It was announced today that Billy Packer will no longer occupy the featured analyst chair for CBS Sport’s presentation of the Final Four. With much speculation on this subject during the 2008 Final Four, it should come as no surprise that after 27 years on the job, the polarizing Packer has been sent to the bench.
Every March, legions of college basketball fans wondered how much longer they would have to put up with Packer’s overly critical arrangement…today they got their answer.
Most sports fans can appreciate an analyst who calls the game like he sees it. Unfortunately, Billy Packer saw the game in a way that seemed out of touch with the majority of his audience. Packer made it his mission to hold the level of play to an impossibly high standard…it never felt appropriate. He loved to point out how awful a particular play was, or the agony a coach must have felt after one of his point guard’s foolish turnovers.
Packer’s slant was the one sour note in college basketball’s beloved month of March. The fact that the NCAA tournament is such an unstoppable force in today’s sports landscape was probably the only thing that kept Packer around this long. Surely no one man can put a total damper on the most wonderful time of the year!
Packer’s biggest flaw was that he never seemed to grasp the fact that he was critiquing college kids, not (yet) professionals. Instead of enjoying the raw elegance on the court in front of him, he constantly got caught up in young players’ mistakes. Thankfully Packer is done. No longer must you deal with him like that surly old uncle during the holidays.
CBS has decided to keep it in the family by giving Clark Kellogg a shot as Billy’s successor. Kellogg, who in years past has spent the month of March in the CBS studio offering lame scripted takes on various NCAA basketball topics, should do an adequate job. But with far more talented analysts available for CBS to capitalize on (namely Len Elmore) it is a shame to see such a simple choice. Luckily, with Packer before him, Kellogg does not have a lot to live up to.
Jim Nantz, your prayers have been answered!