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Albert-Collinsworth A Good Fit

Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire and Phil Simms sat three-across in the Giants Stadium press box for their on-camera halftime chat, and the temptation was to ask: Which one’s Moe?

Only, wearing those new black-and-blue leather jackets with the NBC peacock on the breast, they looked more like Dickie Trickle’s pit crew.

“Or a rock group,” Marv Albert said. “I haven’t worn my jacket for a game yet. It’s been too warm. I wear it out late at night, usually.”

Albert and his new analyst partner, Cris Collinsworth, worked the Patriots-Dolphins game out of Miami on Sunday. Too hot for leather, but just right for their brand of warmth.

“He’s a great target, and he handles it so graciously,” Albert said. “And there’s a twisted side to him, too, which is very important. I’ll see him laughing, I’ll look over, and he’ll be cracking up about something totally unfathomable.”

Two weeks ago, Collinsworth complained on the air about how much time Albert spends preparing for their pregame introductions. It was all in good humor, but Collinsworth has yet to hear the last of it.

“He kills me. The worst part is, if you’re not sure about something, don’t say it around Marv because he’ll just kill you,” Collinsworth said.

The partnership is quite a change for them both. Until this year, Albert’s partner was Maguire, and Collinsworth’s play-by-play man was Tom Hammond. Hammond and Maguire tend to bring a little Perry Como to their telecasts. Albert and Collinsworth are more Jaggeresque.

“Chris has a great sense of humor; he’s someone I can goof off with, so to speak,” Albert said. “He’s also probably the most objective former star player from any sport that I’ve come across.”

Collinsworth said he just wanted to make sure he didn’t wind up a cheap Maguire imitation.

“And I told Marv that,” Collinsworth said.

After six years with HBO and five with NBC, Collinsworth finally seems to be making his mark as a broadcaster. He’s more likely to be imitated than imitator. His roll on HBO’s “Inside the NFL” has expanded, and now he’s partnered with one of NBC’s top play-by-play men in Albert.

“I know people are going to think I’m crazy, but I think NBC does this on purpose,” Collinsworth said. “They say, ‘OK, you’ve got a little potential, you’re doing OK,’ so they put me on the Super Bowl last year, but that’s not a real test. The real test is surviving a year with Marv Albert and the New York critics. If you get past that, then you’re halfway to mediocrity.”

And, oh, don’t dare make any mistakes.

“It’s like the other week, Marv is reading this promo about Yoko Ono, and he does his whole thing, and then we’re supposed to make these little comments to each other,” Collinsworth said.

“The only thing I could think of to say was, ‘I guess she’ll have to get out of bed now.’ I don’t know too much about Yoko Ono, but wasn’t there this thing where she and Lennon spent a whole year in bed or something? Marv looked at me like I had just completely lost my mind. There’s this long, awkward silence, and finally he says something like, ‘We’ll get back to that in a moment.’

“He just murdered me.”

Out takes

CBS added the 25th game to its 1996 college football lineup Monday, Notre Dame-Navy in Dublin, Ireland on Nov. 2.

At the same time, the network announced it will show the Bowl Alliance selections on Saturday, Dec. 3, live from its own studios with two-way hookups to each of the six coaches.

CBS hasn’t done a Notre Dame game since 1990. CBS also has an option on the game in 1998 and 2000.

“This adds Notre Dame to our programming during sweeps and also has an interesting carnival and historical feel to it, being played in Croke Stadium in Dublin,” CBS Sports vice president of programming Len DeLuca said.

The game will start at noon ET and be the first of a doubleheader.

DeLuca called the half-hour bowl selection show “the fun part” of CBS’ college football package.

CBS has the Orange and Fiesta bowls, two of the three that make up the alliance, which is designed to produce a national champion in head-to-head competition. ABC has the other alliance bowl, the Sugar, as well as the non-alliance Rose Bowl, which also could have national title implications with Ohio State.

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