MIAMI -- A football TV primer to prepare you for the next 10 days:
--What can we watch leading up to the Super Bowl?
Virtually everything will be televised except Drew Brees clipping his toenails. ESPN -- dispatching more than 30 announcers here -- serves up more than 80 hours of programming across all its networks. NFL Network has more than 50 live hours.
Among the highlights: NFL Network will air the longest pregame show on game day -- 8 1/2 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. EST. ESPN will need to get by with a four-hour pregame, at 10 a.m.
NFL Network and ESPNEWS will air news conferences involving both teams at various times next Wednesday through Friday mornings, and both will air media day festivities Tuesday (9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on NFL Network).
For those with way too much free time, NFL Network will have live programming from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, featuring assorted guests.
NFL Network will use Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter as a guest analyst the day before the game. And ESPN has one new show: It will gather its announcers who won Super Bowls -- Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Ditka, Ed Werder (just kidding), Mark Schlereth, Matt Millen, Keyshawn Johnson and Jon Gruden -- to talk about their experiences, with Mike Tirico. That airs at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 5.
--Can the public attend ESPN and NFL Network broadcasts?
Yes. Beginning Monday, ESPN originates most studio shows from a set on Ocean Drive and Eighth Street. That includes SportsCenter/NFL Live (3:30-4:30 p.m. weekdays), nightly SportsCenter reports and NFL Countdown on game day. ESPN said the public can attend but must stand behind barricades.
The public also can drop in for NFL Network's live shows at 7 p.m. nightly from its set at 11th and Ocean.
Other NFL Network programs will originate from the media center at the Broward County Convention Center, but the public is not permitted there.
--What's different about CBS' Super Bowl coverage?
"This year we're going to do nothing interesting or surprising," CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus cracked. "It will be the same old crap you see on pregame shows."
But seriously: "We're going to revisit Hurricane Katrina and see what's happened the last four years in New Orleans," CBS Sports executive Harold Bryant said.
Besides the usual football features, "we'll be all around Miami," Bryant said. "We'll do all of the nightlife-type pieces. We'll have aerials of the city and show off all of South Florida."
The rest of CBS' plans for the four-hour Super Bowl pregame will be announced next week . . . CBS looks back at the best Super Bowl commercials of the past decade at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
--When can we see the Dolphins' Super Bowl appearances? NFL Network this weekend replays 30-minute shows from the Dolphins' five Super Bowls, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday, then 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday.
--What's ESPN doing to spice up its Pro Bowl telecast Sunday night?
The network will place microphones on 14 players and coaches, with comments airing on 10-second delay. Chris Berman interviews Colts and Saints during the game.
AROUND THE DIAL
--With no football competition, we will start to get a good idea this weekend how much Tiger Woods' absence will impact interest in the PGA Tour.
Woods has played 11 times in this weekend's CBS-televised Farmers Insurance Open, formerly called the Buick Invitational.
When Woods won the event in 2007 and '08, the final round averaged a 4.8 rating. Last year, with Woods sidelined after knee surgery, the final round of the tournament (won by Nick Watney) drew a 2.0. Last month, shortly after Woods' personal issues came to light, the Chevron World Challenge event that Woods founded drew 1.2 million viewers, down 54 percent compared with the year before, when Woods participated. During the eight months Woods missed because of knee surgery, PGA ratings fell nearly 50 percent.
CBS' McManus said it best more than a year ago: "I don't even remember an athlete, I guess with the exception of Michael Jordan, who can so dramatically affect the amount of people watching a tournament. His effect on television and the viewership of professional golf is almost impossible to overestimate."
--Did Fox's Chris Myers really expect an honest answer when he asked Vikings coach Brad Childress, shortly before kickoff of the NFC Championship, if he would run or pass early? Childress said he would do both, but ended up mostly passing on the first drive. "Brad Childress lied to Chris Myers," an amused Joe Buck said later.
--Shame on Van Heusen clothing for running a misleading ad in which ESPN's Young said the public has been given "the power to vote and be heard" on Pro Football Hall of Fame voting.
The ad fails to mention that the public vote has zero impact on who is elected to the Hall.