Reason No. 7,865 why the NFL is king: When a power outage delays the broadcast of a sporting event, the league, you know, informs fans as to what’s going on.
Such was the case yesterday afternoon, when the electricity bugs hit Ralph Wilson Stadium, delaying coverage of the Chargers-Bills contest. CBS was even kind enough to scroll the update along the bottom of the screen, as we witnessed the Steelers beat up on the lowly Bengals.
I’m working out a bill to TBS for the pair of dents I now have in my TV, the result of Fisher Price toys being hurled in its general direction on consecutive days. First, Saturday, during the now-infamous Steve Harvey-Bloopers and Practical Jokes (where was Ed McMahon, by the way?) delay, and again last night when I simply couldn’t take any more nonstop mispronunciation of David Ortiz’s name.
It is inconceivable that any broadcast team would make baseball fans yearn for Fox, yet TBS repeatedly proved to an American audience that it was unprepared and incompetent in its attempt to bring postseason baseball to the masses. That was enough. But Saturday’s inexplicable behavior brought it to another level of hatred, not for the power outage alone, but for the way it was handled.
No scroll. None. The only way viewers knew what was happening was by flipping on the ol’ AM dial or by trying desperately to log onto one of the many message boards bogged down by a sudden overflow of traffic. Even worse, after Chip Caray apologized to viewers, he added, “You didn’t miss much.” Nah, Chip. Not much. Just . . .oh . . . the game’s FIRST RUN. It was at that point I wanted a direct line to the booth to be able to fill these losers in with the humorous antics of Steve &%$#*&^ Harvey.
Let me tell you what YOU missed, pal. Bloopers. Honestly, bloopers.
It was at that moment, I guarantee, that the seven people across America who had Frank TV scheduled on their DVR decided it wasn’t worth it. Very Funny? I’m suing TBS for false representation.
But here’s the good news: After having to endure that lame trio for almost three weeks, Tony Kornheiser is going to sound like a blessing tonight. I guess we give thanks to TBS for that at least.
Who they’re picking
Our roundup of pundit picks for this week's Broncos-Patriots showdown:
- Jim McCabe, Boston Globe: Broncos. “You have to figure Brandon Marshall will run a variety of routes - deep, deeper, and as far as he can run.”
- Sam Adams, Rocky Mountain News: Patriots 30, Broncos 23. “Anybody catch former Pittsburgh Steelers coach-turned-CBS studio analyst Bill Cowher's line about Monday night's game? Here's the replay: ‘America, listen to me - even Joe The Plumber can pass against [Denver's] defense.’ . . .”
- Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 28, Broncos 23. “For all those dancing on the Patriots' 2008 tombstone, I would say this: New England has averaged 13.2 wins a year over the previous six seasons, and it's not all because of one player. I still say I'd be stunned if this team doesn't win seven of its last 11 and contend for January football; five of the next seven are at home, with an eminently sweepable Seattle-Oakland road daily double to follow.”
- ESPN.com staff: Broncos across the board.
- Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 30, Broncos 20. “The Broncos have had problems on defense and the Patriots have issues on offense. So something gives. I say the New England offense gets it going. The Patriots are glad to be back home after two weeks in California and it shows.”
- CBS Sports staff: Five of six pick the Broncos to cover.
- Cold, Hard, Football Facts: Broncos 23, Patriots 20. “These perennial AFC powers have winning records, but both are coming off losses that have raised doubts. The Broncos rank fourth in Passing Yards Per Attempt, and they will oppose a Patriots defense that is No. 26 in Defensive Passer Rating. With Matt Cassel under center, New England doesn’t generate enough offense to trade points with explosive teams.”
- Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 27, Broncos 24. “The Broncos are one team that have had the Patriots' number during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. They have won 16 of 19 over the Pats, including five in a row in Foxborough. While both teams look very shaky defensively, Jay Cutler's emergence has brought Denver's offense up as much as Brady's injury has brought New England's down. The Broncos, however, are now dealing with multiple injuries, and the Pats, suddenly a desperate team, will play like it in barely holding serve on Monday night.”
- USA Today staff: Four of eight pick New England.
- Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Broncos 27, Patriots 23 “’AAWWK!’ warbles the Upset Bird. ‘This should've been Game of the Week. Gameofwwwk!’ Patriots used to be big as the Monday stage, but no more. Denver has won five of past six at Nuevo England, and Mike Shanahan is 9-3 vs. Bill Belichick. Game marks 600th MNF broadcast, but John Madden is skipping this one. Put Frank Caliendo in the booth and see if anyone notices. ‘Yeah,’ agrees U-Bird. ‘That reminds me. Pats sure could use Brett Favre. Braawwk!’”
- Yahoo! staff: Broncos across the board.
- Peter Schrager, FOXSports.com: Broncos 35, Patriots 30. “If we learned anything from Sunday's 31-10 Chargers blowout of the Patriots, it's that Matt Cassel may not be the answer in New England. Is it time to consider giving Daunte Culpepper a call? How about Jake Plummer? Drew Bledsoe? Jeff George? Hell, is Dan Fouts interested?”
- Nancy Gay, San Francisco Chronicle: Broncos. “The comfort level with Pats quarterback Matt Cassel is not as high now that he's thrown four interceptions in his last three games. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler has passed for 1,694 yards and Denver should take an early lead and not let go.”
- T-Bone: Patriots.
- Our pick: Broncos 35, Patriots 28. Despite concerns in the secondary, the Patriots are still 15th in the league against the pass, while the Broncos are dead-last, allowing an average of 255.5 yards per game. Still, that’s one fewer yard on average than the Chargers are giving up, and we all know how that worked out for Matt Cassel and Co. last week.
Opponents have only thrown on New England a total of 134 times this season, least in the NFL (The 130 rush attempts against the Pats are also the lowest in the league). Would anybody be that surprised to see Jay Cutler put it up 50 times tonight alone, with Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal in the waiting?