David Zurawik

Was that a sideline reporter I saw on CBS telecast of Bengals-Chargers?

CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson (right) interviews Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis during the Bengals-Chargers AFC wild-card playoff game.

With the Ravens out of the playoffs, thanks to their miserable play the last two weeks of the season, I promised myself I was only going to watch football this weekend - not write about it.

So, here I am writing.



I can't resist commenting on CBS Sports giving viewers of Sunday's playoff game between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers exactly what I have been lobbying for all year: a sideline reporter.


Tracy Wolfson joined Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, and she provided viewers with some of the things I wanted in a Ravens telecast: injury reports, condition of the field, a sense of what was happening on the benches.

So, what I'm wondering is what happened to the explanation CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus offered that sideline reporters weren't necessary and, worse, they cut into the airtime of all that excellent analysis we would otherwise get from Simms.

Yes, I thought it was the lamest explanation I ever heard as well. I also thought it showed a contempt for the fans and the passion they brought to watching a telecast of their team on CBS.

I still believe it is about money, which is ridiculous given what CBS Sports makes off these games.

Maybe they are only unnecessary and a distraction until the playoffs arrive and the network can charge even higher rates for advertising time.

Whatever the case, typical of the difference between CBS and the other networks that televise the games, Fox gave viewers of its Sunday game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers two excellent reporters: Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews.

And I thought I was through letting CBS make me angry with its NFL coverage this season now that the Ravens were gone.