A Man­ning, Cooper Man­ning, stars

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - NEIL BEST News­day

It was Su­per Bowl Sun­day, so nat­u­rally by midafter­noon a Man­ning brother was trend­ing in the U.S. on Twit­ter.

Sure, it was the Man­ning brother who is tied with Lady Gaga in ca­reer Su­per Bowl rings, but that’s OK, be­cause when it comes to the many, many tele­vi­sion hours be­fore the big game, any­thing that breaks the te­dium is wel­come.

And so it was when Cooper Man­ning, older brother of Pey­ton and Eli, took to the Fox red car­pet on Sun­day wear­ing a tuxedo.

He en­coun­tered ac­tor/pro­ducer Mark Wahlberg, who is from Bos­ton and a Pa­tri­ots fan.

Said Cooper: “The Fal­cons go­ing to do it to­day?”

Wahlberg said ... noth­ing. He merely glared.

“Things are off to a good start,” Man­ning said.

Wahlberg: “I’m just glad your lit­tle brother’s not here, so we’re in good shape.”

Man­ning: “Nor­mally, peo­ple don’t have a prob­lem with ‘E,’ but you have a lit­tle hos­til­ity here.”

Wahlberg: “I have a ma­jor prob­lem with those two fluke plays and ru­in­ing our per­fect sea­son ... But we’re here, and I have the ut­most re­spect for him.”

OK, so it was a lit­tle goofy, but again, those of us who watch pregame shows, which kicked off on the NFL Net­work at 9 a.m., can’t be choosy.

The of­fi­cial 4 ½ hours of Fox’s pregame show was largely for­mu­laic, which is not a slight. The af­ter­noon slogs on the three net­works that ro­tate Su­per Bowl cov­er­age are for­mu­laic by de­sign.

The point is to eat up a few hours, rack up de­cent rat­ings, pro­mote Fox shows and col­lect loose ad­ver­tis­ing and spon­sor­ship change to help pay the NFL rights fees. Pretty harm­less.

Fox had in­ter­views with the quar­ter­backs — Tom Brady said, “Hell, no!” when Terry Brad­shaw asked whether he might walk away if the Pa­tri­ots win — the half­time act, the pres­i­dent, some Xs and Os and some lo­cal flavour. An­a­lysts for both Fox and the NFL Net­work donned space suits dur­ing their visit to Houston.

Fox an­a­lyst Howie Long nar­rated a piece on him and his son, the Pa­tri­ots’ Chris Long, which was nice.

There was added in­trigue sur­round­ing the now-tra­di­tional Su­per Bowl Sun­day in­ter­view with the pres­i­dent, as it was Don­ald Trump’s first turn, and he is friendly with the Pa­tri­ots’ owner, coach and quar­ter­back.

Fox pre­ceded the in­ter­view with a piece on the sea­son-long con­tro­versy and de­bate sparked by 49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick’s de­ci­sion to sit and later kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them.

At the end of that seg­ment, Joe Buck said: “This is in­dis­putable: Like him or not, agree with him or not, Colin Kaeper­nick has done one thing. He has started a real con­ver­sa­tion on this topic, some­thing that’s much needed. And for that, he gets a lot of credit.”

Dur­ing his in­ter­view with Bill O’Reilly, Trump said, “I like Bob Kraft, I like coach Belichick, and Tom Brady is my friend.”

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