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The Best of Neil's Watchdog

Abe Vigoda = George Halas

ESPN and the NFL are partnering on a Vince Lombardi biopic for 2012 that stars Robert De Niro, news that inspired Twitterers across the land to offer creative casting suggestions for other roles.

Mine: Abe Vigoda as George Halas, Randy Couture as Ray Nitschke, Kevin James as Fuzzy Thurston. Some of the others (sorry not to credit everyone individually):

Tom Landry: Patrick Stewart, Ed Harris, Anthony Edwards, Ed Burns, Matt Damon, Robert Duvall, George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Burt Reynolds

Max McGee: Nick Nolte, Ryan Gosling, David Schwimmer, Luke Wilson, Adam Sandler

Zeke Bratkowski: Jim Sorgi

Bart Starr: Clooney, Brett Favre, Ben Affleck

Paul Hornung: Seth Rogen, Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo DiCaprio

E-mail me your ideas at nbest@newsday.com and I'll share the best on my blog.

 

Enberg called '61 final! Oh, my

This NCAA Tournament will be the 50th since CBS' Dick Enberg, 75, first called the Final Four in 1961.

Enberg, then an Indiana graduate student, was seen only on stations in Columbus and Cincinnati as Cincinnati beat Ohio State in the final in Kansas City. He recently found his paycheck: $200. He earned it.

"In those days, they did a consolation game," he said. "Utah played St. Joe's. I'm getting ready, and I'm nervous as hell. I'm doing the national championship game!

"Utah and St. Joe's went [four] overtimes. We're coming on at 9 for the championship game and they go right through 9 o'clock. I don't know anything about these teams, and I have no color man. But I start picking it up.

"Then, alone, I had to fill the whole half hour between games. I did everything but interview the guy sweeping the floor.''

 

New gig for Enberg

Speaking of Enberg, he will be the lead TV voice of the Padres this season, with "breaks'' only to call Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Won't that be grueling for a 75-year-old?

"I've done it before,'' he said. "But I know I'm not as young as I once was. I realize there will be some 0-for-4s.''

Enberg said his wife is skeptical, wondering whether there will be a hot mid-summer day when Enberg calls from the road and says, "Can you come and take me home?''

(I spoke to Enberg Tuesday, a day before Merlin Olsen died. Friday he said of his friend and colleague: "God doesn't create perfect men, but he came mighty close when he brought us Merlin Olsen.''')

 

Andrews dresses up like 'a girl'

Newsday.com generated quite a bit of traffic with a video in which ESPN's Erin Andrews discusses her role on "Dancing With the Stars." In said video she wears a dress not customary in her regular line of work.

"Yeah, this is just not the attire you would see on a football field or the sidelines of a college basketball game,''' she said. "It's nice to dress up and be a girl for once.''

Ms. Andrews also expresses concern over her "bow legs.''

Hmm. I'm still rooting for Buzz Aldrin.

 

Ochocinco's dating game

The decline of Western Civilization is scheduled to continue apace in July with a reality series on VH1 starring Chad Ochocinco called (for now) "The Tournament.'''

Ochocinnco will travel the country in search of 85 women potentially interested in dating him, then whittle the field to 16 for a bracket-style competition.

Winners of each dating faceoff will receive a game ball. When he gets to the final two . . . well, let the news release tell it:

"The championship date between the two remaining women will result in Ochocinco awarding his chosen love the coveted Championship Ring. Hopefully, she turns out to be his greatest catch this season!''

 

'Ack Ack' lands on his feet

Remember my story about Rich Ackerman of MSG Varsity / WFAN / Sirius and his "Bachelor"-style dating adventure on "Live with Regis and Kelly?''

The audience chose a woman named Rachel, and the two had a pleasant evening at dinner and a Rangers game.

One month later, it turns out that pairing did not result in a love connection, but fear not: Ackerman has been dating Samara Churgin - another of the three finalists.

Hey, you never know. That's amore.

Regis Philbin foresaw this when I first spoke to him:

"If it doesn't work out [with Rachel]," he said, "I'm sure Ack Ack has access to all of those other phone numbers. It's up to him."

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