From the Z on TV blog:
CBS Sports analyst Rich Gannon spent most of Sunday's game between the Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals denying the reality right before his eyes of what a wretched game Joe Flacco was playing.
Maybe it was because they were both one-time University of Delaware quarterbacks. What's the odds of that in the NFL? But whatever the reason, it was a case study of an analyst going into a game with a point of view, and refusing to reconsider it or give it up altogether even though events on the field were contradicting it left and right.
Gannon came into the telecast singing the praises of Flacco, and the more the third-year quarterback sputtered in the first half, the more the CBS analyst looked the other way or blamed others. It was both annoying and fascinating to watch.
On one play in the first half, the Ravens tried to go vertical with receivers going straight down the field on both sides. Flacco was looking to his left all the way, and the multiple receivers on that side were covered.
"He's just got nowhere to go," Gannon said like he knew what he was talking about.
But as he got to the word "nowhere," the producer was running a replay onscreen that showed a Ravens receiver all alone and wide open on the right side of the field.
That's what it took to get Gannon to finally acknowledge, "They just don't look comfortable out there."
He kept saying "they," presumably referring to the Ravens offense, when he should have been calling out Flacco -- loud and clear -- as the biggest problems with the Ravens offense.
And Gannon was willing to blame anyone but Flacco.
"If I'm Cam Cameron [offensive coordinator], I've got to find a way to get my young quarterback going," Gannon said later in the first half.
How about your young quarterback, who is now in his third year, finds a way on his own instead of walking around with that droopy look he gets in his eyes on days when he throws a lot of interceptions.
I don't think Cameron was throwing those interceptions.
Outside of Gannon driving me crazy much of the game with his denial of reality, the telecast was OK.
Bill Macatee and Gannon do not comprise anyone's idea of a network A-Team, but Macatee is a competent play-by-play guy, and he did his job. In fact, Macatee and the producers tried the best they could to create the story line "Flacco is killing the Ravens with a wretched performance" without making their analyst look out of it. Late in the game, Gannon started getting the message, and offered some mild criticism of Flacco.
Next time, Rich, forget what's in your head and heart -- and react to what you and the audience see on the field.
Go Blue Hens.