Why don’t TV Sports Announcers Watch Their Own Broadcasts?

Okay, I understand why they wouldn’t actually watch TV while broadcasting the game, but it’s starting to get ridiculous.

I’ll focus on hockey and football, because that is what I watch mostly.

Watching tonight the big Ovechkin/Crosby rematch…err, the Caps/Pens first game since their epic (Jim Rome shout-out for a member of the crowd) playoff battle, and Crosby scores on one of those weird goals where the goalie wanders out to play a puck and it takes an odd bounce to sit in front of the net for the opposing team to knock in.  This one was doubly-weird because a) the Pens usually have goals scored against them like this because of Fleury’s tendency to act like he’s going to get a sandwich when playing the puck and b) Fedotenko missed the open net and it took an extra second or two for Crosby to poke it in.

This is all clearly viewable, but the announcer (PS, up in the booth) and the color commentator (BE, between the benches) both miss this fact, and debate whether the goal will go to Fedotenko or Malkin (who dumped it in) (and yes, I’m too lazy to type out the names of the announcers…I’ve been up since 5 AM).  They even remark on the fact that the ref took a while to point to the goal.  “He must have lost sight of it” says PS.  Uh, no, ref-y don’t point-y to net-y until puck-y cross line-y.

Multiple replays are going on at this point (I mean, not all at once) which shows clearly that the puck didn’t go over the line until Crosby scores, but they keep missing it.  The arena announcer comes on the PA and *announces* the goal to Crosby and they are still debating if Fedotenko got it.  Finally, BE sees the 5th (or whatever) replay, and notices that the reason why the ref took so long to indicate the goal is because it wasn’t scored until Crosby, well, scored the goal.  Brilliant.

Later on, Caps go up 2-1 when Fehr shoots towards the net and Orpik ends up chipping it into his own goal.  Although the highlight reel goals are the ones that make it onto SportsCenter (official motto: “We haven’t started sucking since 1989”) because, well, they are highlight reel goals, the deflection goal, either off of your teammate or the opposition, is pretty typical.  Once again, the announcers miss this for half a minute until BE finally sees the 19th (or whatever) replay and sees that it goes off of Orpik.

And this is one game.

Now, I understand why you wouldn’t want the announcers to just sit there and watch an HDTV broadcast of the game and announce off of that.  At least while the game was going on.  For hockey, you couldn’t fit a set between the benches anyway, and even with HDTV, you can’t see the entire ice and things going on behind the play, off wing, etc.  Fine.

But the broadcast company could and should have some guy sitting in front of a large HDTV, and talk with the producer to clear up screw-ups like this.

digression: unless you can’t afford it or don’t have HD sources in your area, if you are a sports fan, you *have* to get HDTV.  I mean, not in a moral sense, but you have no idea what you are missing.  I got HD a few years ago during the NBA playoffs and there was something…mesmerizing about Charles Barkley’s bald-ass head during the studio show, especially since TNT’s HD broadcasts are among the best, along with CBS’ SEC football broadcasts.  You really can tell the difference between HD quality.

Football broadcasts, for various reasons, are even worse.

For one thing, a large group of Football announcers are, well, getting up there in age.  They seem to have trouble recognizing basic things like, oh, noticing if a play resulted in an actual touchdown or not.  Or which players were involved in a play.

Also, with all of the on-screen eye candy, like the generated first-down line, there are way too many cases of the announcer saying something like “And that will be a 3rd and two” even if the play ends up a yard past the line.  Yes, we know the generated first-down line is not official, but can you have someone in the booth watching this? 

And there are *way* too many cases when the Umpire is indicating a penalty or something, and the announcers seem oblivious to it, to the point where the broadcast team simply fails to indicate what is happening on the field, even when it is clearly visible to any viewer.

Any and all of these things should be fixable.  It’s rare now that an incident doesn’t happen every weekend.

posted on Thursday, January 21, 2010 8:53 PM Print
# re: Why don’t TV Sports Announcers Watch Their Own Broadcasts?
1/22/2010 9:28 AM

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