Really, NFL Network? Really?

I had a mind to get all long-winded about the NFL Network’s broadcast last night — you know, about the hullabaloo over cable versus satellite and it being one of the biggest games of the season yet millions of non-sports-bar-going fans couldn’t see it, all as prelude to the stinker of a job turned in by Bryant Gumbel, Cris Collinsworth, and nearly the whole dang production crew. But I won’t go on and on, because those who care have no doubt had the same watercooler discussion already. Perhaps you, too, kept a list of the things that came out of the duo’s mouths that seemed nonsensical to the point of distraction. You know, things like Collinsworth calling Roy Williams “the best tackling safety in the league.” The plays that started immediately after a commercial break, and the extra point that cameras completely missed. And, at the end of the game, after mentioning the Cowboys quarterback in every sentence possible, Gumbel teasing a post-commercial interview with “Rick Romo.” Like I said, I could get long-winded, but I won’t.

Update: The kind commenters have reminded me of similar instances of broadcasting buffoonery. As just one for instance, Deion’s “sideline” reporting that was really from the corner of the endzone. Remember? Someone thought it’d be a good idea to have the cameraman circle Deion as he talked about … something or other. And then stop circling when he got behind Deion and the game was going on way in the distance. “Hello?” I wanted to tell Prime-Time. “Over here. Over here?” Argh.


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28 responses to “Really, NFL Network? Really?”

  1. John says:

    Ditto. The production quality was, as Robert Wilonsky would say it, “Hooooooorible”. Gumbel makes Kenny Albert sould like Al Michaels.

  2. DA says:

    Thank you! I’m not crazy! I thought for sure that I had to be hearing things when I thought he said “Rick Romo.”

    Turns out I WAS hearing things – lousy broadcasting.

  3. Don says:

    What about when the Cowboys ran out of the tunnel at the beginning of the game and Gumbel says, “And here comes the Pack, er, I mean Cowboys.”


  4. Dave says:

    How about when Collinsworth said “What a tool DeMarcus Ware is.”

    That was solid gold.

  5. Bethany says:

    At some point in the game, they cut to Deion Sanders on the sidelines. Only, it was this shot from way far away. At first, it appeared as if the disembodied voice of Deion was speaking from a wall. Then he walked into frame.

    But yeah, it all makes sense now – why the NFL wants this channel on basic cable. Who’d pay for THAT?

  6. Maggie says:

    Amen! Gumbel called the Cowboys “Packers” several times. Where is the 1-800 number to call them when they need to be corrected? And how many times did we need to hear about the second interference call? Give me a break! Oh, and Go Cowboys! You’re the best!

  7. Jim says:

    Anyone else catch the reference to Marion Barber as a key to the Packer’s offense? Imbeciles. I turned down the volume, turned on the radio, and let Sham and Laufenberg call the game.

  8. dave little says:

    I’d like to know what “everyman” Marty Cortland thinks.

  9. j says:

    i liked when one of them, can’t remember which one, referred to marion barber as the center of the packers offense.

  10. Todd Carruth says:

    I am still waiting to hear that interview with “Rick” Romo that Gumbel promised us at the end of the game. (It made the Ticket’s emergency break of the week this morning)

  11. Nate says:

    I had the unique setting to watch channel 27 over the air in HD and the NFL network with DirecTV. The difference was appalling. You would think that for “the regular season matchup of the year” the NFL network would bring in people who knew how to call a game on TV. I think “Dumbel” needs to find a new career where he doesn’t have to talk. Geez, even just take away his mic and let him nod or shake his head instead. That would be more palatable than his continual mistakes!

  12. Bethany says:

    I kinda hope they keep everything just the way it is. I mean, can you imagine the drinking game that can be generated from taking shots every time Gumbel misidentifies a team? How much beer you can chug when a commercial break ends abruptly, dumping you in the middle of a play?


  13. j.d.w... says:

    As mentioned above, I counted 3 (possibly 4) mistaken references to the Packers when in fact it was the Cowboys being discussed. Audio issues abounded. Did anyone notice that Deion’s mic was left on after one of his “sideline” reports and you could hear him breathing (since the audio was pushed way too loud on him in the first place)? It was eventually faded out, so the breating got quieter and quieter, eventually fading out completely. It was kinda creepy. Showing Romo on the sideline instead of the PAT was priceless. What if it had been blocked?

