Stegall aims to catch on quickly

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

Milt Stegall is back to being a rookie again, but he won't be keeping quiet the way a freshman normally would.

While the CFL's career touchdown leader is joining the established TSN football panel, he's not going to be showing the likes of Jock Climie, Matt Dunigan and Chris Schultz a bunch of veteran respect.

"I'm sure I will bring in a bunch of female viewers because the guys on the panel now aren't doing it," Stegall, 39, said with his deep chuckle.

"I think the one thing that works to my advantage is I'm not too far removed from the game. Those guys are old and grey. I'm old and grey but not too far from playing. I guess that's an advantage to me.

"I've taken enough old shots. I was one of the oldest guys in the league last year and I took enough jokes about it."

The former Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver will work 15 games this CFL season in relief of either Climie or Dunigan.

Climie is a busy man working as a full-time lawyer with a young family, so he is taking some games off. Dunigan will step into the booth alongside play-by-play man Gord Miller for five outings as TSN juggles the four-games-a-week CFL schedule.

They will make up the third broadcast team after Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor, and Rod Black and Duane Forde.

Stegall, who will make his debut on July 11, feels fortunate to find a TV gig after retiring this off-season. "There will be mishaps. I dropped touchdowns before. I ran wrong routes," Stegall said.

"With my mental toughness, I leave the past in the past. There are going to be things that go wrong. There will be fumbles in the vocabulary. I may mess up here and there.

"Once I truly get into it, I hope to perfect it. It took me two years to really get into playing the Canadian game. I'm hoping it takes just two minutes to get into what I'm doing now."

Dunigan is excited to get a few games as colour man. He and Miller were pressed into action late last season for a Winnipeg at Montreal matchup and proved they could be fill-ins.

"There's nothing like being at the ball park," said Dunigan, adding that analyzing from TV is challenging because you can't see the entire field.

"We have to watch very closely, and sometimes we get things dumped down so we can analyze it with a telestrator.

Then when you come to the ball park, you see so many more things. It's the best thing you can experience as a broadcaster."

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Anyone who was a fan of the late 1990s TV show Sports Night will absolutely love ESPN's Mayne Street, starring the stone-faced Kenny Mayne.

Despite the fact Mayne is playing a fictional version of himself, the short videos give sports fans a glimpse behind the scenes at the worldwide leader.

Mayne gets many ESPN on-air staffers to play themselves, but most aren't well known in Canada.

Where Sports Night was hyperkinetic with non-stop dialogue, Mayne Street is more understated and pitch-perfect, much the same as Mayne's delivery on air.

The four-minute shows can be found on ESPN's website.

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The NHL entry draft was a hit on TSN, with an average of 582,000 viewers for the prime-time show. It was the highest-rated draft ever ...

ESPN The Magazine has released standings of how pro teams pay back their fans for investment in time, money and passion and the Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst in the NHL.

The Leafs ranked 120 of the 122 teams in the four major sports, with the L.A. Clippers dead last.

The Los Angeles Angels were first, with the Carolina Hurricanes the top NHL team at No. 2.


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