1. Fox’s top broadcast team, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen had the best NFL postseason, not the Chiefs. Burkhardt and Olsen slipped under the radar for the majority of the regular season as Fox’s “A” crew was replaced by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who both left for ESPN last year.
But with stand-alone games and monster viewership in the postseason, fans took notice of how well the duo worked together, with Olsen especially emerging as a fan favorite for his calm manner and smart analysis.
Burkhardt and Olsen, however, proved they were more than ready for the Super Bowl spotlight. During the second quarter, Burkhardt called Nick Bolton’s 36-yard fumble recovery touchdown superbly, conveying the shock of the play with his voice.
Burkhardt also had a great call of Kadarius Toney’s 65-yard punt return in the fourth quarter that set up a Chiefs touchdown, changing his voice level as the run unfolded. During the biggest play of the game, James Bradberry’s holding of JuJu Smith-Schuster late in the fourth quarter, Burkhardt immediately let viewers know there was a flag on the field.
There’s no doubt Burkhardt would call it an excellent game. As smooth as any play-by-play person today, he knows when to raise his voice and when to lay out. Every call was perfect. But he was working his first Super Bowl in front of 100 million-plus viewers and needed one flub or botch.
Olsen continued his streak of strong broadcasts by explaining every play clearly, succinctly, and without overhyping. Olsen stays even-keeled, so it makes a bigger impact when he gets overly excited. Like when Olsen implored Jerick McKinnon to get down. “He’s gotta get down; he’s gotta get down,” Olsen demanded, jumping into Burkhardt’s call.
When Olsen appeared on the SI Media Podcast in December, I criticized him for being too easy on the refs. That certainly wasn’t the case last night. In the second quarter, Olsen was all over the refs for missing a clear holding or pass interference call against the Eagles.
Olsen only has one minor criticism from me. At this stage, you let them play. I think at this moment, whoa, man. That’s a game-altering penalty. It changes the entire complexion of how this classic game will end.”
Olsen could have explained more about what was going on during the game, with the constant slipping by players becoming a theme. As a former player, he could’ve explained what was going on with their cleats and offered insight into how frustrating it is for players to slip over and over and whether it will affect them mentally.
2. I don’t want to go on another rant about Mike Periera and the use of a “rules expert,” so I’m just going to point out two things. During the DeVonta Smith helmet catch, which ended up with the refs ruling it a no-catch, Pereira explained in such a word salad that I still have no idea what he was trying to say.
Burkhardt’s only blunder of the evening was attempting to explain to us why Pereira deserves his acclaim as “the best in the business” by outlining how he informed us Kenneth Gainwell’s first-quarter TD had been voided due to his elbow touching down short of the endzone.
It was no mystery – anybody with their eyes open noticed that, so there isn’t an explanation required from Pereira. And it defies logic why seeing what we can see for ourselves made him “the best in the business.”
3. As I mentioned in today’s lede, I wanted more information about the slippery surface. Erin Andrews clarified the reason for the lack of information about Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury.
It is revealing that Andy Reid doesn’t talk to reporters at halftime during any game when the Chiefs trail. As I mentioned last week, I love Andy Reid, but that sounds a little weak.
4. Most NFL media people picked the Eagles to beat the Chiefs. Nate Burleson correctly predicted the final score of Super Bowl LVII.
5. When it came to the controversial holding call at the end of the game, NBC Sports Philly analyst Michael Barkann did not censor himself.
6. SI Media With Jimmy Traina features an interview with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic. Among the topics discussed are Tom Brady’s decision to take a year off before joining Fox.
Tony Romo’s recent backlash, Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams’ nasty back-and-forth on First Take, Radio Row, and the WWE’s most exciting storyline in recent years.