Media-related tidbits, mostly from this week’s World Congress of Sports convention in Miami:• CBS’ Dan Marino, mulling a list of Dolphins quarterback options, said Chad Henne is starter-worthy but cited Carson Palmer as one veteran who would interest him if he were running the team, but not for a high pick.
“I’ve always liked Carson,” Marino said after addressing sports business executives. “For a third-rounder, I would do it.”
The Miami Herald previously reported the Dolphins have an interest in Palmer, who has said he will retire if the Bengals don’t trade him. Trades cannot be made during the lockout, and there are conflicting reports whether they would consider dealing him. They likely would ask for a high pick if they do.
Marino has warned that giving up on Henne would be a mistake. “He has what it takes to be a starter,” Marino said Wednesday. “He had an off year last year. I’m pulling for the kid.”
He said he hasn’t studied draft prospects but Ryan Mallett “has a huge arm.”• ESPN’s Mike Tirico assured us he will ask Bill Parcells about a few of his scrutinized Dolphins decisions when Tirico interviews him for an April 26 special, Bill Parcells: Draft Confidential.
Tirico said he will ask Parcells about picking Jake Long over Matt Ryan, then selecting Henne in the second round, and using a second-rounder on Pat White. Parcells never has publicly addressed those issues.
“He will either avoid it or answer it directly, and my guess is Bill answers it directly,” Tirico said. “Bill hasn’t said” any topic is off limits.
But Tirico said it’s no guarantee his Long/Henne/White questions will be used on the 90-minute show. “It’s an edited show, so somebody will make the decision what is best for the national audience,” said Tirico, who will tape the program with Parcells a week before the draft.
Tirico met with Parcells after a Heat-Bulls game last month and said “he’s really excited about this. Bill is ready to be honest about stuff.”
Parcells, in an ESPN statement, said he hopes to show viewers “how difficult it is to draft successfully” on a consistent basis. He said he knows the quarterbacks well in this draft and “none are can’t-miss prospects.”• Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told hundreds of business executives that he has had to learn “to be very careful what you say” because he gets “misconstrued.” He said “when I had some conversations with a coach in California [ Jim Harbaugh], I felt like Santa Claus being tracked around the country with every one of my moves.”
• ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen, off stage at the World Congress, said ESPN’s original programming blueprint was crafted in an odd place: “I was driving with my son, Scott, from Waterbury, Conn., to Ocean Grove, N.J., on Aug. 16, 1978, on the way to my daughter’s 16th birthday party, and we were using a yellow pad to write down ideas.”
They decided ESPN would broadcast college games, “scores in between, and soccer in the morning. We came up with the name Sports Central. By the time we went on the air, it morphed into SportsCenter.”
Rasmussen, 78, came up with the idea of a 24-hour sports network after he lost his job as the New England Whalers’ communications director. ESPN launched Sept. 7, 1979, but Rasmussen was gone in 1984, after Texaco acquired original owner Getty Oil.
Rasmussen now lives in Seattle, has his own website (espnfounder.com) and gives speeches. “People told us nobody would watch 24 hours of sports,” he said. “Today, ESPN has six U.S. networks and 46 international networks. None of us could have guessed the extent of sports fandom. It’s amazing.”
Rasmussen said 40 employees who were with ESPN during the first year remain — including Chris Berman, Bob Ley and Dick Vitale. He said people in airplanes and restaurants approach him and say, “Aren’t you the guy who started ESPN?” If it’s at the start of a long flight, he might say, “I get that question a lot” without actually saying yes.• Does the Final Four have one too many Cinderellas? If CBS executives took truth serum, they likely would say it would be preferable to have a marquee powerhouse playing against Butler or Virginia Commonwealth, as opposed to both teams playing each other Saturday.
The good thing, as CBS’ Jim Nantz noted on a conference call, is “we’re guaranteed of having a Cinderella Monday night. Historically, this would be viewed as the greatest Cinderella team” if either wins the title — more so than the 1985 Villanova team that beat Georgetown, Nantz said.
CBS Sports president Sean McManus has said the NCAA Tournament is better off on CBS and Turner than ESPN because ESPN will discuss the games regardless. “With a little bit of chagrin, I will acknowledge those guys did a great job,” ESPN executive John Skipper said. “But it would have been disingenuous for me to suggest it wouldn’t have been a little fun if they had fallen on their face and people couldn’t find truTV.”
Skipper said ESPN is interested in NHL rights, which Versus is trying to keep. … ESPN is suing Conference USA, claiming it violated its contract by signing with Fox Sports. … The only six Marlins games that won’t be televised are at Houston on April 9, Pittsburgh on April 19 and Sept. 10, at Colorado on April 22, at Seattle on June 26 and at Washington on Sept. 17.