Behind the Broadcast: Calderone, Wyland kept noses to grindstone at Super Bowl

It was a lot of work and no play for local sportscasters Joe Calderone and Rodger Wyland at the Supe

Joe Calderone and Rodger Wyland spent last week in Glendale, Ariz., but they weren’t there to get away for a winter vacation.

Calderone, the sports director for Capital News 9, and Wyland, sports director at WNYT (Ch. 13) were covering the New York Giants at Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots. They weren’t

going to parties or hanging out with celebrities. It was work, work and more work all the time.

Not that they’re complaining. How often does one get to cover a Super Bowl? Calderone and Wyland were the only Capital Region sportscasters to make the journey to Arizona.

Calderone, who a few weeks ago thought he had no chance of going to the Super Bowl if the Giants got that far, was still pinching himself when he arrived in Arizona last Monday.

Calderone was doing double duty, providing reports for NY1, Time Warner’s New York City all-news channel. Time Warner also runs Capital News 9. He was filling in for NY1 sports anchor Tom McDonald, who was ill.

“Even when I got out there, I was still in shock,” Calderone said. “The only reason why I got [to go] was Tom McDonald had a heart attack, so they needed an extra hand. I got the chance to do stuff for them

every night. They had an hour-long call-in talkshow, so I did stuff there as a contributor. I did some stuff for us.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was the experience of a lifetime.”

This Super Bowl was much more fun for Wyland than the last one he covered seven years ago, when the Giants were beaten by Balt­imore, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Fla.

“This was a close game,” Wyland said of the Giants’ 17-14 win over the Patriots, ending New England’s quest for a perfect season. “There were so many different story lines.”

For Wyland, the pivotal day was the Friday before the game, the final time that Giants coach Tom Coughlin and the players were available to the media.

“The access the Giants gave us was great,” Wyland said. “To me, the whole week was made when we got a one-on-one [interview] Friday with Antonio Pierce and Tom Coughlin. The press conference stuff you can get off of the [satellite] feeds. But when you get a one-on-one with Coughlin on a Friday before the game, that makes it worthwhile.”

There’s no doubt that WNYT’s Giants pregame show prior to the preseason game it airs played a role in Wyland being included in the one-on-ones.

“Our relationship with the Giants through training camp helped get that done,” Wyland said. “It was nice of the Giants to provide that for the New York City stations, and then to allow us to be included in that was great.”

Calderone was exhausted when he got back Monday night.

“We flew into Newark, and [then] got lost in the Bronx,” Cald­erone said. “We didn’t get on the Thruway until about 11:30 [p.m.]. I got back into Albany at about 1:30 [a.m.], and didn’t get home until about 3. When I woke up the next day, I honestly didn’t know what day it was.”

Calderone did have one regret.

“I wish I got to go to P. Diddy’s party,” he said.

super rating

Fox didn’t get the first 50 rating in Super Bowl history, but it did have the most viewers ever to watch a Super Bowl.

An average of 97.5 million viewers watched the Giants upset the Patriots. The game eclipsed the previous Super Bowl record of 94.08 million, set when Dallas defeated Pittsburgh, in 1996.

However, Super Bowl XLII couldn’t topple “M*A*S*H.” The series finale in 1983 still holds the all-time record with 106 million viewers.

The game had everything a drama could want. The Patriots were trying to complete the first perfect season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins; the Giants had won three straight road playoff games. And the audience included viewers in two of the largest TV markets in the country.

“You might like your equation going in, but you still need some breaks going your way,” Fox sports president Ed Goren told The

Associated Press.

The closeness of the game probably played a role in drawing a

couple million viewers to the telecast’s average. The audience peaked at 105.7 million viewers between 9:30 and 10 p.m. — during the fourth quarter.

In the Boston area, 81 percent of the TV sets were tuned into the game. In New York, it was 67 percent.

end of era

After 31 years, “Inside the NFL” won’t be seen on HBO anymore.

Wednesday’s season finale was be the studio show’s last on the network, HBO announced.

“It has been a terrific franchise,” HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said in a release. “But the television landscape has changed quite a bit over the last 30 years, and we have to recognize the realities of the business. I’m not sure we had more than one competitor when the show launched in 1977.”

But “Inside the NFL” isn’t going away. The program is owned by NFL Films, and it is seeking to move the show to another network.

vitale returns

The college basketball season just didn’t seem the same without ESPN analyst Dick Vitale.

But after two months away, Vitale is back. He returned to the broadcast booth Wednesday for the Duke-North Carolina game.

Vitale had throat surgery Dec. 18. Doctors thought it could be cancer, but it turned out to be ulcers.

“That word [cancer] scares the life out of anyone,” Vitale said during a conference call Monday.

But he was prohibited from speaking for a month after the surgery. That had to be painful for him.

“There was a moment there I thought I’d never be behind a

microphone again,” Vitale said.

Now, admit it. You’ve missed him talking about the PTPers. You’ve missed him calling the basketball “The Rock.” You’ve missed him heaping praise on “General Robert Montgomery Knight.”

Quite frankly, it’s good to have him back. Yes, Vitale may be loud and over the top, but he has never lost his love for college basketball. The fans at the arenas adore him. He is a great ambassador for the sport.

All I can say is, “Awesome baby, with a capital A!”

Categories: Sports

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