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Reviewing highs, lows from CBS' Super Bowl coverage; Analysts assess Fins; Canes, Heat

Note: If you haven't read the Sunday buzz -- in which we assembled a panel of ex-GMs and analysts to assess the Dolphins and what they should do this offseason - please see our last post. There's also Canes recruiting, Heat and Marlins news. For now, we're posting a final Super Bowl media column in this space:

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Musings from a Super Bowl Sunday on the couch:

### This was hardly the way CBS wanted its Super Bowl telecast to be remembered – for a stadium power outage that briefly silenced its game announcers. But the network handled the 35-minute delay competently and then caught a break when the 49ers turned a blowout into compelling theater.

CBS is the only NFL carrier that doesn’t use sideline reporters during the regular season. But Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots, assigned to the role Sunday, did good work updating viewers during the delay.

After the outage disabled the microphones for Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS went to break, before Tasker reported what was happening. After another break, CBS’ studio team returned, but without Boomer Esiason, who was working the game on radio.

“Immediately after the power failure, we lost numerous cameras and some audio powered by sources in the Superdome,” CBS said in a statement. “We utilized CBS’ backup power and at no time did we leave the air.”

There were a few unanswered questions, though. Among them:

1) Why would no NFL official go on air to explain this mess?

2) Why was Shannon Sharpe confused by the 28-6 score at the time of the outage? First he said it was a 21-point margin, then said it was 17.

3) Why did Ravens coach John Harbaugh unleash an expletive-filled tirade at the NFL's director of game operations, and why didn’t CBS explain what that was about?

### Oops: After the game, CBS picked up audio of Baltimore's Marshal Yanda saying: "Holy [expletive], huh?" and then Joe Flacco yelling “[Expletive] awesome!” More Super Bowl fun for the FCC!

### Simms explains the game in simple terms, but this wasn’t one of his best performances. He spoke excessively and wasn’t entirely accurate when he said early on that the 49ers “don’t give up big pass plays down the field.” They usually did not in the regular season but relinquished three touchdown passes of 20 yards or more in their first two playoff games, and had major issues Sunday.

### Notably, Simms did not criticize the 49ers for running on two third and long situations early in the game, nor did he criticize the Ravens for attempting a fake field goal when up 14-3, even though Nantz noted it was "a lot to expect" for Justin Tucker to convert a fourth-and-nine.

But Simms questioned the 49ers for challenging the spot on a fourth-quarter play, then admitted it was a smart move after the 49ers won the challenge.

And after asserting the referees were correct in not calling defensive holding on the 49ers’ incomplete pass on fourth and goal late in the game, Simms admitted he was “confused” after watching the replay again.

He then said the Ravens shouldn’t take a safety, but justified the move after they did. It wasn't exactly flip-flopping, but Simms came off as less than decisive several times.

### After Flacco’s first touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, Simms said he heard all week that Baltimore would look for Boldin in that situation. But he should have said it before the play.

### Nantz incorrectly said a 49ers fumble was not a fumble but was otherwise very good.

### Jim Harbaugh wouldn't come out of the locker-room to be interviewed by Tasker after the game. But CBS, in a rush to leave the air, didn't criticize him, as it did when Bill Belichick refused to be interviewed after the Patriots lost the AFC Championship.

### CBS erred by using a noisy outdoor set for the first 2 ½ hours of its pregame. The crowd cheering and chanting nearly ruined a serious discussion about concussions.

### Credit Sharpe for asking two pointed questions to Ray Lewis about his involvement in the stabbing deaths of two men in 2000. (Murder charges were dropped against Lewis, who accepted a plea deal and admitted at the time to giving misleading statements to police.)

Sharpe asked Lewis what he would tell the families of the two victims, who recently have accused him of knowing more than he has ever shared. His answer would have been unsatisfying to those families. “If you really knew the way God works, he doesn’t use people who commit anything like that,” Lewis said.

That answer also didn’t appease Esiason, who snapped: “He knows what went on there. He doesn’t want to say. He paid off the families.”

 CBS said on air that Sharpe didn’t ask Lewis about an allegation that he used deer-antler spray because the interview was conducted before the Sports Illustrated report surfaced.

### CBS delivered three exceptional pre-game features: on Ravens front-office official and former player O.J. Brigance (who explained that Lou Gehrig’s disease prevents him from speaking or moving but doesn’t diminish his cognitive skills); another on Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia (CBS smartly had one of his daughters, Tori, narrate the segment), and an emotional piece on two Gateway High students – one who died, one who survived - the Aurora, Col., theater shooting last summer.

### Scott Pelley’s interview with President Barack Obama was respectful, unlike Fox’s Super Bowl session two years ago, when Bill O’Reilly repeatedly interrupted Obama.

Pelley surprisingly opened with a question Obama was asked by the New Republic a week ago: If you had a son, would you let him play football? “I’d have to think about it,” Obama said, again.

### Dan Marino did not seem distracted by Thursday’s revelation that he fathered a child out of wedlock in 2005. As expected, the topic was not broached on the broadcast.

