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Who's up for Tuesday football?

This is what I'm thinking:

* Is it over yet? I'm talking about Atlanta's 14-10 victory over Philadelphia on "Monday Night Football." It seemed to last almost as long as a Buffalo winter. I turned in about 11:30 p.m., an hour before it ended.

Instead of spending time on an introductory comic film piece and several minutes of pregame nonsense, ABC might consider something revolutionary. Like starting the game quickly to allow East Coast fans to get some sleep.

WKBW-TV, the local ABC affiliate, would benefit if more people were assured that the game would end sooner. Locally, the game featuring star quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick opened with a 21.5 rating, rose to as high as 22.6 and averaged an 18.7 in prime time. It fell to a 12.8 by midnight and ended with a 14.7.

Why does ABC delay? Because it gets as many viewers on the West Coast joining the game in progress after 9 p.m. local time to offset the East Coast viewer losses. But it still is darn annoying.

Almost as annoying as ABC's new halftime innovation of having Tim McGraw singing special lyrics to "I Like It, I Love It" to halftime highlights.

This isn't a highlight package, it's a music video. The fast-moving clips Monday included one of Troy Vincent's interceptions in the Bills' 22-7 victory over Houston. But none of the clips had any context, possibly because ABC expects you've seen them already.

And now a few seconds on a minute with Jimmy Kimmel. His Monday piece was about the rift between McNabb and his star receiver, Terrell Owens. Do we really need his take on it? Couldn't ABC save the time and actually extend the highlights package to include some, well, highlights?

Or perhaps spend more time on the eulogy for ABC legend Chris Schenkel. I grew up listening to Schenkel as the television voice of the New York Giants. He had a great set of pipes, a terrific enthusiasm level and a great way of describing plays. I would have preferred to hear one of his memorable calls, even on bowling, rather than hearing Kimmel babble on about Owens.

* Speaking of babbling, Chuck Dickerson, a/k/a "The Coach," is getting double coverage this Bills season. Besides appearing on WGR-AM Monday mornings, Dickerson does a postgame Sunday show on WHAM-AM in Rochester. In the first one, he said he was back "just like bad breath." Couldn't have said it any better.

* J.P. Losman should have his first advertising deal soon. In his postgame remarks last Sunday, he advised listeners that he took a sleeping pill the night before the game. Later, he thanked the pharmaceutical gods for Ambien. Oh, well, I suppose that is better than endorsing Viagra or Cialis at his age.

* The Bills' opener averaged about a 33.5 rating Sunday, which is the third-highest home opener since meters came to Buffalo in 2000 even though it was a beautiful day that wasn't ideal for sitting inside watching TV.

Drew Bledsoe's Dallas debut in a Cowboys road victory over the San Diego Chargers averaged a 14.0 rating on WUTV. That wasn't much higher than the 11.2 rating for Andre Agassi's four-set loss to Roger Federer in the U.S. Open men's final carried by WIVB. For tennis, that's an amazing local rating. It almost doubled the national average. Of course, the Bills lead-in helped.

* Speaking of Bledsoe, Channel 7 has decided to carry his game with the Washington Redskins at 9 p.m. Monday rather than stick with the special 7:30 p.m. game between New Orleans and the New York Giants. That game moves over to ESPN at 9 p.m. Channel 7 General Manager Bill Ransom said ABC gave local stations the option of carrying either game.

* Takeo Spikes didn't disappoint. The Bills' quote machine was the star of Thursday's premiere of the new NFL Network series, "Six Days to Sunday." The program gave an inside look at how the Bills linebackers studied and prepared for the season opener with Houston. Spikes and linebacker London Fletcher wore wireless microphones during the game. That enabled viewers to hear Spikes' reaction to a fumble he forced and to hear Fletcher declare "now, I'm ready" after losing his breakfast on the bench. That is what you call an inside look at the NFL.

* The University at Buffalo's home football opener against Rutgers tonight will be carried by the YES network because UB didn't ask it to be blacked out locally. After being outscored, 69-0, in its first two non-televised road games, UB had better score or else fans may root for blackouts.


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