On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
February 2, 2007

Although Jim Nantz has been an integral part of CBS Sports for more than 20 years, he will be calling the Super Bowl for the first time Sunday.

In a conference call, Nantz, who hosted two previous Super Bowls on CBS, said he'll go into the Indianapolis-Chicago contest with broadcast partner Phil Simms with the attitude: “I'll be going to a football game with a good friend, and 140 million people will be eavesdropping.”

Nantz named Pat Summerall, Curt Gowdy, Ray Scott, Dick Enberg and Jim McKay as his broadcast influences.

McKay is the father of CBS Sports and News president Sean McManus, who said that Nantz's style reminded him of his dad's.

McManus will be incorporating the news division into the Super Bowl programming. “The Early Show” and “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” are broadcasting from Miami today, and Bob Schieffer will interview NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning from Miami.

Though Nantz is at the apex of his broadcasting career, McManus mentioned that Nantz eventually would perform other roles at the network, including hosting “The Early Show.”

This is the first time CBS is airing the Super Bowl since the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake halftime show debacle in 2004.

When the “H” word was brought up, McManus quickly pointed out that the 2004 show was produced by then Viacom sister-station, MTV.

Since that incident, the league took over production of the halftime show.

“It takes the pressure off us,” McManus said. “It's one less thing to worry about.”

This year, Prince will perform at halftime, Billy Joel will sing the national anthem and Stevie Nicks will be part of the pre-game festivities.

The four-hour pre-game show with James Brown, Boomer Esiason, Dan Marin and Shannon Sharpe will include a feature about Philadelphia's Marvin Harrison, the star wide receiver for the Colts.

Also, for the first time, Super Bowl highlights will be available on iTunes.

February 2, 2007 6:14 AM