Watchdog

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Fox producer: Richard Sherman interview was getting 'dangerous'

Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman holds up the George Halas Trophy after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 23-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Credit: AP)

Come tomorrow the countdown to Super Bowl XLVIII will be into the single digits of days, but in the meantime there is much typing and talking to do.

Today I killed two cordless phone batteries and risked some vintage, 1990s-style RSI in my hands with three interviews plus two Fox conference calls totaling about 100 minutes.

All good, though. Who has it better than those of us who get to cover Super Bowls for a living. NO ONE! That's who.

Anyway, one interesting thing that came out of the second of today's two Fox calls was producer Richie Zyontz saying the following about why he told Erin Andrews to "send it back to Joe [Buck]" Sunday, thus putting an end to her notorious interview with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman:

“I saw a train coming down the tracks,” Zyontz said, as transcribed by SI's Richard Deitsch because I was too lazy to do it myself. "It was compelling television. And like Joe had mentioned earlier [during the conference call] we kind of had a preview of that in our production meeting [with Sherman].

"It started crossing over a line that I did not want to see us go. Erin handled it very well, but I kind of said, Let’s end this thing. He’s a good guy, an intelligent guy, an emotional guy and it was very compelling  to watch. But it started getting a little dangerous for us.”

Earlier in the call Buck had said Sherman discussed his feud with Michael Crabtree in the pregame production meeting with Fox personnel on Friday.

“He wasn’t crazy,” Buck said. “We went player by player and obviously as a corner he is going to cover a lot of guys. He said he [Crabtree] was a mediocre receiver, which is what he said to the world after the game, anyway.

"You know those meetings are really privileged information and this kind of went into a different category and it was not our place or our desire to start up any personal feuds that a guy may have with another guy. If we start down that path as announcers, I think we are working our way into a dumb area. That is not something we are about.

"Richard handled that the way Richard wanted to handle that after the game and it was maybe surprising to know that what he told us in a seemingly quiet moment, he said to the world.”

Earlier in the day Fox studio analysts Terry Bradshaw and Michael Strahan spoke to reporters, and Bradshaw doggedly stuck to his previously stated opinion that holding a Super Bowl in a cold weather region such as New York is a bad idea.

"I’ve said I just preferred having the best chance of having the game in a good weather city," he said. "It should be more of a reward, not necessarily for the city or the NFL, but for the players . . . Being a Fox employee I’m happy for our network and it’s going to be unique and all of that, but as a player I would not want it."

Later in the call a New Jersey-based reporter noted that Bradshaw often refers to the game being played in New York. He apologized and said he would not let it happen again.

"I don't want [Gov. Chris] Christie and that bunch coming after me," he said.

I asked Strahan whether he has thought much about being a favorite to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend:

"You know, to be honest with you, I haven't really thought about it much," he said. "There is so much on my plate I don’t wake up and say, 'The voting is getting closer and closer.' . . . It's one of those things that you have no control over. You just sit back and hope it happens because it’s an incredible honor to be one of the best players.

"I don’t dwell on it. I just kind of go about my day and we’ll see what happens on Saturday."

Fox Sports president Eric Shanks said the network would be prepared to adjust if the NFL has to move the game because of inclement weather. He said if the game were moved it could actually help ratings.

"You would have a lot of pretty massive, built-in promotion," he said. "The game being delayed would be a kind of global news story . . . If there were anybody in the United States who didn’t know about the game, they might know if the game was delayed."

Tags: Fox

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