Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Blattings: CBS Shits the Bed

Since the Brethren are bogged down with work this holiday season, we welcome Mitchell Blatt of Juiced Sports to the ever-growing list of contributors.

The San Diego Chargers were down 10-17 to the Tennessee Titans Sunday afternoon as they were driving with less than a minute left. They got inside the ten with 18 seconds left, and my eyes were glued to the TV.

Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: Titans-Chargers was not actually the featured game for CBS' Midwestern region including Cleveland, where I was watching, and wherever else they divided up the Midwest into for this week. Packers-Raiders was the featured game. The Packers won 38-7. But, I don't blame the CBS for broadcasting that yawn-inducing bloodbath; the Packers were pretty bad last year, so it could have easily been a yawn-inducing joke.

the rest, after...

Luckily, FOX had a good matchup between the Lions and Cowboys that came down to the Boys' final possession. But CBS was showing bonus coverage of the Titans-Chargers game, and bonus coverage is sometimes the only good thing about NFL Sundays.

So, it was Chargers ball inside the 10, down by 7, with 18 seconds left and third down. Then a voice came on as play continued. The voice began speaking slowly, but I could tell what was going to happen, I just hoped the voice would last long enough.

"Due to NFL contractual obligations..." Philip Rivers calls the signals.

"We will not be able to bring you..." He takes the snap.

"The remainder of the game." He tosses a pass toward the end zone.

Will it be caught? Will the Chargers take it to overtime? Will they win?

I didn't see because they switched to the Browns-Jets game. Far be it for CBS to restrict the Browns fans' rights to see the coin toss or the opening kickoff. The first 18 seconds of a local game are definitely more important than the last 18 seconds of a one-possession game. Forget about overtime, it would have been enough just to see the Chargers tie it. (They ended up winning in overtime.)

It makes sense from the NFL's perspective, though. They don't let a large number of their fans watch big games on Thursdays. They scheduled Patriots-Colts for one o'clock earlier this year. The Patriots-Steelers game Sunday was at four o'clock, also not broadcast to many people.

The concept of regional games doesn't make sense. No one from Cleveland is going to watch Detroit or Indianapolis just because they are regional. People watch games played by teams other than their favorite because they are exciting, not because "this team is close to my hometown so they are my second favorite". Seems like they could make more money by showing the best games and getting the best ratings.

And with the NFL so obsessed with profit, even they should feel rage about that.

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