens as his wife, Cordereau Dye as the young Michael and Michael Jace ("Boogie Nights," "Forrest Gump") as the adult Jordan. Good luck, Jace, trying to capture Jordan's charisma.

* Attempting to get a jump on Fox's Super Bowl coverage, the USA Network premieres a new Sunday morning show, "PGA Tour's Tee It Up," at 8. I suppose golfers are used to getting up that early. CBS also begins its golf schedule this weekend with coverage today and Sunday of the Phoenix Open. It is scheduled to end Sunday just before kickoff time.

* If you think a seven-hour Super Bowl pregame show is a little much, be warned that Fox chairman and CEO David Hill envisions a longer one.

"The appetite for football is going to get greater and greater and greater, and, yes, I think that within 10 years that we will probably be starting our broadcast of the Super Bowl at 7 on Saturday morning," Hill told critics in Los Angeles recently. I don't think he was kidding.

* At the same meeting, Fox personality Terry Bradshaw blasted the NFL product this season. "The product is not that good," said Bradshaw. "You've got the 49ers, the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys, who teased us. Philadelphia stinks, the Giants went backward because they had to play a first-place schedule, the Redskins are 8 and 8 or whatever. They always do something to save the head coach's job. Let's move across to the Detroit Lions. They stink. The Bears are bad. The St. Louis Rams are no good. I mean, there's not much out there. I'll tell you, it's boring."

Of course, his Fox teammate, Cris Collinsworth, disagreed. And this week, Summerall said during a conference call that he would never disparage the product that he is calling. The implication was that Bradshaw shouldn't have, either. But it was just a case of Bradshaw being Bradshaw.

Except he was more right than usual.

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