Andrew Monaco's M-Blog January 2013

Andrew Monaco serves as studio host and sideline reporter, along with play-by-play on select games, on Fox Sports Southwest, KENS and KMYS. He is the TV and radio play-by-play announcer for the Silver Stars, continues to do TV for the Rampage, (where he served as radio voice until the 2007–08 season) and handles TV on Austin Toros' telecasts. Prior to joining the SS&E family spent more than a decade covering a variety of teams.
M-Blog Archive: Nov. 2012 | Dec. 2012

Odds And Ends
by Andrew Monaco | Jan. 25, 2013

(Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty Images)

An odds and ends version of the M Blog, this time. Or as I like to call it ... Things I Know, Things I Think, and Things I Think I Know.

1. Tim, Tony in the All-Star Game. As it should be. Anybody not like it? Get over it.

For those deserving to be on the All-Star team (I’m looking at you Stephen Curry), expand the rosters. Add one more spot this year’s team. Simple. Done.

2. One of the websites I follow is Fang’s Bites. Kenneth Fang, who faithfully blogs about sports media, links to sports media stories, with press releases and his opinion. He just posted the entire Super Bowl broadcast, with each and every network announcer to call the championship game.

Looking at that great list, you will see a who’s-who of not only great announcers, but also the voices of your childhood, or whenever the Super Bowl was part of your consciousness. Broadcasting has the ability to do this. Certain voices will always be a part of your life’s soundtrack. And it is so unique to your memories, and so purely personal, that voice, or even the name, may trigger memories from your past.

Also looking at that list, Pat Summerall may be the best example of former-player-turned-play-by-play announcer. He made the transition from player to analyst first, then to play-by-play, and teamed with Tom Brookshire first (on CBS), then john Madden (CBS, then Fox) to form a couple incredible broadcasting tandems.

Pat Summerall also knew how to use TV. He was a man of few words, who let the picture tell a lot of the story, but also allowed Madden to shine. (And Brookshire, as well). Pat also did golf and tennis for years for CBS. Versatile? You bet.

Another man to make the transition from player to play-by-play is Frank Gifford. He first started with CBS as a color commentator, then replaced the Keith Jackson after the first season of ABC’s Monday Night Football, joining Howard and Don Meredith as an iconic trio.

Gifford also worked ABC’s Olympic coverage (if I’m not mistaken, did the 1972 Gold Medal game between US and Russia) and Wide World of Sports.

3. The NHL is back. Welcome back. I have missed you.

Glad to see NHL fans come back in large numbers. Hockey fans are extremely loyal, although I agree with what I’ve been reading – do not subject them to another (unnecessary) lockout. Do not test their patience. Do not take their loyalty for granted.

4. I have enjoyed reading the wonderful articles and retrospectives about Stan Musial. Is there anyone who was more aptly nicknamed? The Man. What a good man. An honest man. A family man. A loyal man. The list goes on and on.

I read a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who said, “Of all the stats about Stan Musial, this is the one I like the most: He and wife Lillian were married for 71 years. I could not agree more.

I had the chance to meet him at a wedding in Monessen, Pennsylvania. A friend of my wife’s was getting married, and wouldn’t you know it, Stan Musial was at the wedding. He was a friend of the bride’s family. I wish I could tell you more about the wedding. I was thrilled to meet #6.

by Andrew Monaco | Jan. 11, 2013

(Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Traveling is a big part of this business. This is not a blog entry about the rigors of travel, I promise. It is being typed at an airport, though.

Let's be honest. I get handed an airplane ticket, keys to a rental car, key to a hotel room and per diem. Or, I have the good fortune to fly on the team plane. Believe me, not a lot to complain about.

There are certain cities where I really enjoy wearing Spurs gear. Dallas is one of those cities, and since I travel there fairly often, you better believe the Spurs logo is omnipresent. It has led to some interesting conversations, often at the airport. Comments range from "I'm not a Spurs fan, I'm a Mavericks fan." Usually I hear that in Dallas. And depending on my mood, my response ranges from "I'm sorry" to "That's adorable" to "Good luck with that!"

No, I'm kidding. Eventually the conversation turns to appreciation of the Spurs' success and about Tim, or Tony, or Manu. It also leads to talk of the rivalry between the teams. Of course, four (titles) always trump one.

