CBS = Complete Bull Sh*t


I intentionally waited a few days before airing this complaint, mainly because I didn’t want my vitriol to be mistaken as nothing more than “sour grapes” over the BasketVols loss to the Louisville Cardinals.

Trust me, this has nothing to do with Tennessee, Louisville, or any other specific team…

CBSFor the past … well, it seems like quite a long time, now … CBS has been the exclusive home of the NCAA Tournament. I vaguely remember ESPN covering first and second-round games during the 1990s, but CBS is all we have had for a while. Either way, CBS has held a stranglehold on the Final Four since Billy Packer conned James Naismith himself into signing over the rights some time during the 1920s — back when Billy Packer was in his 50s.

First of all, I do want to applaud CBS Sportsline — CBS Sports’ internet division — for their ambitious decision to broadcast every tournament game for free on the web. Similarly, the CBS “Game Center” on the internet for each game — displaying myriad stats and information in real time — is amazing. It is as artful as it is impressive. Any fan can get up-to-the-second information on every facet of the game — including points, fouls, assists, shooting trends, whether a player is taking bribes to throw the game, which boosters the cute little cheerleader next to the basket is sleeping with, and so much more — via one of the best interfaces I’ve ever seen for statistical information of that kind.

Despite the minor fact that the bandwidth draw for the “March Madness on Demand” service has been so obscenely high that it has — at times — nearly crashed massive trunk lines on the web, I salute these efforts of CBS’s internet division. For reasons which will become clear in a second, in the future I may choose this as the only way I’ll watch the tournament — even if it is in a 5″ x 5″ low resolution streaming window.

All my praise for CBS stops at the web. While the geek squad over at CBS Sportsline has managed to push the delivery of live sports content to the next level of innovation, the senior production staff at CBS Sports television division have opted to take gigantic steps backward. The CBS Sportsline staff deserve a substantial raise, the television production staff should be drug out into the street by their hair, tied to a post, tarred and feathered, and then put on display outside the Alamodome for tournament-goers to poke and prod.

Verne LundquistI generally like the CBS stable of announcers and personalities. I mean, how could you not just want to pinch Verne Lundquist’s cheeks every time you see him. Furthermore, between Bill Raftery and Gus Johnson there have been a bevy of quotable lines which are absolutely hilarious, even if they are ridiculous. What infuriates me to no end, however, is CBS’s apparent belief that the average viewer is a vapid, mouth-breathing fool who lacks the sense or the ability to decide which game they actually want to watch during the tournament.

Now, where I live, our CBS affiliate has been one of CBS’s primary testing grounds for new ideas. Our affiliate is always trying to do new things to make the viewers’ experience better. Thus, when tournament time rolls around, they make arrangements with all of the cable providers in the area to have numerous additional channels so that all the games are being broadcast at all times. Thus, despite the fact I live in the bowels of the ACC, I can still see the SEC games. I appreciate that.

What I absolutely hate is the fact that the powers that be at CBS Sports in New York feel that they are much wiser than I — and the millions of other fans — when it comes to deciding what is worth watching. Thus, they constantly insist on cutting away from the games to show other games due to the fact that they are more “exciting“.

If I see Greg Gumbel’s face pop-up on my screen one more time to tell me that “we are now going to Souix City where the No Teeth State Water Buffaloes have comeback against the Alaskan State School of Veterinary Medicine and Applied Mechanical Engineering, and the score is currently tied at 6 with 1:00 to go…” I will be forced to take up voo-doo and put a hex on him and his family.

CBS, it is a simple concept: if I have already spent 2 hours watching a game, and there are only 2:00 minutes to go in it, I want to see the end of it.

I don’t give a damn how one-sided the game I’m watching is, or how boring it has become to the CBS front office. I want to watch the game I have on. If I wanted to watch the UCLA game, I’d have turned it on. If I really cared how close the Western Kentucky vs. San Diego game was, I’d have flipped over to it. If I gave two shits about what game you thought was more interesting, I’d have asked for your opinion.

So leave the damn game on so I can watch the end of it!

