By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun
7:31 AM EST, November 19, 2013
Like I said in my review of Sunday's telecast, you ultimately have to praise any broadcasters who can maintain their focus for more than five hours as CBS Sports did Sunday in telecasting the Ravens loss to the Bears.
Five hours, a long delay and much weird and dangerous weather of which to keep viewers appraised.
While some fans found Phil Simms and Jim Nantz a welcome upgrade in the booth, others had their issues with the TV afternoon they spent with CBS.
This email from Mark hit the Z on TV inbox before halftime Sunday. Like me, he was unhappy that CBS went to the New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills game when the Bears-Ravens contest was delayed for a tornado-strength storm that blew into Chicago:
It seems like the jerks at CBS forgot that Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, are all having early games in our division. Why are these schmucks (not Peter) showing us this crap, the Jets vs. Bills. I hope you unload on them in your column tomorrow. Will probably not make a difference though... Thanks.
Forty minutes later, after CBS finally switched to the Cincinnati-Cleveland game, Mark emailed again:
Looks like they finally found an intelligent human to put on the Cincinnati game. Thanks for all your good work.
Z responds: Mark, a day later, and I still totally agree with you. You just wonder if anybody at CBS ever puts themselves in the shoes of the viewer/fan.
I often think CBS Sports sees the game first and foremost as a giant billboard on which to plaster promotions for their prime-time shows over and over and over. They are lucky that some fans will take their sloppy, overly-commercial broadcasts and not complain.
By the way, I did the math, and with the delay, we saw at least 150 percent the number of promos for CBS shows than we see in a normal week. I knew there was a reason that I dreamed of "Mike and Molly" Sunday night.
After the game, Don tweeted his review:
Not a bad called game. Simms made some mistakes, but most with names. We know CBS is being cheap while making a billion per year.
Z responds: I agree about Simms and Nantz calling a decent game.
Jeremy included references to Lance Barrow and Mike Arnold, producer and director, respectively, in his Twitter reaction to my review, which was posted online Sunday night:
Hey David, nice piece. Not sure if you know this but Nantz, Barrow & most of the crew (tho not Arnold) make up CBS' golf crew.
I said I knew about Nantz, but not the folks on the crew.
I have no idea what % of the crew is the same but I do know it's a good number of them, as one golf & NFL fan said.
Here's a reader who disagreed with my complaint about CBS Sports once again not having reporters to cover the sidelines or any in-stadium breaking news Sunday.
If people had been injured, or had there been damage to the stadium, or had a tornado swept through like it (unfortunately) did in other parts of Illinois, I'm sure the story would have been covered as such. I'm sure that the game would have even been postponed or suspended if the situation warranted it.
Honestly, they covered what did happen well. They got a close-up with sound of Gene Steratore talking on the phone before he announced the temporary delay. They had Nantz interview the NFL guy up in the booth. They had Simms do the Dick Cass interview...who cares who did the interview? I give them credit for doing it.
It was a bad line of thunderstorms, and after they ended, the wind had a huge effect. That was made eminently clear by the broadcasters and production/camera crews. What is your obsession with sideline reporters?
Z responds: Maybe you are "sure" that CBS Sports would have come through, but not me, my friend. And I wonder what you base your bedrock belief in CBS Sports on. Their superb coverage of the power outage at the Super Bowl? Go back and read the reviews of how CBS came through on that one.
Who would have "covered it" if people would have been injured? Simms? It's one thing to hold a microphone out and nod agreement with whatever NFL or team executives say. It's another thing to cover news. And CBS Sports is just lucky there was none of that real bad news for them to cover Sunday.
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