On that note, let me get this straight. I'm the one who must go through security at San Antonio International Airport. I'm the one traveling. Yet I get asked about Ric Renner, my Fox Sports Southwest partner. Would it kill him to hop on a plane and say hello to these good folks himself?

Los Angeles is another. Considering I don't own a pork pie hat, I favor Spurs stuff. The next time I wear anything remotely resembling hipster will be the first time. Believe me, if I do, it will be accidental or ironic. Or Halloween.

New York is another city I wear silver and black paraphernalia. Of course, black is de rigueur in NYC, so I fit right in.

I've even worn Spurs stuff on my travels to D-League cities. To talk about Pop in Portland, Maine, the silver and black in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Spurs basketball in Boise, Idaho is quite a kick.

Not only does this make traveling (a little bit) easier, but also allows me to appreciate what this organization is all about.

Frank Reich, Bills comeback anniversary
by Andrew Monaco | Jan. 4, 2013

This time of year, the curtain drops on the college bowl season and sets the stage for the NFL playoffs. I was reminded of that as I preparing for the Spurs / Knicks telecast on Fox Sports Southwest on Thursday. With the TV on in the background, I was reminded that it was an anniversary one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

It was 20 years ago today (January 3, 1993 actually), Frank Reich mounted the greatest comeback in NFL history when he led the Buffalo Bills to a 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers, in the NFL playoffs. That is was two decades ago surprised me, because, to me, it seemed like yesterday.

(Apologies to Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles and Dan Hughes, Silver Stars' head coach/general manager and Beatles' authority for the "It was 20 years ago today" reference.)

That it was Frank Reich and not Jim Kelly, who was the face, and arm, of the Buffalo Bills' franchise, makes this story almost unbelievable. The Wild Card game matched Warren Moon and the Oilers and the Bills. The Oilers had defeated the Bills in the last week of the regular season and Kelly was injured during the game, and Reich would take the reins.

The Oilers, on the road, would take control, building a 28-3 halftime lead. To make things worse for Buffalo, Reich opened the third quarter with an interception, returned for a touchdown. Early 3rd, Oilers 35, Bills 3.

That's when the comeback began. And since the Bills ran the run-and-shoot, they would have enough chances to comeback. So Reich mounted one touchdown drive after another. 35-3 became 35-10. Then 35-17. 35-24. 35-31. Unbelievably, 38-35 before Moon drove the Oilers for the tying field goal. 38-all heading to overtime, when the Bills intercepted Moon and Steve Christie nailed the game-winning field goal. Bills won 41-38, in overtime, and Frank Reich became part of Buffalo sports lore.

The anchor mentioned that Reich, a career backup, had his signature sports moment with the Bills. And there is no denying it was.

But was it really? What happens when magic strikes twice? We Terrapins know this was really The Comeback II. So as I watched the highlights from 20 years ago, I remembered watching that comeback on TV. It also got me thinking about his first comeback, nine years earlier, in 1984, which I witnessed in person ... from the roof of the Orange Bowl.

These were the Terrapins of Bobby Ross and after Boomer Esiason. The quarterbacks were Reich and Stan Gelbaugh. In a twist from the Bills' season, it was Reich who got hurt in the fourth week of the season and Gelbaugh replaced him as the starter. Maryland played a terrific non-conference schedule and traveled to South Florida to face the defending-champion Miami Hurricanes. Bernie Kosar and the 'Canes took a 31-0 lead, and the 'Canes outgained the Terps 328 years to 57 in the first half. Reich replaced an ineffective Gelbaugh, and the first chapter of his comeback legacy.

Three third-quarter touchdowns and an early TD in the fourth quarter, and the expected blowout became a game. Miami had kicked a field goal and had a 34-28 lead. But Reich hit Greg Hill on a long TD strike and Maryland led, 35-34. When Miami fumbled the kickoff leading to another Terrapin score, Maryland would own a 42-34 lead. The 'Canes would score following a bad snap on a punt and only breaking up the two-point conversion saved the lead.

42-40 Terrapins. One last chance for Miami. But their onside kick was taken by Joe Krause (who lived on my floor in the dorm) and raced to the goal line. He didn't score, but the victory was sealed.

Two weeks later, Hail Flutie would happen, when Doug Flutie hit Darren Flutie in a play for the ages.

But we Terrapins remember two weeks earlier, when Reich led the first of his historic comebacks. And it was good to reminded on the 20-year anniversary when he did it again.