The NFL Network’s Amateur Hour

Major League Baseball is oft-cited for its on-line operation (and was considered, and apparently, ultimately rejected as a model for a cohesive public radio online strategy.) I’ve been more interested to see what the NFL Network would do– perhaps it’s because I’m juggling two intense football books, Dan Jenkins’ Semi-Tough and Michael Lewis’ The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, the latter reccomended by trusted authiroites Malcolm Gladwell and Radio Open Source.

Becuase I’m among the lucky few who can, I am watching the second game broadcast of the NFL Network. I am a fan of Bryant Gumbel’s work on HBO and have actually grown to like Chris Collinsworth on Inside the NFL after hating him for years. Thus, I was surprised by criticism of the duo I found at (the victorious) Yahoo Answers.

The sound from the field mics is horrible. Bryant Gumbel sounds lost, as though he’s never done play-by-play before– he sounds more like a weatherman doing a high school basketball game than the veteran broadcaster that he is. Gumbel still managed a diva moment, however, when he grandly declared, twice, that he would not name the errant Ravens long-snapper (apparently his name is Matt Katula) because, well, it didn’t seem fair. [Howard Bloom has a more extensive review of Gumbel’s career and his performance last week.] Collinsworth wasn’t much better in the first half– he didn’t realize that it was fourth down and advocated for the Ravens to go for it with 12 seconds left at the Bengals 20. In the third quarter, they livened things up with the obligatory replay of Collinsworth Super Bowl touchdown. I figured the broadcast would be better given that they had three months of the season to prepare

(Ravens quarterback Steve McNair, one of my favorites, is having a bad game so far– but he hasn’t made any plays awful as this, yet:)


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