Friday, November 30, 2007

Wall to Wall

Like many people with satellite dishes (sorry about that, cable folks) I watched the Cowboys-Packers game last night, and I was absolutely amazed at the total level of coverage across the media. The NFL Network went all out, which was expected, because it aired the game live and wanted to promote it as much as possible. But NFLN also went red-carpet with two hours (!) of pregame and reports every day leading up to the game. The coin toss was covered with the solemnity of nuclear arms talks. ESPN and other sports outlets showed only a little less restraint, blanketing the airwaves and web with endless hours of coverage and predictions, and ESPN News gave scoring updates every five minutes as the game was being played. All of the hype and overkill of a Super Bowl for a regular season game in November! The only thing missing was a jet flyover and a badly performed national anthem.

Has it come to this? That because we have the channel capacity and enough talking heads every "big" game is now a mega-event? When the Cowboys played the Patriots it was the "Duel in Dallas," and the Patriots-Colts game was much the same. Enough already. These games are in danger of becoming like the boy who cried wolf--we hear it so much that when we get to a real championship game we hardly pay attention. With so many channels and so many sports events maybe you have to shout from the rooftops to be heard anymore. But as for me, I've got my earplugs in.

On a related note, with all its vast resources couldn't the NFL get someone better than Bryant Gumbel to do the play-by-play for its games? Gumbel is a teriffic reporter and interviewer, but at calling live games he is terrible. Not only does he have a whiny voice, last night he constantly mispronounced names, misidentified teams and players and ignored important moments. When Brett Favre got hurt Gumbel made no mention of it, despite the fact that everyone watching could see Favre grabbing his arm in obvious pain. Gumbel should take lessons from his brother Greg at CBS, who does a great job with both football and basketball. By the way, I'm apparently not the only one who feels this way.


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