One Terrible Moment: How CBS Ruined March Madness

Josh HunsuckerContributor IApril 6, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05:  The Duke Blue Devils watch the presentation of 'One Shining Moment' as they celebrate after they won 61-59 against the Butler Bulldogs during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In 1987 CBS came up with a great idea: Let's make an NCAA Tournament highlight film, broadcast it immediately following the conclusion of of the National Championship game, and set it to a catchy song written about Larry Bird.  How could they go wrong? 

CBS' 1987 version iconically became the prototype for all post season highlight films to follow.  The '87 Hoosier's One Shining Moment provided a solid 15 point checklist that serves as a guideline for all One Shining Moments to follow:

1) The telecast credits roll as soft music plays and the champs cut down the nets.  The subtle dichotomy of the runner's up watching the champs longingly is highly underrated.

2) As the song starts the opening sequence shows a quick montage of the fans, bands, mascots, and slow motion close ups of players to put the highlight film in context.

3) This is too obvious but during the "the ball is tipped" lyrics, the highlight should mirror the song by showing a jump ball (this isn't rocket surgery and yes I meant to say that).  This will be a reoccurring theme.

4) "Running for your life" generally should be someone diving for a loose ball or diving out of bounds.

5) "You're a shooting star" should either depict a three pointer going in or a big shot from an upset.

6) "In all those years" has to be a classic coach shot.  I particularly love the 1987 Bobby Cremins bowl cut, it hasn't changed in 20 years.

7) During the first montage there has to be at least two dunks, one guy hanging  his head, a team celebration, and at least one upset highlight.

8) There has to be one huge flagrant foul somewhere in the highlight.

9) "Feel the beat of your heart" has to have a guy pounding his chest.

10) As the song builds up before the guitar solo. There should be a huge and one dunk, a buzzer beater, and any seminal tournament moment.

11) The massive guitar solo should have some coaching reactions and as many important game highlights and dunks as possible.  This is also where "the shot of the tournament" gets inserted.

12) "And when its done" must be the running on the court in celebration of a win followed by the look of victory and defeat for "win or lose."

13) The last chorus can only be Final Four highlights.

14) The final highlights must be synced to the drum beat as the song rhythmically moves to the end.

15) The climatic "One Shining Momeeeeeent" must be the play of the championship game or the end of the game followed by the championship celebration.

Classic One Shining Moments like 1989, 1991, 1995, 1996, and 1998 all successfully incorporated these 15 guidelines and capped of the NCAA Tournament the right way.

Whether you preferred David Barrett or Teddy Pendergrass (my favorite), One Shining Moment's run from 1987-2000 was always solid. In 2001 and 2002, CBS started getting fancy with technology, which directly took away from the highlights. 

In 2003, when Luther Vandross took over for Pendergrass, they further detracted from One Shining Moment by giving Vandross face time over tourney highlights.  CBS recovered in 2004 and strung together five years of decent, not great, One Shining Moments.  Last year's passing of Vandross however must have put CBS in a unnecessary conundrum.  Apparently, they needed a new singer and an even newer direction.

This year version of One Shining Moment turned out to be the biggest disaster in the entire One Shining Moment franchise.  I don't have anything against Jennifer Hudson but like with Luther in 2003, CBS violated the face time rule and negatively impacted the basketball highlights.  Her rendition seemed to just miss the mark as well. Unlike Luther's version that was silky like Rip Hamilton in 1998 or Teddy Pendergrass' that had soul like the 1989 Wolverines, Hudson's version seemed forced and way to over the top. 

Then came the highlights, err lack of highlights.  First of all, they didn't sync a jump ball for the "the ball is tipped," not starting off on the right foot.  Then they proceeded to miss:

- Any Cornell big upset shots (they snuck in a dunk and a Cornell player getting his shot blocked.

- Essentially all Day 1 highlights.  How do they omit all but the Murray State buzzer beater from the best opening day of the tournament that I can remember?  No Jimmer highlights from BYU v. Florida, no Old Dominion v. Notre Dame highlights, no Nova escaping Robert Morris (or a Robert Morris players dejected face), no Poindexter game winning leaner from Washington v. Marquette, on Ohio upsetting Georgetown highlights, no Wake Forest v. Texas overtime highlights, no Wisconsin v. Wofford game winning shot (just a Woffard player running), no Sparty v. New Mexico State dejected Aggie player's face shot, all in all no excuse for the lack of round one highlights.

- The Gordon Hayward show.  Whether it was his defensive stop against Murray State or his nasty step-back crossover three against Kansas State both were classic plays of this year's tournament and deserved to be in One Shining Moment.

- CBS essentially said that the Murray State and Michigan State buzzer beaters were the best shots of March Madness when the gave them the commentary over music cut.  How did they fail to include Jordan Crawford's 35 foot bomb in overtime against K State or any of the Jacob Pullen overtime answers into that category?  Not only was that the shot of the tournament, Gus Johnson gave an all time classic call.

- They left out the Kramer game winning layup from the Purdue v. Texas A&M game.

- Where were the Evan Turner (Player of the Year) and John Wall (best player in the draft) highlights?

- They missed out on the Elite Eight too.  No free throws from Draymont Morgan against Tennessee, no Duke threes against Baylor, no aforementioned crossover from Hayward during Butler's upset of K State, and no three point-fest from West Virginia during their upset of Kentucky.

- CBS glazed over the Final Four games setting the stage for a plethora of National Championship game highlights.  However, they only showed two Butler layups, Zubek on the floor, Hayward's half court shot, and then the championship celebration.  Where were the highlights form one of the most exciting championship games in recent history?

- To top everything off they didn't even show Duke cutting down the nets.  I guess their championship t-shirts with faux netting will have to suffice.

All in all, CBS dropped the ball this year and sullied the send off to a great NCAA Tournament and memorable National Championship.  Hopefully CBS will get the hint and dump Hudson next year for a better product.  Meanwhile I'll fill up on old YouTube One Shining Moment highlights and prepare for the next five years of the Jennifer Hudson era.