By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun
7:58 AM EST, November 5, 2013
My review of Sunday's sad CBS telecast of the Ravens loss to the Browns focused on the way tweets from Sun reporters provided what the network should have given viewers but didn't.
Jeff Zrebiec, who was in Cleveland to write a game story for The Sun, repeatedly gave his followers 140-character word pictures during the contest that the CBS Sports cameras and direction missed or ignored.
He tweeted in the first half, for example, about frustrated and angry Ravens players yelling as they came off the field. What an important snapshot to offer in real time as all the pre-game hype from Ravens headquarters about how they regrouped during bye week started to unravel.
But if you were watching CBS, you knew nothing about that -- for all the cameras and crew they had on hand.
Here's what some readers had to say, including one from Oklahoma who offered fans a way to ditch CBS announcers altogether.
One reader from Baltimore wrote:
Well, sure, there were some insightful messages from Twitter but there were also plenty of stupid ones too. How do you filter them out? Is it fair to concentrate on the dim comments of CBS without commenting on the worst comments of Twitter?
Z responds: Well, first of all, let me agree with you about there being "plenty of stupid" comments on Twitter, too. Stupid doesn't start to describe many of the comments on Twitter, especially when you include in this select Sunday afternoon population those people who are drinking and watching a frustrating performance by the home team.
Add in phony macho bluster and snark from people who can hide behind their anonymity, and you have a mountain of stupidity.
But the "dim comments" I went after were coming from guys on CBS who are paid rather well not to be "dim." Most of the really "stupid" stuff on Twitter comes from people who will likely never be paid anything for their thoughts on football -- or life.
As for a filter: Follow The Sun's Zrebiec and Matt Vensel on Twitter. They were superb this week. Zrebiec reported the kinds of on-field and sideline moments CBS used to capture in the early days of NFL TV coverage when I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin watching Vince Lombardi's great Packers teams.
God, I wish CBS Sports would try to get back in touch with its own history.
But since that isn't likely to happen, here are a couple of readers who responded to pleas in recent weeks from readers asking how they can work around the delay between onscreen TV images and radio sound that they get when they mute CBS and tune in WBAL's Ravens radio team.
I agree with your readers regarding the commentary of the NFL coverage on CBS and most channels. It seems the companies are more interested in promoting their shows than the actual game that is underway. I have always wished for an option to mute the announcers and simply listen to the sounds of the game. It would be so much better to have stadium noise than the announcers for 3 hours.
You can solve the problem of the radio delay with the TV broadcast if you have a DVR. I simply pause the live tv until the radio catches up. Then I hit play and can watch the game with the radio broadcast in sync and forgo the mindless "analysis" of the game by the CBS. Hope this helps your readers.
Here's someone from Baltimore seconding that strategy:
I've been muting CBS (and ESPN) for years. Simple work around is to have a DVR, you can pause live tv for 5 seconds until radio catches up and then hit play, stays in sync.
Z responds: Thanks to you both, especially you, Brian. Baltimore's WBAL radio has an excellent Ravens broadcast team. Many readers have asked how they could listen to them instead of the announcers on CBS but still see the network's picture. I hope readers will write next week and let us know if it worked for them.
I live in the northern Virginia suburbs and watch the Ravens normally on CBS, but the Packer game was on Fox. They played a commercial over the Packers first field goal and got back to the game at the ensuing kickoff. Question: Have you noticed this phenom increasing, where field goals and even kickoffs are replaced by commercials? Do you think it’s accidental?
Thanks in advance,
Falls Church, VA
And with the last word today, here's Ken:
Yeah, it was pretty pathetic coverage... scale of 1 to 10 w/ 10 the best? -2 (solid two. Not 1.5 or 2.5 but 2).
I wish this was the worst thing about the game but alas no, it was the Ravens, (cough), run game.
Z responds: Agreed, Ken. Nothing is worse than the Ravens (cough) run game, may it rest in peace or burn in hell. I'm not sure which; I am still so angry about this wretched loss.
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