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Neil Best

Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985 after a two-year stint covering college hockey for The Anchorage Times in Alaska. From 1985-90 he covered New York City high school sports, then spent five years as Newsday's beat writer for St. John's and Big East basketball. From 1995-2005 he covered the Giants before leaving that beat to become a reporter, columnist and feature writer focused on off-field topics such as sports media and business. His SportsWatch column debuted on Sept. 30, 2005.

CBS adds Chris Simms to depth chart

Tennessee Titans quarterback Chris Simms warms up before

Tennessee Titans quarterback Chris Simms warms up before a preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans on Monday, Aug. 23, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. (Credit: AP / Wade Payne)

Travel deals

Chris Simms never has worked in the TV booth for an NFL game, but his father, Phil, believes he will be a natural.

For one thing, he knows the game. For another, he likes to talk.

And this: "He's a smart [aleck]," Phil said. "It's genetic."

It will be a while before New York-area fans get to hear Chris, who is scheduled to analyze three relatively low-profile games for CBS this season, beginning with Titans-Bengals in Week 3.

But Simms, 34, figures to move up in the TV world if he chooses to follow his father's post-playing path.

"I think he has great potential,"' Phil said. "He was raised to do it in this way. Him, me, my wife, anyone who walks into our house, most likely the conversation is going to center around football and we're going to talk about it. That's the way we've been our whole lives."

Said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus: "He's better looking and more articulate than his father is; he got his good looks from his mother . . . We're starting him very slowly on a few small games and we'll see how he grows, but he's got a great football mind and has worked not only as a player but as an assistant coach also."

Simms was a coaching and scouting assistant for the Patriots the past two seasons, but with two young children he sought a more family-friendly schedule. His primary job now is as head NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.

"I struggled with that," he said. "I was offered another job in the NFL, and that sparked a discussion with my wife: Are we going to live this life and move every two or three years to climb the ladder? This is a little more stable.

"My kids can grow up. This is still work. but I get home at a decent hour and see my kids every night."

Simms worked some college games for Fox last season, but moving to the NFL should be seamless, since it is his job at Bleacher Report to know what is going on around the league.

"I have to know everybody," he said. "I really know, I'm not going to say everything, but a lot about every team."

Standing in a room full of CBS and NFL Network experts at a media luncheon last month, his father said: "I would bet you that nobody in this room knows as much about the NFL as he does, because he follows every team closely for his job. That's what he likes doing."

Has Phil offered any broadcasting advice? Not really, beyond just being himself.

"It always comes down to this: When you have knowledge of something, it's easy to talk about," Phil said. "That's the biggest thing. Even if you never talk about it you have to know it in the back of your head, because it frees up your mind."

Chris played in parts of five seasons for the Buccaneers, Titans and Broncos, but never fully recovered from a life-threatening ruptured spleen early in the 2006 season.

"That's the frustrating thing; I feel like I could still play physically," he said. "My injury kind of put a damper on my career. It was an uphill battle for me to ever get back.

"I don't know if I ever got back to 100 percent of me, but close to it. Really, what happens in the NFL is I just got a little unfortunate in that I didn't get to play in some regular-season games and then perception becomes reality after a while and people start to think: Is there something wrong with him?"

Simms said he relished watching his younger brother, Matt, get a chance to play for the Jets last season. Matt is on the team's practice squad to start the 2014 season.

"It's awesome, the best," Chris said. "We're so happy for him. He's been so unlucky with how his college career went down, but he's in a good spot . . . He has a lot of talent. He just has to hang around, get NFL reps.

"I don't care how hard you practice. Until 300-pound guys are trying to rip your head off, that cannot be simulated anywhere else but on the game field."

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Brandon Marshall to perform high-wire act on 'Inside the NFL'

The Chicago Bears' Brandon Marshall sits on the

(Credit: AP / Stephen Brashear)

The venerable “Inside the NFL’’ on Showtime has a different look for this season, including a new night (Tuesday), a new host (Greg Gumbel) and new cast members (Boomer Esiason, Ed Reed).

But all of that is trumped by this: Among the new analysts will be Brandon Marshall, who happens also to be an active player as a receiver for the Bears.

The team approved of the plan, which most weeks...

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Is NFL overdoing it in prime time?

Al Michaels

(Credit: Al Michaels (Getty Images))

NFL games on Thursdays are nothing new, but putting them on a major broadcast network is – and that’s exactly what the league will do early this season on CBS.

Might that dilute NBC’s Sunday night and ESPN’s Monday night packages, or is there no end to fans’ appetites?

I asked the lead voice of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,’’ the most-viewed prime time show in America three years running.


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Matching wits: CBS' new No. 2 NFL team is Fouts, Eagle

DAN FOUTS (Inducted 1993) Team: Chargers (1973-83) Games:

(Credit: AP)

There are no changes this season in the lead NFL booths at CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN, but both CBS and Fox have new No. 2s.

Fox has elevated Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch, part of a meteoric rise for Burkhardt that will see him depart as SNY’s Mets reporter later this month.

CBS moved up Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts to succeed Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf after Dierdorf retired from the network....

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Oh my: Dick Enberg still talkin' baseball

Dick Enberg interviews Roger Federer.

(Credit: CBS / Jeffrey R. Staab)

Dick Enberg, who has been summoned to call one last U.S. Open match for CBS Sunday, rarely works on national television anymore, which leads many sports fans to assume he has retired.

