Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Haden Enjoys Gator Bowl Subplots

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Haden Enjoys Gator Bowl Subplots

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT, The Times-Union

NBC Sports brings its top football announcing team of Tom Hammond and Pat Haden and sideline reporter Lewis Johnson to Alltel Stadium for today's 60th annual Gator Bowl.

It marks the 10th consecutive year that NBC has broadcast the game and will be Hammond's sixth Gator Bowl and Haden's 10th, including stints when the game was televised by CBS and TBS. Haden, a former Southern California quarterback who played in three consecutive Rose Bowl games, says this year's contest has some interesting subplots.

"It's Bobby Bowden meeting the team he coached in the early '70s for just the second time," Haden said. "Four of his kids graduated from West Virginia. He averaged seven wins a season as a head coach there and yet was hung in effigy, which led him to take the FSU job in 1976. Seminole fans should be mighty thankful."

Haden is looking forward to seeing FSU quarterback Chris Rix again, having covered the Seminoles' 30-17 win over Virginia Tech in the 2002 Gator Bowl game.

"Chris Rix can be absolutely brilliant one moment, but the next moment, you're kind of scratching your head," Haden said.

NBC's pregame coverage today starts at noon. Local affiliate WTLV TV-12 will not air a Gator Bowl special this year. It did the past several years.


There will be a strong Jacksonville connection for today's national airing (CBS) of A Tee Time Like No Other (4-5 p.m.). The show is narrated by Jim Nantz and features Jacksonville's father-son combo of Bob and David Duval along with two Special Olympic athletes, Kevin Erickson and Oliver Doherty for a team best-ball tournament. The event was recorded at the Timuquana Country Club several months ago, with Erickson and the younger Duval teaming up for the win.

"Without question, [this was] the No. 1 round of the year," David Duval said. "As frustrating and maddening as my struggles have been, this makes you realize how small they are. …

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