Ravens TV: CBS crew opened strong, kept focus

Baltimore Sun reporter

From the Z on TV blog:

The CBS announcing team of Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts doesn't exactly set your heart racing, but let's be fair. They did a pretty good job with a generally boring game.

They won me over right at the top of the telecast when Eagle had the good sense to interrupt his scripted opening to let viewers hear the crowd noise and enjoy the exciting images of the Ravens coming onto the field.

So many announcers keep talking because they are so in love with the words they wrote in the hotel room the night before. But those up-close and personal shots of the Ravens storming onto the field, really generate onscreen excitement. And coupled with the sounds of an amped-up stadium crowd, they immediately take you out of your living room space and transport you as close to the actual event as you are going to get. Great choice by Eagle to just stop talking and let the images and sounds flow all over the audience for a few seconds.

Another way to judge a telecast is how it does late in the fourth quarter when the game is out of reach. Some broadcasters drift and some often get downright get silly, because the adrenaline has been drained from their performance as well.

Maybe it was more the work or the director and producers than it was Fouts and Eagle, but the team in the booth stayed focused until the end. Give them points for that.

Credit should also go to Fouts for calling out Broncos coach Josh McDaniels for punting on fourth down late in the game when the only hope of a chance his team had was to go for it.

"I don't understand why the Broncos punted on fourth down," Fouts said. "It just sends such a negative message. I mean, you expect your team to fight for 60 minutes."

Because of the contractual relationship among the NFL, the teams and the TV networks, you don't often hear such undiluted criticism.

Fouts and Eagle made a couple of mistakes in identifying names of players, but they were quickly corrected, which is probably the work of the director and producers feeding them the correct named and data in their ears or on a computer screen.

The director and producers gave us lots of Ravens-crazy crowd images early on, and they were not afraid to show us the very empty looking stands near the end of the game after many fans made an early exit. The production crew opened strong and kept its focus to the end.

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