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Curse of Tony Canadeo still in effect/Paul Peterson

July 24, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Don't let anyone tell you that the decision by WLUC-TV and Fox in Marquette last week to designate themselves as the official Green Bay Packers stations doesn't mean anything.

I know of several thousand Detroit Lions fans in the Upper Peninsula who are less than happy about the decision.

Now, it should be pointed out the stations intend to broadcast at least 13 Lions games this season. That's the good news.

But for older Detroit fans, this is the latest tweaking of their noses when it comes to televising the Packers first.

You have to remember that between 1960 and 1990, WLUC -- then a CBS affiliate -- broadcast the Packers games exclusively.

The Lions were seen only when they played the Packers. Some frustrated Detroit fans actually began driving to Marquette County and renting a room so they could watch their team on a Sault Ste. Marie station that was rightfully carrying Lions games.

Detroit fans were subject to something I've always referred to as the "Tony Canadeo Curse."

Canadeo, a former Green Bay quarterback, was one of the announcers doing Packers games in those days. Ray Scott was the other.

I won't say that Canadeo was a "homer," but he would have made Ken "Hawk" Harrelson of the Chicago White Sox look objective. And I believe that Harrelson is the most blatant and annoying biased announcer going today.

When the Lions handed the Packers their lunch in the famous 1962 Thanksgiving Day massacre, Canadeo was almost in tears. He refused to give the Lions any credit, forgetting that quarterback Bart Starr was sacked 12 times by a swarming defense.

Scott was at least, a sort of impartial announcer. His description of Green Bay touchdowns "Starr, Dowler, touchdown" got old after awhile. But he was not nearly as annoying as his color man.

You must also take into consideration that the Lions of the 1960s were a more than a respectable team that likely would have won a couple of NFL titles if Vince Lombardi hadn't been around to work his magic.

Detroit players like Alex Karras, Joe Schmidt, Lem Barney and Dick "Night Train" Lane all have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Both teams sucked swamp water during the 1970s and 1980s, so it wasn't a big issue if Detroit games were televised or not.

But the arrival of Barry Sanders in 1989 and satelite TV signaled a change in TV viewing.

The abolishment of antennas (also known as analog) a couple of years ago did eliminate a small percentage of viewers of WLUC.

But the continuing advancement of programing like the NFL package and the NFL Network opened up nearly every game available.

But viewers on the Charter Cable network are now being told that three Detroit games will be unavailable to them this season.

WLUC's reasoning is that Green Bay fans outnumber Detroit fans by a 3-to-1 margin in the U.P.

I'd say that number is closer to 60-40, but still in favor of the Pack. But if the Lions are as good as I think they will be this year (and keep their players out of jail), the Marquette stations could come to rue their decision.

Particularly, if one of those missed late season Detroit games decides a conference title or a playoff spot.



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