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Among the lessons I learned arly overing TV is that quality doesn’t count.
Doesn’t matter which network did the best job covering the Olympics, MLB or tennis, the next contract will be “won” by the network that bids the most. Heck, for the past two seasons MLB has sold exclusive game telecasts to YouTube — let local teams’ fans eat radio.
Similar with Emmy Awards. A bad telecast of a close Super Bowl is the odds-on favorite to win an Emmy than a good telecast of a blowout Super Bowl, which has no chance.
This came to mind, Sunday, as I mostly enjoyed CBS’s telecast of a rotten game, Dolphins-Jets.
For starters, at the top, with the Dolphins being another team diminished by QB injuries, play-by-play man Andrew Catalon said the starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had been backing up then-injured Tua Tagovailoa, would be backed up by Reid Sinnett who played at the University of San Diego and had been activated from the practice squad.
For years, as QBs are lost to sudden injuries, I’ve felt that backups always should be identified near the top. They never are. Sunday, Catalon made with some early uncommon common sense.
The analysis was provided — when needed — by former star WR James Lofton, who operates under the preposterous notion that viewers don’t want to hear from him unless it’s worth hearing.
Twice after self-evident plays he said nothing, recognizing there was nothing to say. Thus, when he spoke, he had our full attention.
In the third quarter Fitzpatrick completed a nicely timed throw to WR DeVante Parker. Lofton: “How many times do we hear, ‘Well, the wide receiver and quarterback are not on the same page?’ But they were just on the same line, reading the same words, on this throw.” Sweet.
Later, as Lofton simply described “the old coverage sack” of Sam Darnold, CBS chopped the screen into three videos shown simultaneously — one presumably of Darnold, the other two of Jets receivers. It was tough to focus on one let along three miniaturized moving views at one time. Lofton followed with a gentle slap: “If you can follow the three boxes …”
Lofton, four years a CBS TV analyst, also avoids all that faux-hip genuine pigskin gibberish that’s drowning telecasts in long-form silliness. He speaks football in plain, concise, applicable English. Perhaps that’s why he was assigned to Sunday’s Jets game.
Ridiculous facts, figures need to stop, stat
Football telecasts have become satire-proof. You can’t make any more fun of them than they do without our help. Thus another strong week for more designed-to-distract graphics and stats culled from what should have been immediately fed into a shredder.
During Arizona-UCLA on Saturday, Fox enlightened us to this: “Arizona’s zero takeaways are the fewest in FBS.” True! Who had fewer?
ESPN, after noting that Oklahoma St. beat Texas Tech, 50-44, added — over and over on its scroll — that it was the “most points scored by OSU since 2019.” Since (Oct. 30 of) last season! Has it been that long? Three hundred recent layoffs and ESPN kept the stat-shovelers!
During CBS’s Thanksgiving Day Texans-Lions, Jim Nantz and a large graphic let us know that Detroit QB Matthew Stafford is now just one behind former Dallas QB and current CBS announcer Tony Romo for most TD passes on Thanksgiving. Given that Detroit and Dallas are the only two teams to annually play on Thanksgiving — Lions 80 times, Cowboys 53 … aw, never mind.
Same telecast same nonsense: Lions placekicker Matt Prater “now has the third-most field goals ever made on Thanksgiving.” Given that he has played seven years for the Lions …
Finally, in the first quarter of Penn St.-Michigan on ABC/ESPN, Michigan RB Hassan Haskins broke one for 60 yards. His game stats then quickly appeared: “5 rushes, 67 yards, 13.4 average.”
Let us rise and join hands as we shout, “Nurse!”
There’s never a good time for blindly pandering to those who, at best, should be ignored, but what CBS pulled early in its Texans-Lions Thanksgiving Day telecast could’ve caused pre-meal nausea.
Lions RB Adrian Peterson distributed 200 turkeys to poor families in Detroit. A very nice thing, worth a mention. But Nantz and then sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, both in full open-valve gush, seized it to anoint Peterson a humanitarian of the highest order. They praised him as a saint in shoulder pads, the noblest of the NFL’s many noble.
Could this have been the same Adrian Peterson who was suspended for the six-game balance of a season for whipping his 4-year-old son so severely the battered and bruised child was taken by social services and Peterson reduced the charge of felony child abuse with a plea of misdemeanor reckless assault of his child?
Yep, same guy.
Could this have been the same Adrian Peterson whose 2-year-old son he never got around to meeting and then was murdered by the boyfriend of the child’s mother?
Yep, same guy.
Nantz, Wolfson and CBS were totally unaware of this? What CBS tried to pull on the public, on Thanksgiving, no less, was an insult to every man and woman who practices genuine kindness.
Showboats making the wrong kind of waves
College men who don’t learn: Up 10 on the Chiefs in the fourth quarter of February’s Super Bowl, the 49ers’ defense pulled a “Dewey Wins!” They made historic jackasses of themselves when they posed in a group showboating scene in the end zone.
That photo now hangs in many Kansas City area dens and saloons as the Chiefs came back to win, 31-20.
Saturday, the Jets similarly posed after recovering a Dolphins’ fumble. The 0-11 Jets would lose, 20-3.
But such mindless, stomach-turning conduct comes at the official urging of pandering Roger Goodell who prefers to abandon right-headed fans than offend the NFL’s most offensive players.
Tokenism and cheap, prefabricated attention-grabbing gimmicky posed and pandered to as historical social groundbreaking is becoming another new normal.
Thus that female kickoff “specialist” for Vanderbilt, Saturday, although in many TV quarters her squibbed kick was blindly celebrated as an historic accomplishment on behalf of all young women, could not reasonably be described or considered by honest men and women as better than a colossal flop.
Even had she kicked it better, the whole thing was a maudlin freak show within Vandy’s 0-8 season rather than a well-earned, legitimate athletic achievement.
But the story was hyped, composed and told before it happened: She’s Amelia Earhart! This was preordained a great moment — even if it wasn’t. And now she — name unimportant — has been named SEC Special Teams Co-Player of the Week.
Legit sports continued, that night, with Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones, Jr. on pay-per-view.
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