### Thankfully, CBS did not subject us to any of those inane red carpet interviews that polluted the Fox and NBC pre-games the past two years.

###  CBS Sports allows sponsors to infiltrate its editorial content more than any other network, and that continued with a cheesy segment (no pun intended) in which Sharpe and Esiason asked fans to shout “hut, hut!” in exchange for food from Pizza Hut.

### After James Brown pointed out that none of the 15 coach or general manager openings were filled by minorities, commissioner Roger Goodell said changes would be made to the Rooney Rule. But James should have asked Goodell a follow-up: What changes?

### Funniest moment: After Sharpe inadvertently called Greg Gumbel “J.B.,” Gumbel said, “Alright, Sterling.”

### Oddest pre-game note: Tasker said the 49ers rehearsed how they would handle pre-game snacks.

### CBS insider Jason LaCanfora said Ravens safety Ed Reed might sign with the Colts this offseason.

Comments

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Bo

Great end to this season, now lets get on with the off season stuff, more exciting for Dolphins fans

gary

Maybe Shannon should have asked Dan Marino RE his "innocent" fathering of a child while married to another. Just to set the record straight. As usual they went after Ray lewis with a question. I think they should have allowed Ray to ask "Danny" about he 7 Y/O .

boe

Boomer is a hater! Boomer how many rings do you have?
Ray got 2!

AnonymousCane

The character of the man has been proven countless times since the Atlanta incident.

Again do you really think that Atty. General Paul Howard (at the time) would have let an opportunity to convict a standout NFL player like Ray Lewis go by the boards if there was any shred of evidence that tied him to a murder of two people?

Yeah he told the folks in the limo to, "keep their mouths shut," if that indicts him then every defense attorney who tells their clients to "not say another word," is guilty as charged, lol

Ray Lewis has done countless "good works," in his community both publically and privately. If Ray Lewis is what so many haters think he is then he would still be getting in trouble with the law and the league. He hasn't so Boomer can shut his driveling mouth and ask Danny boy if it was good enough and worth it!
(see O. J.Simpson)

Congrats to a great human being and to one of the best linebacker to have ever played the game! JMO

AnonymousCane

Barry, just wondering....with so much criticism of the announcers and CBS did you actually watch the game? LOL

green

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/um-hurricanes/sfl-miami-in-top-10-of-ap-poll-20130204,0,3555981.story

Miami is No. 8 in AP poll, ties highest ranking in school history with 1960 team.
– Michael Casagrande

POLLO TROPICAL

gShawn

The audio engineering by CBS for the entire SuperBowl was atrocious. David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun writes "Who in the heck decided to set up a desk outside the studio with a crowd of screaming fans drowning out every other word from the analysts?" It was much worse than that. There appears to have been no thought given to the audio-production and no surround-sound technology employed. The analysts voices were always muted and game-play audio was extremely poor and unimaginative. The vocals for Beyonce at halftime were all watered down, like from a distant mic. The commercials were vastly over-amplified and were the only part of the production with any thought given to audio. In an era when NFL games employ some of the most expensive video equipment on earth and use sophisticated video edits, why neglect the audio so severely? Sesame Street has immensely better audio engineering - and that's not a joke. CBS deserves a grade F for audio-production and someone should be fired.

michael

Barry, everyone else is talking about how bad CBS performed in the face of the power outage. How can you honestly say they did a competent job?

Barry Jackson

Not sure who "everyone else" is Michael. There were clearly some deficiencies - as I pointed out high in the column - but I thought Tasker, Wilcots and James Brown kept people updated as best they could. Nantz and Simms didn't have working microphones. And the NFL wouldn't allow CBS to interview the coaches or anyone else on the air.

Ed

I thought CBS was decent during the delay, but Sharpe was trying too hard to be funny. SI.com said Tasker and Wilcots were "heroic and excellent," which I thought was a little much on heroic

green

FSU-THE U
State-UNC
Wake-Duke
Syracuse-Pitt
BC-Louisville
GT-UVA
Clemson-VT

Saw it on a message board GT/UL swapping divisions in the ACC?
-- lou ciaccia

Just spoke to someone who attended ACC winter meetings last week. No divisional changes expected.

The divisions have been so balanced they are loathe to tinker.
-- david teel

LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE

IMAWriter

Barry, speaking of the "expletives", these are high strung athletes, not choir boys, athletes who just experienced the ULTIMATE thrill. That sort of language (with apologies to Tebow pretty much par for the course these days.
It's CBS who should be fined, not the players. Or, perhaps you fine VP Biden for his whispered "f-bomb" into the ear of resident Obama?
That was apparent to anyone who saw the clip.

If the ACC moves swaps UL with GT, that is a direct slap at UM, who has beaten GT 3 straight years. Another attempt to keep the Canes down. It's a longer trip to a tougher opponent.

jnew

I'd like to support Ray Lewis but would like to know if he is genuinely a Christian, I suppose only God knows that answer.

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