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Harlan, Gannon to call Bills game streamed from London in NFL experiment

This is what I’m thinking:

The Bills game Sunday against the Jaguars in London, England is going to get one of CBS’ better announcing teams even though the only CBS affiliates carrying it are in Buffalo (Channel 4) and Jacksonville.

Play-by-play man Kevin Harlan and analyst Rich Gannon – who had a strong performance in the Bills’ 40-32 home loss to New England – will call the action for a game only seen for free in the rest of the nation and around the world via a live stream on Yahoo! Jamie Erdahl is the sideline reporter.

When Yahoo! won the rights in June, the move of the game from a broadcast network to an internet company was described by the New York Times as a National Football League experiment to judge the league’s popularity in the rest of the world. Yahoo, which reportedly has a billion users worldwide, is expected to heavily promote its other content during the webcast, according to the Times.

According to multiple reports in Rochester, even Bills fans in that nearby Western New York city won’t be able to see the game on their local CBS affiliate. However, that shouldn't make Rochester fans with the right smart TVs want to shout expletives. They shouldn’t be inconvenienced. Many of those TVs make it so easy to move streamed internet content to TVs that fans won’t notice any difference from what they are seeing if the game had been carried on a CBS affiliate. It is the same way many fans get Netflix on smart TVs. Rochester fans also can see the game streamed on smart phones, computers and game consoles.

In the Bills loss to the Patriots, Gannon, a former Pro Bowler at quarterback, did a strong job explaining how Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dissected the supposedly strong Bills defense and the analyst even took one deserved shot at Coach Rex Ryan.

Gannon was shocked that the Bills tried to cover tight end Gronkowski at one point with linebacker Nigel Bradham. “I don’t know what Rex Ryan is thinking,” said Gannon. “How can you expect a linebacker to cover that guy down the seam?”

It will be interesting to hear what Gannon says Sunday about the complaints that the Bills' high-priced defensive line has about Ryan's defensive scheme.

It is a good thing for wide receiver Sammy Watkins that Tony Dungy isn’t coaching the Buffalo Bills.

Here’s what the former Indianapolis Colts coach and current NBC pregame analyst said Sunday about Watkins’ plea for more targets before the Cincinnati game: “I didn’t go off on players very much, but I would have gone off on Sammy Watkins, if he played for me. If you say that to me or you say that in the meeting rooms, then maybe you’re trying to be constructive. If you say it to the media, that’s selfish, and you can’t have selfish football.”

Dungy is now a member of the media but he still is asked to think like a coach. The majority of the media certainly wouldn't bite the hand that feeds them and complain about a player who gave this newspaper some great copy and other media organizations something to talk about. Besides, Watkins was right about deserving and needing more targets. In a way, what Watkins said isn't much different than what the Bills defensive line said about the scheme they have been asked to play. Dungy probably wouldn't like that, either.

Buffalo Sabres fans clearly want to believe in the National Hockey League team. The Sabres 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday had a healthy 7.6 rating on MSG on a very busy sports Saturday night. The rating is in the territory of the live ratings of such popular entertainment programs here “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Empire.” Of course, those programs get enhanced viewing three or seven days after they originally air.

It is smart of former Channel 4 sports anchor Steve Vesey to join former Channel 7 sports anchor Jeff Russo in making the move from anchoring sports to anchoring news.

Vesey will be anchoring news at the Youngstown, Ohio station that he is joining shortly. Channel 4 isn’t the only TV station nationally to drop a regular 6 p.m. sportscast and reduce the amount of time it gives to cover sports other than those played by professional teams.

Besides that, being a news anchor can eventually pay much better and the hours certainly are more conducive to family life. Vesey and his wife have four young children.

Here’s one of my more popular tweets of the last few weeks. It was about Larry David’s performance in the opening of “Saturday Night Live” as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders: “Actually, I think Bernie Sanders is impersonating Larry David, not the other way around.”

It was inspired casting by “SNL.” During the Democratic debate last week, a number of people thought Sanders sounded like David’s off-camera voice impersonation of New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner on “Seinfeld.”

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