Sunday's CBS telecast of the Ravens 20-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was so much better than anything else the network delivered this season that I thought I was watching on Bizarro Planet where everything is the opposite of what it is on Earth.
Well, let's qualify that: Most of the telecast was better. Analyst Dan Dierdorf was his usual gasbag self by and large.
You can read my review here.
But readers, viewers and fans didn't react so much to the positive things I had to say about the stellar direction of Suzanne Smith and the overall production led by Mark Wolff as they did Dierdorf.
Bill, in Baltimore, sent this email of announcer annoyance before the game even ended:
1) Does he ever shut up...? 2) And why does he think that every play requires him to speak 3-5 phrases...? I can't stand it.
Z responds: Neither can I, Bill. Neither can I.
Kenny, a Baltimore native and Ravens fan now living in South Dakota, wrote:
"My favorite Dierdorf quote of the game was the following: 'Both teams are playing good defense except the Cincinnati Bengals.' ... Dierdorf's terrible."
Z responds: How can I top that?
And here's Dennis taking the Dierdorf critique to a new level of excellence:
Love your Dierdorf comments. In Dierdorf's case the old saying is true, "You can always tell a Michigan Man, but you can't tell him MUCH!" I cringe every time that pumpkin-headed village idiot does a Ravens game.
Z responds: "Pumpkin-headed village idiot" -- You definitely challenge me to raise my game, Dennis. Gasbag seems kind of tame by comparison. And I like the seasonal theme.
Seriously, though, I did not know Dierdorf went to Michigan. Being a Wisconsin alum, that gives me a brand new reason not to like him. Thanks.
I loved your article this morning on the coverage of yesterday’s game. Fortunately, I did not watch the game – I have season tickets and am at every home game – but glad to hear CBS stepped up their production.
For the games I watch, you nail my thoughts exactly. And I love your comments on Dan Dierdorf – he drives me absolutely crazy and is “unlistenable.”
Anyway, just want you to know I very much enjoy reading your articles. Keep up the good work.
"I agree [that the overall production was better]. With the exception of Dierdorf's mistakes it was an improvement. Dierdorf's mistakes stood out tho."
But not everyone agreed with me on Dierdorf. Frederick writes:
I used to admire your work. But over the last several weeks, I have become annoyed with your little picky, unnecessary criticisms of the CBS crew covering the Ravens, especially Dan Dierdorf.
First, I am from the old school that believes the modern crews are forced to spew out more info, statistics, etc. than is necessary. I miss the Ray Scotts, Jack Bucks and Pat Summeralls. But I understand times change and maybe new school folks like all that garbage.
Nevertheless, I have always felt Dierdorf was one of the best analysts because he comes across as a human being who was also a great football player. You say and i guess you are right that he occasionally misspeaks on some stat or the physical update of a player; but in my mind he more than makes up for any miscues with his human and analytical approach to broadcasting the games.
So lay off of him, unless of course you are getting paid to be petty towards him, then well, we all have to make a living.
Z responds: Frederick, I hope you will follow up on the really interesting theory you offer at the end of your comment and reveal who you think is paying me to be "petty" toward Dierdorf. I will definitely share that with readers next week. And I do love it when readers go all "Guys and Dolls" on me and tell me to "lay off." But I think that's supposed to be followed by the phrase, "If you know what's good for you, buster."
OK, this comment is the winner of the week, because it offered support for something I suspected from the opening moments of the telecast: CBS Sports used more cameras and technology Sunday than it has in the past with the usual Sean-McManus, save-a-buck, small-market, cut-rate productions.
Mark, who was at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, writes:
I noticed a camera in the upper deck at the entry portal between Secs. 500 and 501. I don't make it to every home game, but I usually sit in the same seats and haven't noticed a camera in this spot.
Z responds: Thank you, Mark. Could it be that CBS Sports actually responded to all the complaints about their on-the-cheap treatment of Ravens games and gave us a couple of extra cameras?
Now, if they would just spare us Dierdorf.
P.S. I didn't get all the comments in this week. I will try to get the ones that didn't make it today in next week. But thanks for all of them. I don't know about you, but I am enjoying this conversation -- a lot.