Listening to Greg Olsen make his Super Bowl debut on Sunday as Fox Sports’ NFL color commentator, it was hard not to wonder how Tom Brady would handle such a broadcast.
After all, Brady will replace Olsen in time for the 2024 season. Fox reportedly awarded the retiring quarterback a 10-year, $375 million contract, but there’s no guarantee Brady would deliver the way Olsen did during the season. Kansas City Chiefs 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57.
From kickoff to the game’s final play, the TV duo of Kevin Burkhardt and Olsen sounded more like Super Bowl veterans — sharp, informative, and prepared — than rookies.
And Olsen stood out with his assessment of the game’s most critical game.
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Seize the day
With the Chiefs facing third-and-8 at the Eagles 15-yard line with 1:54 to play, a defensive stop likely would have forced the Chiefs to attempt a field goal and given the Eagles ample time to march down the field on the next possession.
But Eagles cornerback James Bradberry, paired with Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, was called up for defensive holding. The penalty gave the Chiefs a first down, but nearly sealed the game outcome and set up Olsen.
“I don’t love that call,” she said.
It sounded louder on the telecast.
“I think on this stage, I think you let them play,” she said. “…I think you let them play, finish this thing.”
After the match, Bradberry admitted it was the right call.
After further review
Mike Pereira, a former vice president of officiating for the National Football League and rules analyst for Fox Sports, said he believed holding was the right call. But Olsen, a former tight end who played 14 years in the NFL but is a rookie broadcast analyst, stood by him.
“Let’s go back to this penalty,” he said, as he described the replay of Bradberry trying to defend Smith-Schuster. “I understand what you’re saying, Mike. He’s trying to run a little whip route, sell the shallow cross, I know he’s got that right hand (on Smith-Schuster), I get that. I just think right now, oh, man, that’s a game-changing penalty.”
Olsen could have been slightly firmer, but it was refreshing to hear him take a stand no matter how many Chiefs fans might beg Fox Sports to urge Brady to start as soon as possible. It’s Brady who asked for the next year off.
Treble from the Fox Sports broadcast
♦ When the Chiefs delayed after winning the coin toss, Burkhardt and Olsen were quick when they suggested a call might be worth considering. On their opening drives this season, Burkhardt pointed out, the Eagles had scored 10 touchdowns. And they promptly did it again.
♦ After Jalen Hurts fumbled the ball and it was returned for a touchdown to tie the score at 14-14 in the second quarter, sideline reporter Tom Rinaldi spoke of Hurts’ composure.
He also said Hurts was taking responsibility for the costly blunder, and the video showed Hurts talking to each of his starting offensive linemen. The sideline report was prophetic as Hurts led the Eagles to a touchdown on their next drive and a 24-14 lead at the half.
♦ A botched 42-yard field goal attempt by Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker at the first quarterback was more fun than expected.
“He hits the post!” Burkhardt exclaimed. “Not good! And so a good journey ends with the doink.
“Why don’t we hear it?”
Right on cue, producers at Fox Sports played video and audio of the ball hitting the left post. Doinkalicious.
Basses from the Fox Sports broadcast
Rinaldi handled Fox’s on-field interview after the game with Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
“What does this moment mean to you, Andy?” she asked.
Reid replied: “It means a lot. I could kiss you right now, but I won’t.”
It was a funny moment and there were too few of them during the broadcast.
♦ After Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had three catches in Kansas City’s first nine plays, Olsen used a telestrator to help explain how the Chiefs were taking advantage of Kelce’s mismatches. It was an insightful analysis. But there was no explanation when Kelce failed to catch a ride the rest of the game.
At halftime, Fox revealed that Hurts had switched his studs in an apparent attempt to get better footing on the slippery ground. Fox has continued to do a good job of updating viewers on the situation. But considering the network had two reporters on the sidelines, it probably wouldn’t have taken that long to brief viewers about the Super Bowl that felt like the Slippery Bowl at times.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Super Bowl 2023 on Fox Sports: Highlights from Sunday’s Broadcast