Does Nick Saban have a sense of humor? Ask his quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, only if we have a big lead
Some media notes with a Dolphins and Canes twist:
▪ As initially reported weeks ago, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has told people he would love for the Dolphins to be able to draft Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa if he turns pro for the 2020 Draft.
So what would Miami be getting?
NBC 6’s Chris Fischer asked a coach who knows him as well as anyone — Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Dan Enos, who was Alabama’s quarterbacks coach last season.
“Here’s why he’s going to be successful,” Enos said. “He’s very talented, he’s got arm strength, he’s got feet, he’s athletic. He also has tremendous instincts. Maybe the best instincts of any player I’ve ever been around. His ability to make quick decisions, unscripted, is what separates him from others I’ve been around.
“He will be [excellent], man. He’s a great player. But every bit what a great player he is, he can match it with his character. Tua is an A plus player and an A plus person. Great integrity, great character, team guy. He was so coachable, never satisfied with the way he played and always wanted to get better.
“Very rarely did he ever have a frown on his face. Sometimes I would say, ‘Is something bothering you?’ He would say nothing or get it off his chest but [that was rare]. The guy has got great humility to him, which is one reason he’s so likable to his teammates and why they respect him so much.
“I told him don’t ever become a celebrity quarterback. He didn’t. He stayed humble, always lowered himself and was a great teammate. I would see him encouraging scout team players during practice. He’s real. The guy gets it.”
Enos, incidentally, laughed uproariously when informed by Fischer about the “Tank for Tua” movement among some Dolphins fans.
▪ Fischer asked Enos if he has noticed any similarities between UM coach Manny Diaz and Alabama coach Nick Saban.
“I’ve seen similar things,” Enos said. “They’re both very intense. They’re both very detailed. Coach Diaz has really impressed me with the organization and the details of things and how he wants them done. They’re both very good communicators. You can tell Coach Diaz has great leadership qualities.”
▪ CBS’ broadcast of the Alliance of American Football League openers on Saturday night drew the same major market rating (a 2.1) as the competing Houston-Oklahoma City NBA game on ABC.
But for the entire country, the football game on CBS drew 3.25 million viewers, compared with 2.67 million for the NBA game on ABC.
But that isn’t necessarily an encouraging harbinger for the fledgling new football league.
Keep in mind that the XFL debuted with a 9.5 rating in 2001 on NBC before ratings plummeted and the league eventually folded.
The AAF was bound to draw some viewers initially because of the curiosity factor. But it’s likely that at least some viewers who sampled the product Saturday won’t be inclined to keep watching.
CBS will televise only one other AAF game this season — the championship. Regular-season games will air on TNT, NFL Network and CBS Sports Network.
In Miami-Fort Lauderdale, the Rockets-Thunder game drew a 2.5, compared with a 1.3 for the football game on CBS on Saturday night. Heat-Warriors drew a 3.4 on Sunday night — highest rating for a Heat game on Fox Sports Sun this season.
▪ Bob Costas offered some perspective when I spoke with him by phone on Sunday night, hours after ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired an interview in which Costas said he was yanked from NBC’s Super Bowl coverage a year ago because of his comments about football and head injuries at a Baltimore-area symposium in November 2017.
“The reality is this game destroys peoples’ brains,” Costas said at the symposium, echoing a view he had articulated for years, though with language not quite as strong.
Costas said shortly after making those comments and appearing on a follow-up interview with CNN, an NBC executive called and told him he had crossed the line. Costas asked, “What line have I crossed?”
Costas, by his choice, hadn’t worked any NFL telecasts during that 2017 season beyond the Thursday night opener. But he was scheduled to host the Super Bowl that day, largely because Mike Tirico — who had replaced him as NBC’s NFL host — was en route to Korea for the Winter Olympics.
Costas told me by phone Sunday night that he wasn’t upset by NBC’s decision to remove him from the Super Bowl and that he wasn’t the right person to preside over a 6 ½ hour celebration of football.
Costas pitched the idea of interviewing Roger Goodell on that Super Bowl pre-game show but Goodell declined.
During the ESPN piece, Costas cracked that the relationship between the NFL and network rights-holders is unusual because “the buyer must continue to flatter the seller.”
Costas and NBC quietly negotiated his exit last year, but that was a byproduct of NBC lacking the assignments that appealed to him. Costas ended up working a handful of assignments for NBC after being yanked from the Super Bowl, including last year’s Triple Crown races.
NBC wasn’t pleased with Costas’ comments to ESPN. “We’re very disappointed he has chosen to mischaracterize and share these private interactions,” NBC said in a statement.
Costas, during our phone conversation, did not want to respond to NBC’s comment. But it was evident he believes he characterized the conversations correctly.
Costas will continue to work for MLB Network, including play by play on about 20 games a year.
He remains open to the possibility of taking on an additional job in a year, ideally a program that would be a hybrid between Later (his former late-night talk show on NBC) and his HBO show in which he interviewed newsmakers and offered commentary. But he isn’t certain that type of program will materialize and what network might have interest in airing it.
▪ No joke: ABC will televise quarterback and wide receiver workouts from the NFL Combine at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2, with Trey Wingo, Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Louis Riddick announcing... ESPN dropped Charles Woodson from “Sunday NFL Countdown.”