My super memory from covering Super Bowl XXIII in 1989
Sitting in the NBC Sports production truck and watching Bob Costas, Bob Trumpy, Merlin Olsen and other sportscasters come and go was fun. But I got my big scoop in the football stadium parking lot.
My favorite story from covering the Bengals-49ers Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 — the story I've told most often since then — has nothing to do with the game.
It has nothing to do with NBC, which broadcast the Super Bowl, the same network which televises the Bengals-Rams Super Bowl LVI at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
It doesn't involve meeting NBC Sports' star announcers Bob Costas, Dick Enberg, Bob Trumpy, Merlin Olsen, Ahmad Rashad or Paul Maguire.
The highlight of my Super Bowl reel was meeting actor John Goodman, and the crazy story he told me about making his professional acting debut not far from Cincinnati.
Just interviewing Goodman was a huge scoop. Three months earlier, Roseanne premiered as an instant hit on ABC — but he hadn't done much press because of the writers' strike which delayed fall season launch. All of ABC's fall promotion was built around star Roseanne Barr.
MTV had invited Goodman to participate in its live "tailgate party" telecast from what was called the Joe Robbie Stadium parking lot Sunday afternoon before the game along with the Bangles (the band, not a typo), actor Kevin Costner and Remote Control game show host Ken Ober.
As I walked across the parking lot toward the MTV set, I saw Goodman, alone, leaning against the side of a pickup truck. Literally overnight he had become a famous TV face, after five years of appearing in such movies as Raising Arizona, Punchline, The Survivors, Eddie Macon's Run, The Big Easy and Revenge of the Nerds.
When I introduced myself as a reporter from Cincinnati, he told me about his professional stage debut — at the La Comedia Dinner Theater in Springboro.
Goodman, who grew up near St. Louis, moved to New York City after graduating from Southwestern Missouri State University in 1975. Unable to get an acting gig there, he got a job at La Comedia that October in 1776.
As Thomas Jefferson.
"I weighed about 195 then. That makes it a little easier to figure how I got the part," said Goodman, who reportedly was a hefty 250 pounds as husband Dan Conner on Roseanne's first season. He's a much thinner Dan Conner today on ABC's The Conners sitcom (9 p.m. Wednesdays).
When 1776 closed after Thanksgiving, Goodman hustled back to the bright lights of Broadway. But not for long. Again, he couldn't find an acting job. So he headed back to beautiful downtown Springboro, Ohio.
"My old lady was at LaComedia doing a show, so I wound up back there working as a waiter," Goodman said. "And I made three times as much money as anyone else (on stage) picking up tips."
After speaking to Goodman, I made my way to an NBC Sports production trailer just outside what was then known as Joe Robbie Stadium. I watched the pregame and game from there.
Late in the game, with the Bengals clinging to a 16-13 lead, I witnessed NBC producers and directors chanting "Field goal! Field goal!" TV crews (and reporters) aren't supposed to cheer for any team — but NBC employees wanted to broadcast the first Super Bowl overtime — which would result in even bigger primetime ratings and revenues.
Alas, San Francisco's Joe Montana hit Jerry Rice with a pass to score with 34 seconds left in regulation, and the 49ers won 20-16.
By the way, NBC's pregame show in 1989 was only two hours, 3-5 p.m. The kickoff was at 5:15 p.m.
This year, Super Bowl LVI kicks off at 6:30 p.m., as it has been for years, so the game starts at 3:30 p.m. on the West Coast. NBC's pregame this year is five hours, starting at 1 p.m. after The Road To The Super Bowl at noon.
If you planned to be glued to the tube Sunday, you can watch:
WCPO-TV: Local Super Bowl special 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (followed by an NBA game).
WKRC-TV: Local Super Bowl special 11 a.m.-noon (followed by bull riding, college basketball and golf).
WXIX-TV: Local Super Bowl special 5-6 p.m. (followed by Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and The Simpsons).
ESPN: Pregame special 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (followed by women's college basketball).
NFL Network: Coverage starts at 8 a.m. with NFL Game Day View, followed by NFL Game Day Morning airing from 9 a.m.-until the 5:30 p.m. kick-off. Super Bowl Game Center will air during the game.
Super Bowl prediction: And finally, here's my Super Bowl prediction: Cincinnati news anchors will return home Monday from Los Angeles and put away their orange clothing, and TV news will return to normal on Tuesday — unless there's a huge Super Bowl victory celebration next week. And sometime next week, TV anchors and sports reporters will realize that the Reds Caravan was canceled this year, and that the start of spring training for Reds players most likely will be delayed due to the owners' lockout.