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Ravens TV: Dierdorf + Gumbel = viewing misery

As if it wasn't painful enough to see the Ravens end their season by giving a game away to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore TV fans had to listen to Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf announcing our humiliation.

Let's start here: What did you think of the interview the two did with victorious Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after the game?

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On bended knee barely starts to describe how worshipful they were as they asked him how he "feels" physically and how great was it that he completed a key third down pass in the second half against a Ravens defense that featured eight men back in coverage. (For the record, he said he was feeling no pain, and he was just happy the young receiver looked up at the right time to catch the ball.)

The tone of the two intrepid interviewers: "You were so great today, Moses, but tell us what were you thinking when you actually got the waters to part?"

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And what did you think of Dierdorf's remarks at the end of the game, when he began by saying, "There is no way to sugarcoat it: This has just been disastrous half of football by Baltimore -- just a complete self-destruction."

There was a pause (as if a producer or Gumbel might have made a suggestion to Mr. Blowhard) before he amended his analysis to include: "Aided by a really good performance by the Steelers."

The same thing happened after the Ravens third touchdown. Dierdorf described it as "relatively easy TD," whatever that means.

I wrote a note to myself: "Maybe it was a great call by the Ravens, no?

After we returned to the game from the post-TD commercial, Dierdorf apparently came to the conclusion that it wasn't such a gift, saying, "Cam Cameron, he designed a beautiful passing play to get Todd Heap open."

I am not going to harp on Dierdorf telling viewers that Roethlesberger was trying to speed up the game -- just moments before the Steelers got a delay of game penalty.

And angry as I am about the whole telecast, in fairness, I can't slam Gumbel too hard. He is a better than average network play-by-play guy. Because Dierdorf is such a gasbag, Gumbel has to be the one in the booth noting trends and patterns and constantly reminding Dierdorf of facts he forgot.

In the first half after Pittsbugh had no more challenges left and there was a fumble that the Ravens recovered, Dierdorf said, "I'm sure Mike Tomlin (Steelers coach) wants a good look at this."

Again there was a pause before the high-priced guys in the booth remembered what they said a few minutes ago about the Steelers being out of challenges.

On the other hand, early in the game Gumbel told viewers: "That is seven straight passing plays for the Ravens."

A few moments later, after another pass, he said, "After six straight passing plays.... " I guess he was counting backward.

One of the worst failings of this team was its inability or unwillingness to try and deconstruct the Ravens problems in the second half.

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We had to wait for the post-game show and Shannon Sharpe before someone clearly pointed the finger at Joe Flacco.

"They call him Joe Cool," Sharpe said, "but not in the second half."

Sharpe explained how Flacco seemed to have lost his composure.

He was being nice, but at least he was saying what everyone saw. Boomer Esiason also pointed at Flacco's poor play in the second half.

In fairness, there were two huge drops by Ravens receivers in the second half. If either catch had been made -- and Flacco certainly made in-the-numbers throws on both -- we might have had a much happier ending.

I have to say after 17 weeks of TV football, I am dismayed by how awful the state of pro football announcing is outside of the Sunday Night team at NBC and Fox's first string of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. If this is the best CBS Sports can give us on a game of this magnitude, there is something wrong with CBS Sports.

I can't tell you how dismayed I was during a conference call this week with the CBS Sports NFL announcers by the level of locker room kissing up that took place between the press and former players like Dierdorf and coaches like Bill Cowher. Honestly, it was like being back in the locker room, and that's one reason TV sports fans are going to be stuck with blowhards like Dierdorf until they and the people who write about TV sportscasting demand better.

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