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Continued: A heck of a phone call for ESPN to miss

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 6, 2008 - 6:51 PM

As ESPN replayed the message Brett Favre left for Chris Mortensen after news of the quarterback's retirement broke Tuesday morning, one thought came to mind.

How on earth did the ESPN reporter miss that call? These were the only public comments from the Packers' star Tuesday, and Mortensen had to get them off the voice mail on his cell phone.

Bill Hofheimer, a member of ESPN's communications department, explained that Mortensen was unable to answer because he was on ESPN's "First Take" discussing the Favre situation.

"Brett left him a three-minute voice mail," Hofheimer said. "He was clear that what he was saying could be used for attribution. Brett wanted to get it out there in terms of the reasons why he was retiring. People were talking about the implications of [the Packers not pursuing receiver Randy] Moss, and he wanted to be clear about why he was retiring."

Mortensen wasn't the only national reporter who missed Favre's call. Peter King of Sports Illustrated also found he had a voice mail from the future Hall of Fame quarterback. But King didn't fail to pick up because he was on television or radio ... he was in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on a seven-day USO trip with NFL players.

Don't bet on it

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he'd be "shocked" if Favre ended up in the television booth analyzing NFL games but added "he'd be great at it." It's not certain the latter part of McCarthy's statement would be true.

Just because an athlete is a good quote doesn't mean he will make a smooth transition into the media world. This has been proven time and time again. (On the flip side, former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman was a boring quote in his playing days but is now a top-notch analyst.)

In Favre's case he often provided great quotes but had a tendency to ramble on and in doing so provided a great nugget or two. Analysts, at least good ones, are able to keep it succinct. It's highly doubtful Favre would be able to do so.

Political pressure

Comcast and the Big Ten Network continue to negotiate, but it's unclear if the sides are close to reaching a deal. Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul, recently introduced a bill that would lead to binding arbitration if Comcast and the BTN can't settle.

Comcast and BTN are not interested in seeing government get involved in what they consider a private business matter, but Johnson clearly wants results and said the bill could move forward next session if something doesn't get done.

"This was introduced by me as kind of a wake-up call to Comcast and the Big Ten that they need to get their act together and get this issue solved with respect to Gophers and Big Ten programming," Johnson said. "I don't see the bill necessarily passing this year, but we're going to hold it in committee as a way to send a signal that the expectation is that they are to go about their business and ensure citizens have an opportunity to watch our university teams."

With the Big Ten basketball season winding down -- the network will carry nine games from the women's conference tournament and three from the men's -- Comcast might not have much incentive to strike a deal until next football season.

Different approach

KFAN midday talkers Paul Allen and Jeff Dubay will take their act to the television airwaves Saturday.

FSN North is planning to use the pair to host its doubleheader coverage of the Gophers men's hockey game against Minnesota Duluth and the Timberwolves-Clippers matchup. Allen and Dubay will be on from Mariucci Arena at 6 p.m., an hour before the Gophers' faceoff, and eventually will end up back at the FSN studios for the remainder of the night.

Jeff Byle, executive producer at FSN North, promises this won't be a "typical pregame" and said Telly Hughes will be at the NBA City restaurant in Target Center throughout the evening to interact with patrons.

"What we're going to do is explore a little different way of presenting the evening than we have in the past," said Byle, adding there is "no commitment" to pair Allen and Dubay on FSN beyond Saturday.

Judd Zulgad • jzulgad@startribune.com

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 80 4th Qtr 7:31
Miami 89
LA Clippers 97 4th Qtr 7:17
Minnesota 91
New Orleans 60 3rd Qtr 5:56
Dallas 68
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 0 2nd Prd 2:11
Chicago 4
Montreal 9:00 PM
San Jose
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 55 2nd Half 0:45
Howard 55
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 70 2nd Half 2:02
Delaware State 82
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 77 1st OT 2:11
New Orleans 71
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 54 2nd Half 7:47
Savannah State 34
Texas Southern 40 2nd Half 14:35
Alabama A&M 38
Prairie View 29 2nd Half
Alabama State 30
Oklahoma 37 2nd Half
Iowa State 18
Grambling St 29 2nd Half 15:37
Miss Valley St 33
Boston College 41 2nd Half 20:00
Virginia Tech 28
Jackson State 24 1st Half 7:00
Ark-Pine Bluff 24
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 63 2nd Half 0:34
(6) Baylor 71
Iowa State 57 2nd Half 0:25
Kansas 61
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 59 2nd Half 1:00
Oklahoma St 51

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