By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun
6:00 AM EDT, October 22, 2013
It was a punishing TV Sunday with the Ravens losing to the Steelers and CBS Sports giving us Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts as our broadcast team for the game.
Some viewers couldn't even wait until the end of the game to vent.
Here's one of my favorites. It comes from Pam in Reisterstown, and it hit the in-basket before halftime Sunday. I love the way it walks right up to a full-blown rant:
My husband and I are so disenchanted with trying to watch NFL on CBS I have picked up my laptop right in the middle of the Ravens/Steelers game to see if I could find anywhere to vent. I found your 10/7 article.
I used to love watching football. I’d love to love to watching football again.
Do you think there’s any hope?
I am so tired of having a handful of commercials shoved down my throat over and over again while I wonder what’s happening in the game, and to make it worse (WORSE!) CBS (In ADDITION TO THE AWFUL COMMERCIALS) also pummels me with promotions for their programming.
It is awful.
I am curious to know why they think this will keep folks watching their network; I am so anti-CBS now.
Please keep griping and helping us to be heard
Football season is just not the same.
I thought Pam was going to go into a Full-Z rant when she hit the CAPS on (WORSE!), but she pulled back.
You made my day, Pam. And you reminded me as I sat down to write my review Sunday night how obnoxious and distracting the ever rising tide of CBS promos are getting -- and how much time the play-by-play announcer spends reading them instead of concentrating on the game.
Here's one from John that found something nice to say about the telecast:
... Frankly, the best part of the broadcast was the aerial shots of Pittsburgh from the blimp. It really is a beautiful city.
Faint praise, sure. But I have to tell you, I had the same thought to some extent. I think the producer and director made an extra effort to give viewers some different looks at the "City of Rivers" as they came out of commercials.
And I was suprised to find myself thinking that Pittsburgh looked pretty good. Credit where credit is due.
Here's Betty in Baltimore:
Love reading your column on Monday mornings. What you say is so true and it is the reason that I turn off the sound on my TV and listen to the game on the radio.
But Roland in Baltimore writes:
I enjoy your Monday columns analyzing the TV Commentary of the Ravens game.
Yesterday I was so sick with the commentary that I tried turning to WBAL Radio to listen to their commentary and muted the sound on TV. The problem is the 5 second delay in the radio broadcast caused the TV play to be completed and the Radio crew just announcing the play after it was over!
This quite disconcerting and really not a viable method. Does the FCC maintain that even Sports needs the delay? It would be nice if the Radio commentary was in real time!!!
I’m sure this probably is impossible to change!!
Here's another from Baltimore with the fan facing the same dilemma:
Z, as usual, your analysis of CBS's football ineptitude is spot on. I actually turned the volume off turing the whole second part of the fourth quarter.
Oh, how I wanted to turn on the WBAL radio game broadcast. But, the radio broadcast is a whole play behind the televised game.
I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take the sloppy unfocused play-by-play announcing. I couldn't take missing part of the live action for ill timed replays that should have been part of the half-time show. I couldn't take the the lack of any reasonable football color commentary from Fouts.
Come on Dan, you were an NFL quarterback give us some real analysis - that's what you get paid for. Enough already!
I have spoken to WBAL radio engineers and producers about this, and it is not something they can control. If you watch on satellite versus cable, you will have a time difference as well. the delay is in the distribution of the signal through that particular technology.
I know some readers say they have hit days where the TV pictures and radio play-by-play are basically in synch.
Some readers say it's fine -- as Betty did. And some can't abide the lag -- like Roland.
Any insights on this are appreciated, and I will share with readers. Our local WBAL radio team is outstanding. It is the solution to the folks in the booth on CBS -- but only if the words and pictures are in synch.
Here's a comment from Annapolis:
I agree that watching the game on tv is getting to be a pain. A shame that the radio play by play is ahead of tv broadcast.
Now a few other observations-
Fox broadcast of the Redskins game was worse. Just in case anyone didn't know, Jay Cutler was injured. They told us probably 200 times in 3 hours. Mediocre teams get the crappy broadcasters. (Ravens, Redskins, Navy, Maryland). Just my opinion, watching (local) football on Sunday just doesn't have it this year. Sunday nights broadcast teams are the best...
And finally, this from Jeffrey:
Fouts reminds me of my 4th grade math teacher who always fell asleep in class. Why does Baltimore always get the d-team? F'ing terrible cbs...
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