“Oh, I get that all the time,’’ he said. “People say, ‘Hey, what are you doing now that you’re retired?’ I say, ‘Well, let’s start with 140 games a season.’’’

Enberg, who turns 80 in January, has been the...

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'The Simpsons' are good sports

"Always feel with your heart, although it's better

(Credit: FOX)

With FXX’s 12-day, 552-episode marathon of “The Simpsons’’ winding down at last, soon it will be time to eat, sleep and reconnect with family members.

First, this observation: Until the network strung together the entire quarter century, I did not fully appreciate the depth of sports-themed shows in the archives. once did a list of the best 100 sports moments on the show...

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SNY to profile Dwight Gooden in documentary

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Dwight Gooden, the last professional athlete I followed as an unabashed fan before I turned into a crusty, cynical old sportswriter, turns 50 this autumn. Fifty! Say it ain’t so, Doc.

Anyway, on at 9:30 p.m. Monday SNY will get a jump on the retrospectives surrounding that milestone – as well as the 30th anniversary of his first Mets season – when...

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For CBS, final U.S. Open is a labor of love

Dick Enberg interviews Roger Federer.

Dick Enberg interviews Roger Federer. (Credit: CBS / Jeffrey R. Staab)

It started with Arthur Ashe winning the first U.S. Open in 1968, and it will end at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2014.

"A lot of great memories here," CBS' Bill Macatee said Wednesday, standing amid the steamy bustle of another tennis afternoon in Flushing, "and very sad that this era is ending."

It is fitting that Macatee will do the honors Sept. 8 when he calls the men's final, given his nearly quarter-century association with the event, initially on USA Network, then CBS.

But he is but one of many old network hands for whom the final Open before ceding full control to ESPN in 2015 has been a wrenching experience.

"Emotionally, for a lot of people, there are some deep feelings," said Dick Enberg, CBS' lead Open voice from 2000-2011, who will call a match Sunday with analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo for old times' sake.

Enberg also will write and narrate a video look back at CBS' nearly five decades in Queens next weekend.

"They've asked me to take 47 years and condense it into four or five minutes," he said. "I enjoy writing, and that'll be a nice challenge."

The move from CBS to ESPN -- which has had cable rights to the Open since 2009 -- is but the latest on a long list of sports properties that have shifted from broadcast to cable, including Wimbledon from NBC to ESPN in 2012.

This one shocked no one in the business, given the 11-year, $825-million price ESPN was willing and able to pay and CBS could not justify, given tennis' lackluster ratings and lack of American stars -- not to mention the vagaries of rain delays.

Still, while CBS' relationship with the tennis Open isn't quite as long or passionate as its one with the Masters, the next 10 days mark a historical milestone in sports TV.

When Ashe won the first U.S. championship of the Open era at Forest Hills, Bud Collins and Jack Kramer called four hours of action over two days. (Virginia Wade won the women's final over Billie Jean King, for whom the entire National Tennis Center now is named.)

Enberg called Sunday's guest gig "a chance to represent Pat Summerall and Bud Collins and John Newcombe and Tony Trabert and Tim Ryan and Bill Macatee."

"I'm honored," Enberg said. "When I've shared it with my friends, they had the same reaction: That's really great. It will be nice to hear you one more time on tennis."

Enberg, 79, who is taking the weekend off from his job as the Padres' play-by-play man, credited Collins' mentoring on tennis early in his long run calling Wimbledon for NBC.

He marvels at the fact more people he runs into tell him they miss him on tennis than on basketball or football.

"It's amazing, because I was a farm kid [in Michigan] and there wasn't a tennis court within 15 miles, and if my dad had found me with a tennis racket he'd have used it to spank my [butt]," Enberg said.

Macatee's first big match at the Open was Jimmy Connors' five-set victory over Patrick McEnroe on USA in 1991. He said calling Serena Williams' 1999 championship for CBS his favorite Open moment.

"There was so much anticipation for the Williams sisters, so much promise," he said. "And then it was Serena, the younger of the sisters, who won the first Grand Slam. You knew there were going to be many more."

Macatee noted how far the facility and event have come since the '90s -- and in the half century since he first visited the area for the World's Fair.

"I came here as a 9-year-old and stood by that Unisphere," he said. "Now I'm working a few thousand yards away from it as a 58-year-old man. So it's kind of neat."

Enberg will try to sum it all up next weekend.

"If somebody was writing the book, that would be 800, 900 pages," he said. "I'm going to try to do whatever I can in four minutes to pay tribute to the Open as CBS has covered it."

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Melo, Eli among investors in secondary ticket site

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 15: Professional basketball

(Credit: Getty Images / Jason Merritt)

Need a difficult-to-get ticket to a big game?

Eli Manning or Carmelo Anthony might be able to hook you up.

SeatGeek, the secondary ticket market search engine, announced Thursday it had raised $35 million in financing, with Anthony, Manning and Manning's brother Peyton among the investors.

Here is Bloomberg's story on the transaction, since reading the original news release turned...

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Josh Lewin's radio partner suspended for anti-Semitic joke

The new Mets radio announcer Josh Lewin will

(Credit: Handout)

No, not Howie Rose!

It was Josh Lewin's other radio partner - Hank Bauer, who works Chargers games with him - who landed in hot water thanks to an anti-Semitic joke he made during San Diego's preseason game against the 49ers.

Bauer was suspended for Thursday night's preseason finale against the Cardinals.

Lewin's primary summer job is calling Mets games on WOR radio....

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