CBS' blame game and Fox's arrogance

Posted Jan. 17, 2011 @ 4:42 p.m.
Posted By Barry Jackson

Playoff views from the couch:

• CBS' studio analysts were quick to blast Joe Flacco and the officiating for the Ravens' loss, but why no criticism of the receivers? Anquan Boldin dropped a potential touchdown, had one catch for minus-two yards and couldn't create separation all day. And T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped an easy 4th-and-18 catch that would have prolonged Baltimore's final drive. And why not blame the offensive line for allowing five sacks? For the CBS talking heads, quarterbacks and officials are easier targets.

• Shame on CBS for allowing Subway to hijack its Steelers-Ravens postgame show. Jared Fogle, co-star of Subway commercials, visited the studio to discuss running in a marathon (who cares?) and Subway's new sandwiches. Promotion for sponsors should never infiltrate programming to that extent. It's embarrassing.

• Fox's Jimmy Johnson offered the most insightful explanation in predicting why the Packers would beat the Falcons. He said running the ball and playing good defense translates to a lot of wins in the regular season, as it did for Atlanta, but when the talent on the teams is comparable in the postseason, explosive plays often are the determining factor. And Johnson noted that the Packers led the league in long gains, and the Falcons tied Carolina for the fewest.

• As if there isn't enough clutter already, why did Fox need to superimpose the words "NFL divisional Fox" in large letters in the corner of the screen? But this is the same network that arrogantly called its 4:15 p.m. ET game "America's Game of the Week'' during the regular season.

• Fox's Daryl Johnston was correct in questioning why the Seahawks didn't run Marshawn Lynch more against the Bears early, but his commentary was generally tiresome and repetitive, full of regurgitated lines, such as "You can't turn the ball over," and restating the obvious on replays. When Seattle tried a field goal down 28-0, Johnston didn't give an opinion, saying only it was an "interesting decision."

Then there was Tony Siragusa, who said the Seahawks "have to keep their feet underneath them" and "the snow isn't helping the field conditions at all." (You don't say?) But at least Siragusa adds some personality to an otherwise lifeless broadcast crew.

• Why do announcers persist in asking players which opponent they would prefer in the next round of the playoffs when nobody ever answers? "It doesn't matter," Charles Woodson told Fox's Curt Menefee, who should know better.

• Yes, he could have been more concise, but NBC's Mike Mayock did an exceptional job breaking down strategy in the Saints-Seahawks game. He was an upgrade over NBC's Joe Theismann/Joe Gibbs experiment a year ago.

• Most unusual interview: ESPN's Cris Carter, who helped mentor Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, reminded Bowe — in the presence of coach Todd Haley — that "I told you to apologize to coach for being a jerk and (say), 'I will submit my talents to you.' ''

• CBS' Bill Cowher was prescient — or perhaps just lucky — in suggesting before the Jets-Patriots game that "the law of averages" could catch up with the Patriots in terms of their lack of turnovers (10 all season). Tom Brady then threw his first interception after 339 passes without one.


Barry Jackson covers sports media for the Miami Herald.


Pro Football Weekly's annual awards issue (dated Jan. 23) is on sale now, featuring All-NFL, All-Conference and All-Rookie teams, MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Executive of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year — all selected by PFW editors and contributors along with members of the Professional Football Writers of America — as well as a Golden Toe Award selected by PFW editors only. The print edition also contains a preview of the draft outlook for the first four teams to make selections in April, as well as previews of the two conference championship games. The print edition is available at retail outlets around the country and also online at, where you can purchase a print copy or an electronic (PDF) version.