Lynch quick shifts from field to TV booth
Nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch announced his retirement earlier this week after 15 years in the NFL.
He was signed by Fox as an analyst, and the next time you’ll see him is Sunday working the Vikings game at Jacksonville.
Lynch will work the noon game with Chris Rose, who will do the play-by-play, and sideline reporter Krista Voda.
"I’m looking forward to being a rookie all over again," Lynch said.
Don’t worry if he makes rookie mistakes. The game is being shown to only 6 percent of the country, and only in the Jacksonville and Twin Cities markets.
Selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft from Stanford, Lynch played his first 11 years with Tampa Bay before signing with the Broncos as a free agent. He played for the Bucs for four years.
His nine Pro Bowl selections at safety rank second in league history. Lynch also played on Tampa Bay’s 2002 Super Bowl XXXVII championship team.
Lynch, who was cut by Denver, signed with New England during training camp, but was cut two weeks later and had been pondering retirement ever since.
JM on FSN North
Participants in the third annual Hockey Day in Minnesota have been announced, and the five telecasts include the Rochester John Marshall versus St. Paul Johnson game, which will be played at Phalen Park in St. Paul.
Hockey Day, which includes 16-plus hours of local hockey-related programming, is Saturday, Jan. 17. The JM game will start at 10 a.m.
The Hockey Day schedule includes JM-St. Paul Johnson (10 a.m.); White Bear Lake and Duluth East from Xcel Energy Center (1 p.m.); Stillwater and Minnetonka girls from Plalen Park (1:30 p.m.); Minnesota at St. Cloud (5 p.m.) and the Minnesota Wild and the Anaheim Ducks from Xcel Energy Center (8 p.m.).
Vitale to be inducted
ESPN college basketball analyst and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, now in his 30th season with ESPN, will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City on Sunday. He will be one of seven people enshrined. Vitale was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in September.
In a telephone conference call earlier this week, Vitale said "watch out" for Minnesota and head coach Tubby Smith either this year or for sure next year.
"Once he gets his players, I have no doubt Minnesota will be an annual Big Ten contender," he said.
In the Big Ten this year, Vitale likes Michigan State and Purdue, both with the potential to reach the Final Four, along with Wisconsin.
Around the tube
• The Iowa-at-Minnesota football game on Saturday (6 p.m.) is on the Big Ten Network, with Wayne Larrivee doing the play-by-play, Chris Martin as analyst and Anthony Herron the sideline reporter.
As you know, this is the final home game for the Gophers in the Metrodome.
• The Gophers men’s basketball team will be on the Big Ten Network twice next week. On Wednesday night (7:30), the Gophers host Eastern Washington (Wayne Larrivee, Trent Tucker and Leslie Hill) and on Saturday (1 p.m.) they entertain North Dakota State with Dean Linke doing play-by-play, and former Gophers center Spencer Tollackson working as an analyst.
Both of the Gophers men’s hockey games next week Friday and Saturday are also scheduled for the BTN.
• The Big Ten Network will televise live the announcement of the annual Big Ten football awards at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
The All-Big Ten volleyball teams will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1.
• Last week’s CBS doubleheader game on Sunday (mostly Chargers-Steelers) and the NBC Sunday Night Game (Cowboys-Redskins) were the second- and third-most-watched programs of the week (Nov. 10-16) with 19.7 million viewers and 19.3 million viewers, respectively. The "60 Minutes" profile of President-elect Barack Obama was the week’s most-watched show.
• The Bowl Championship Series games will move to ESPN starting in January 2011.
The network and the BCS announced a new four-year contract. ESPN outbid Fox, which is paying $80 million annually to broadcast the games from 2007-10.
ESPN’s offer was for $125 million a year. Fox, reportedly, would not offer much more than $100 million annually.
The agreement covers the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls each year and the BCS title game from 2011 to 2013.
The Rose Bowl will continue to be televised on ESPN broadcast partner ABC through 2014 under a separate, previous contract.
Paul Christian is a Post-Bulletin sports writer. He writes a weekly Friday column dealing with TV and radio sports and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.