HeidiIt is obvious that CBS has never heard of the 1968 game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders, generally known as the “Heidi Game,” but perhaps they should check it out. They might learn that, as a result of that debacle by NBC, that network learned that it is not a good idea to cut in on a game and switch to something else — people get really pissed-off when you do. This is especially maddening considering that they are already displaying all the scores in their ticker. Furthermore, if anyone at CBS had ever looked at what any of the other networks are doing, they would realize that in the modern era, if there is something of interest going on elsewhere, they can use a split screen or something of that nature — all of the other networks seem to have figured that out. I guess that would be asking too much of CBS…

The most galling thing about all of this, is — as I mentioned above — my local CBS affiliate has gone to great lengths in my area to ensure that all of the games are televised on the local cable systems. Thus, during the early rounds of the tournament, there were as many as 6 different channels showing games in my area at the same time. When the morons in New York decided that they had a better idea of what we really should be watching, however, they would cut away to “the hot game“. Thus, instead of being able to switch over if I wanted to see that “hot game” CBS cut in on the one I was watching … and on the ones that others were watching.

Thus, I had the amazing — and enviable — ability to watch the same game on 6 different channels!!!!!

The level of rank incompetence by the senior production staff at CBS during this tournament is bordering on legendary. Even though we are now into the final rounds of the tournament, I’m sure that CBS will find a way to keep it up: I imagine that during the Final Four, they will cut in to show the great deals available on home electronics over at QVC, and during the championship game, we will go live to the scene of Survivor to see the results of the latest tribal challenge.

This is ridiculous, and CBS ought to fire who ever made the decision to keep making these constant cut-aways. This sort of heavy-handed approach has ensured that, in the future — if given a choice between CBS and any other broadcaster — I will never watch anything on CBS unless absolutely necessary.

CBS has completely dropped the ball, and I hope their advertisers — the only thing that really matters to them — realize this.

Thus, I encourage all of you to get your “March Madness on Demand” passes early next year, because that is the only place you can avoid the constant cut-outs. Of course given the idiots driving the ship at present, I imagine next year CBS will make sure and do the same on the internet …

… because after all, what do the fans actually know?

  • If you’d like to send your thoughts to CBS, you can do so through their website, at the following link: CBS Corporation: Contact Us.

– Go Figure …SIG%20-%20Lawvol%20(Small) McAlisters%20-%20Crossout

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About the Author: "Lawvol" -- I'm just a guy living in North Carolina who has an unnatural fascination with the color orange. Just because I'm a Tennessee alum and die-hard Volunteer fan doesn't mean that I can't poke a little fun at the Big Orange and anybody else for that matter. Feel free to complain all you want. >> Read more from this author

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17 Responses to “CBS = Complete Bull Sh*t”

  • MoonDogNo Gravatar says:

    1991 was the year CBS obtained exclusive rights to broadcast the entire tournament. I watched the Heidi game so that sucks.

    I happen to be a big fan of the Alaskan State School of Veterinary Medicine and Applied Mechanical Engineering, so just cool your jets.

    Greg Gumbel paid for some recent dental work so I’m expecting a forthcoming apology.

    How about those Lady Vols?

  • hooperNo Gravatar says:

    By the way, if you dropped “Veterinary” from your Alaskan school’s name, you get a wicked acronym.

    If you were wondering what possible fanbase would be served by the constant switching, here’s your answer: rabbit-ear watchers with ADD. As someone who is milking the rabbit-ear era to its dying day, I only get one channel for the games, so switching can have merit. I can’t choose my game anyhow, so it’s a little difficult to complain (beggars, choosers, you understand). However, the switching is only useful if I can’t pay attention to the game in progress and am prone to change channels to any of the other 3 stations I receive. And yeah, I’m so likely to watch Prophetess Juanita and her plea for my money that I won’t finish the last 2 minutes of a game to wait for the next one. So it’s a really good thing they constantly switch, or they just might lose that 0.001% demographic. (Insert obligatory eye-roll here.)

    So I agree. If you’re paying for all those cable channels, they might as well be showing different things. Paying six times over for the same broadcast is pure idiocy and, in its most cynical form, could be considered profiteering. (Seriously. What if ESPN always showed the same thing on every channel, yet required the premium package owners to pay more than the basic package owners for the right to get half a dozen more ESPN channels?)

    And people wonder why I still use rabbit ears. At least I’m getting what I pay for.

