The Ravens overtime win at Denver on Saturday was seen by an average of 35.3 million viewers, which was the largest audience ever for a Saturday AFC divisional playoff game (CBS says its records only go back as far as 1987-88. The 20.1 rating was up 9% from last year’s Broncos-Pats Tebowmania division playoff game, and CBS said the average viewership peaked with 40.8 million viewers between 8:00-8:30.

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Rob Parker gets suspended for 30 days for racist comments about Robert Griffin. While on suspension he talks to a local Detroit television station in a seven minute interview and says “I can’t believe it. Looking back on some of the comments, I can see where people could take it out of context and run with it.”

Wait a second: a host on First Take complaining about others taking something out of context, and running with it? Isn’t that a perfect description of First Take?

Second of all, when you get suspended from your job and publicly complain about it, what is the upside? Are you so naive to believe that since it was a local Detroit station, that it would not make its way back to Bristol? Or did you think that nobody there would object to your lack of contrition.

When Parker’s suspension ended, his contract was up for renewal. I am sure he was equally shocked that TWWL elected to not offer him a new contract. Some people don’t get it – and never will.

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Then there is Brent Musburger. He made some comments about a woman in the audience who happened to be attractive enough to be Miss Alabama, and also happened to be dating the quarterback of the game he was broadcasting. Here is my question: why is it appropriate for the espn’s camera to linger on Katherine Webb, but not appropriate for the announcer – who is under orders to avoid dead air – say something?

Unfortunately for Musburger, he – just like Parker – elected to publicly offer his opinion that he did not say anything inappropriate. Whether he did or did not is a moot point. There is a time and place to talk about that, and it is behind closed doors with your employer. His comment on the situation, just like Parker’s, is quite possibly more damaging than the initial comment. You just can’t go around showing up your boss in public, and expect to keep your job. Just because he has been with the same company for over twenty years that does not make him irreplaceable; based on what he does and his age the opposite is actually the case.

As for Webb, was a person who has spent years competing in beauty pageants offended or embarrassed? I doubt it; in fact, she just accepted a job for Inside Edition covering the Super Bowl. If she’s not bothered by the attention, why should espn or anyone else be?

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Saturday’s game between the Ravens and Broncos was incredible, which is a good thing for Dan Dierdorf. Fortunately for him people will remember the game and forget how awful he was as the commentator. It wasn’t really one specific thing, it was just that he (just like Musburger) did not know when to SHUT UP! This is television, not radio; we can see what just happened. There’s really no need to go on and on and on after a touchdown, unless you are going to do what you’re supposed to do: offer insightful analysis thanks to your expertise that the average fan would not have picked up on. With Dierdorf that wasn’t the case; he instead did what he always does, which is to point out the obvious.

Perhaps Dierdorf would be better off on radio, where there needs to be plenty of conversation in order to paint the picture. Considering he has a face made for radio, that might be the perfect career move.

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Dierdorf wasn’t the only analyst blundering his way through a game this weekend. Before the game began Brian Billick said that the Falcons are 13-7 in the last five seasons at home; they only play four home games a year now? At one point Billick was saying that Seattle had no timeouts while a graphic was correctly indicating that they had two. At another point he said 27-10 would make it a two-possession game.

The most befuddling was with less than a minute to go and Seattle down by six, Billick stated that the Seahawks should kick a field goal and go for the onside kick.

Huh? And teams are considering hiring him as their head coach, with that kind of decision making?

Then moments after the game ended and the Falcons won, Billick delivered his coup de grâce by announcing “that win, this win right here, legitimizes the Seattle Seahawks as the number one seed and makes them the team to beat”. Jim Nantz did something similar earlier this year but immediately corrected himself; I’m not sure if Billick ever realized what he said, or who won.

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Perhaps the bigger question is why Billick was doing this game at all? For years Fox’ number one team had been Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and their number two team has been Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa. Thom Brennaman and Billick were in the mix with all the other Fox announcing crews, somewhere from number three to seven. Based on what I heard Sunday I would assume the Albert and his team will be back to the number two spot going forward. If I’m Brennaman I would request a new color analyst.

 

 

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Last week Dan Shaughnessy writes a garbage article disparaging the next opponent of the Pats, and it creates a buzz. So now Gerry Callahan does the same, writing that the ‘Ravens up to speed’. Can we start a petition that Boston area writers who only follow the Red Sox and know nothing about the Patriots are forbidden from writing about the Pats?

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Of course the athletes these people are paid to comment about are not much brighter. Ravens special teams Brendon Ayanbadejo player decides that the smartest thing he can do is poke the Bear, calling the New England offense a gimmick and then bringing up the 2007 season. Perhaps the reason Baltimore gave up two special team touchdowns was because he and his team mates were spending more time thinking of something clever to tweet, and not enough time tackling.

For context, Ayanbadejo tweeted a year ago that he wasn’t going to watch the Super Bowl because the ‘two best teams’, the 49ers and Ravens, were not playing. Apparently being a gracious loser is a lost art, because Houston’s Jonathan Joseph declares that the Texans are a better team than the Pats. Dude, you lost! You were down 38-13 until you scored a couple of meaningless touchdowns! In two games between the two teams you gave up 83 points, and were outscored by a 2:1 margin, by 41 points! Please explain to me how any of that shows you were the better team?

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