It’s officially been a day since the Bears got me through the roof with elation only to toss me off the side of the building in a mere 11 seconds with one of the most stunning losses I have ever witnessed. While Chicago and Atlanta fans could likely argue all day about who was actually deserving of winning yesterday, I think there is one fact all of use who watched it can agree on.
Fox’s coverage of the game was an absolute joke.
First there was the issue of how the game was shot. I can’t even begin to calculate the number of times both Kyle Orton and Matt Ryan dropped back to pass only to completely disappear from the view of the camera. Then on the Bears failed 4th and goal attempt, I didn’t even know Matt Forte was on the field until he was being stuffed mid-air. How nice of the great people at Fox to basically leave us guessing to how these plays were going to develop. You could have put one guy on the sidelines with a handheld camera and told him to run up and down the field where the ball went and he could have shot a more concise game.
Then there was the issue with some of their “experimental” angles. How in the hell is it beneficial to any viewer to show an extreme close-up of one player during the coarse of a play ( IE, Alex Brow’s recovery and return of Michael Turner’s eventually overturned fumble in the first quarter). I don't want to see a slant route from Marty Booker's perspective, I want to see the damn play! This once again just leaves the viewer to guess what’s happening as opposed to giving up the overhead vies and, you know, letting us follow the game.
As hard as the camera work was to endure, much of it was at least only temporary. There was no relief from the commentary.
Last week was my first exposure to Brian Billick in the booth and I thought he sucked. However, he was teamed with Brian Baldinger, who ranks second only to Skip Bayless in the hierarchy of sports media morons, so I thought maybe this could have skewed my view of him and that perhaps he deserved another chance. One game sans Baldinger and it’s confirmed; Brian Billick is a dipshit.
It wasn’t just his inane chatter (saying the Bears shouldn’t even think about punting on their two-minute drill in the fourth quarter) that bothered me, it was his inexcusable idiocy. There was more than one occurrence in the first half where he confused Kyle Orton for Kyle Boller. An honest enough mistake until you consider this fact; BILLICK WAS KYLE BOLLER’S COACH FOR FIVE YEARS!
Further adding to my gripe with Fox is that I saw none of these glaring problems during the Dallas/Arizona game in the late afternoon. No shots from inside Tony Romo’s helmet while he attempted a pass, no instances of Kurt Warner dropping out of site during a drop back, nothing abnormal at all. They even got a great zoom in angle to clearly show that Larry Fitzgerald’s right foot was out of bounds by mere inches on a fade route in the end zone. Meanwhile when there is a challenged fumble in a Bears game all Fox seems to be able to scrap together is three different angles of the ball carriers back.
I have never had a huge problem with the glaring bias shown to particular teams by the NFL media. But with the NFC East looking dominate in the early going this season, it has become the toast of the press to an even greater degree than in the past and it seems to me this bias is carrying over into game coverage. This simply isn’t fair to fans of NFC teams outside this division.
Even more frustrating is that the East is hardly the only competitive division in the conference. The South and the North both have three-way ties atop the division ranks and as of now it would seem the runners-up in the South have a real chance to steal the two wild card slots that have seemingly already been reserved to the teams that finish second and third in the East.
I have no problem if my team isn’t considered a power house by talking heads like the Chris Berman’s and Terry Bradshaw’s of the world. I’m sure these sentiments are echoed by all fans who cheer for teams other than the Dallas’s and New York’s of the world. We’ve lived without their recognition for so long that we’re used to it. But just because the masses aren’t talking about our teams doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to see their games run by competent cameramen and announcers who don’t speak as if they’ve just learned about the game of football via a Wikipedia article they read an hour before kickoff.
The NFC as a whole is more competitive than it has in years and to separate it into a chase between one division is just wrong. I know, or at least hope, that I speak for all Bear and Falcon fans when I say we deserved better than the clown college production we got of a great (albeit heartbreaking for myself) game yesterday. Just because Fox didn’t see it as an important game didn’t mean the fans didn’t.