Tonight’s NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers was nothing special. The game was ok, not great, not a total dud either.
However, for those of us interested in how games get covered it was remarkable. CBS is a partner of the NFL; it pays the league significant sums for the right to broadcast games and with that right comes certain guidelines and responsibilities.
The network has to be able to do a respectable job in its coverage and therefore it can’t be a total shill for the league but still in the past we’ve seen limits.
Tonight was something different. The pre game show, which of course in NFL style was an hour before kickoff was all about a black eye or cloud hanging around the league right now. Rather than bring in the typical sports talking heads that we’ve come to expect, CBS brought in it’s best from the news side of things to talk about the scandal and the possibility that the league and it’s leadership may not have been totally honest in how they’ve handled the matter.
The story is everywhere. CBS would have looked foolish to not mention the situation but I don’t think anyone expected the type of coverage we saw. The highlight, if you will, was host James Brown’s closing plea for men, and society to step up and change our attitudes and behavior towards women.
This was a banner night for sports media and coverage. A network went hard after it’s league partner but did so in a fair and balanced way. The question is did it do enough to cause the owners to smarten up and take the right action that is clearly staring them in the face.