  • hooperNo Gravatar says:

    Oh, and that cutaway from the Tennessee/Butler game to the Texas-Miami game? Sheer brilliance. I’m sure the fans where I live were bored with the Tennessee game and wanted to see something different.

    Never mind that I live in Knoxville!!!

  • d2001dstanleyNo Gravatar says:

    That is one of the things that gets to me. How can you switch out of a game that has regional importance. I don’t get the decision making over at CBS. They allow the NCAA to schedule games featuring teams in the same conference at the same time, and the result is, in WCBS’s instance, they show neither of the games featuring Big East Conference teams. Since Rutgers and Seton Hall are both in WCBS’s territory, it should be an automatic to include at least one of the (usually) two games featuring Big East teams. Instead, they will arbitrarily choose a game they think has a national interest. I really think it would be better off if there was either wider access to the games or logical decision making. Any time a game features a team from a conference that has other teams in that territory, that should be the chosen game.

  • AppFanNo Gravatar says:

    ESPN did indeed have the tourney back in the 80s. What was cool then was ESPN showed every game in its entirety. Many tape delayed, but still beginning to end. You had true wall-to-wall basketball starting Thursday afternoon through Monday morning. I remember watching a Ga Tech game at 3 in the morning. Of course, I knew who won, but I was such an ACC nut I wanted to see the entire game.

    Now THAT was March Madness.

  • lawvolNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, as annoying as it is for CBS to pre-empt 6 different games on cable, I think it is even worse when they cut into a regionally important game to show a game which has absolutely no regional relevance. It just amazes me how stupid this decision is.

    When they cut away from the Tennessee – Louisville game, rather than stay glued to my set (as I’m sure they hoped) I immediately turned it off, because I didn’t care at all about that other game.

    If CBS is going to have a stranglehold on the Tournament, then they need to do a better job of making sure the content gets to the viewers.

  • hooperNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the logic, as I’m sure whatever logic they’re using is based on some corporate philosophy that we don’t tend to see at our level. The closest I’ve come is this:

    They have their “national” crews and announcers that they want to promote at all costs. One prime example is Gumbel himself. Every station wants to get their people recognized as the next Cosell, so they use every opportunity to shill them. Their premiere crews may get the same treatment. I’d be very curious to see if the A and B crews get more time on national air than the C through whatever crews; I’m guessing the answer is “yes”, and not just because they work “big” games. By controlling the game viewership at the national level, CBS can promote their guys at will – much like MNF and their Wheel-o-Celebrity that tends to result in missed game action.

    Those in charge of game selection are the same execs that run the rest of CBS programming. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the head honcho who controls the game selection is a non-sports guy that thinks in terms of drama and excitement rather than in terms of fanship and rooting interest. It’d explain a lot.

    That’s about it. It’s not satisfactory to me, and even if it were true, it’s not a satisfactory way of doing business. But I can’t think of anything else that could possibly explain their actions.

  • robertNo Gravatar says:

    thank you! are we the only people who get it? CBS bites. Why can’t every game be broadcasted. I don’t even care if the different networks split the games.

  • lawvolNo Gravatar says:

    @ Sam: Man, that’s a deep thought…

  • matt darnellNo Gravatar says:

    What a bunch of morons!! if my iq drops below fifty it’s nice to know i can get a job at cbe.

  • Home Sweet HomeNo Gravatar says:

    no joke…

    I’m in Ithaca NY last night watching the last games of the night. Siena and Ohio State are at the end of the first OT, and they switch to FSU-Wisconsin in the final moments (like the last 7 seconds).

    Wisconsin has the ball, and dude lets a go-ahead three attempt go…and CBS switches to the Siena game (Siena is in nearby Albany)…in the middle of another play…

    my friends and I were dumbfounded

  • Wayne RohdeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with the reaction against CBS, completely.

    What an irritant to invest one’s attention in an entire game, only to miss out on the last 30 seconds because some MORON at CBS pulls the switch.

    Today (Saturday) this happened with 33 seconds left in the game I had been watching. Only this time (unlike the WI game last night) they NEVER switched back!

    Incredible. Heads ought to roll at CBS. Year in an year out this sort of stuff goes on, and it is absolutely aggravating and unacceptable. CBS should be ashamed of itself. I’m not sure how they could infuriate people more if they tried to do so.

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