Published October 12, 2010 - 6:00am
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While watching Saturday afternoon’s game at a sports bar in downtown Tuscaloosa, I found myself in great dismay not at the score, as it was bound to be a tough game, but at the frustrating sports casting. The CBS coverage of Saturday’s game failed to meet my needs as a viewer and left me feeling increasingly frustrated throughout the cast.
Where CBS Failed
Throughout the game Gary Danielson did a poor job at remaining unbiased in his coverage. His voice rose with so much enthusiasm during a positive play for South Carolina I found myself wondering if he was secretly pulling a Brandi Chastain, wildly waving his shirt around above his head in studio. He then followed this enthusiasm with periods of almost complete quiet during an Alabama drive, muttering excuses for South Carolina’s failures. If Danielson can not at least pretend he is neutral during coverage, CBS should allow someone else to cover the game instead.
Verne Lundquist did an adequate job covering the game however I did find myself laughing as the following jewels left his mouth during coverage:
• “Here’s a cashew of information for you”
• “It doesn’t mean a hill of beans now”
• “It was hard and high”
And my personal favorite (drum roll please):
• “Guys running on the field, guys running off the field, time called.”
Thanks for the brilliant insight Verne, but I could clearly see that myself. The role of the sports caster should be to explain the intricacies, recaps and confusing plays- so cut the fluff and let me watch the game.
I do expect sports casters to know who key players are however, and Lundquist and Danielson made a large error on a second half kick return calling Barron as the receiving player until after the large play was over, all the while the ball remained in the capable hands of Marquis Maze.
The actual game footage also lacked on Saturday, due to poor angling and failing to realize the view that the casual sports viewer wishes to see of the field. Before plays began, the cameras zoomed in too close to the field, making it impossible to see the line up and predict the next actions until about 5 seconds prior to the snap. This left viewers scrambling to understand what to look for in the next play.
I also enjoyed the perspective shots from ground level looking up into the blaring sun above William-Brice – they brought back memories of watching The Lion King as a small child. However, I do not watch football games for a trip down memory lane to recollect pride rock and how it made me feel; I watch football for the action, grueling hits and playmakers. Scenic panoramas of the stadium are all well and good before the game, but after four views, everyone can see that the stadium is packed with crimson-clad fans. I do not need a zooming shot before each and every play.
Apparently CBS does not believe in replays. I am accustomed to watching the live play, immediately followed by a replay in which the casters explain the game. The explanation was there, but few replays. Instead, I got head shots of random players putting their mouth pieces in, a slow awkward pan of the bench or a gem of Coach Saban mouthing what appeared to be a curse word.
The Bottom Line
As long as CBS continues propagating poor camera angles coupled with a very biased sports caster, they will continue down the sad path of network decent recently travelled by NBC, continuing to serve their role as the awkward step child network of the sports giants of Fox and ABC.