Blackout Sheds Light on Sportscasters’ Limits

CBS has to be breathing a huge sigh of relief. It’s Super Bowl party was starting to look like a huge dud. Baltimore took a 28-6 lead on the first play of the second half. Then the lights went out — literally — triggering a 35-minute delay.

Fortunately, the 49ers came roaring back out of the break. Nothing keeps viewers tuned in and engaged like a close game, even if the use of this enormous platform to showcase the first-year series “Elementary” has been dealt a serious blow, inasmuch as it won’t begin probably until after 11 p.m. ET. Viewers will gradually start clapping off their sets.

Still, if the delay showed anything, it’s how ill-equipped sportscasters often are when it comes to dealing with anything that isn’t about the game. Forced to vamp to kill time, all the CBS studio crew could do was replay the first half highlights, and debate who might benefit from the stoppage. They might as well have replayed Beyonce’s halftime show, which at least had a bit of spark and sizzle to it. (Incidentally, I honestly didn’t know there were that many back-up dancers in all of America. We should start exporting them.)

Like I said, the good news — especially for CBS — is we’re back to this being a football game. Because when it briefly became a news story, the network’s football gang showed just how out of their depth they are.


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