  14. Rawlins says:

    Game on, I’m propped up with a massive tray of Mexican takeout, ready for the game of the year. And then I realized Bryant (“The Horror”) and Chris were the team w/ Prime Time (snearing yawn) chiming in. Suddenly I felt like that guy on Jerry Springer who realized on his wedding night that his ‘bride’ was a dude. I watched the game on ‘mute’.

    Seriously. Why the hell are these guys doing NFL play by play? Contrast this with Troy Aikman’s seamless on-air work. It’s like comparing Rosie Grier with Rosie O’Donnell. Whatever.

  15. Bryant Gumbel says:

    My favorite was the thrid quarter NFL Network commercial hyping the Indy-Falcons game…on Thanksgiving!

  16. Long Memory says:

    The audio was so bad I couldn’t decide if it was the voices that were so wretched and squeaky, or if they actually sound that way. And they want people to pay extra for that stuff? That’ll be the day.

  17. JS says:

    Bryant Gumbel makes the voice of Norm Hitzges almost palatable (and I could say the same for Deion vs. Chris Arnold). I would like to hear Collinsworth paired with a competent play-by-play guy.

  18. Dave Thomas says:

    The production last night by the NFL just put the nail in the coffin for me about where I stand on this fight between the NFL Network and cable. Simply put: the NFL should take what it can get from the cable companies and shut the hell up.

    If the cable companies tell them to cut their subscriber fee in half to get on basic, the NFL should do it. It’s that simple. The production they put on last night was worse than any of the Cowboys produced pre-season games. Any number of high school football announcers from around the DFW area could have called the game better than Gumbel.

    The product the NFL is putting out on its network simply doesn’t warrant millions of people paying extra money in their cable bill for it. The NFL should cut their rates, get on as many systems as possible, get enough viewers to sell lots of ads, and use some of that money to hire a much better broadcast team.

    Are you listening Jerry?

  19. Creth Davis says:


    that’s all I gotta say. it ain’t dish, and it’s got the NFL network…

    and Gumbel reminds me of my dad, a man that does not follow sports, covering an NFL game.

    “…here at um, Texas Stadium”

  20. Creth Davis says:

    and is that Dave Thomas (nooo, obviously not Wendy’s Dave Thomas) Dave Thomas?

    like, Strange Brew Dave Thomas?

    like, Grace Under Fire Dave Thomas?

    like, Mr. F Dave Thomas???

  21. Chuck says:

    I watched it in HD also and I have to ask…is Bryant Gumbel sick or something? He looked really old and feable and his hair was all splotchy. IJS.

  22. dfb says:

    Did anyone catch the commercial for the upcoming Thanksgiving game of Indy vs. Atlanta? That was great!

  23. Spamboy says:

    I made a drinking game out of Bryant Gumbel calling the Cowboys the Pack — everytime he referred to the ‘Pokes as the Pack, I chuhged. By the time I burned through my third beer, I was well-blitzed in preparation for the Rick Romo/Wendy’s-I-mean-Home-Depot Post Game Show comments.

    And did anyone catch the fact he referred to “Rick’s” memorable performance in the last year of Texas Stadium — even though that’s *next* year?!

  24. Bethany says:

    Spamboy, I say the next NFL Network game, we drink together.

  25. J Paul says:

    Bethany and Spamboy, if you want to end up in the ER for alcohol poisioning, chug everytime Gumble says the word “appear”. Every play had the phrase or variation of “it would appear_____”. Even if a team only needed 3 yards for a first down and a runner carried for an obvious 10, BG would say “in what would appear to be a First Down”. Made.My.Ears.Bleed.

    As God as my witness, I will never watch another game broadcast on the NFL Network unless it’s the only way to see the Cowboys (ala last night). The NFL should be thankful that 2/3 of the country did not have access to their product. Horrible in so many ways, good in so few.

    Someone needs to put toothpicks in Jerry Jones’ eyes and make him watch a replay of that broadcast about 3 times in a row with the volume on high. Blech!

  26. SurvivorBK says:

    I am not sure if this was mentioned before but does Gumble know that in Football, there are QUARTERS and not PERIODS?
    What a disaster the NFL Network is. And how unfortunate that an organization as big and as large as the NFL felt the need to green light this fiasco. The FANS are the ones who lose. And as a foot note… I am a huge Survivor fan and this moron Guble hosted the reunion shows the first 3 seasons. He could not even pronounce Africa’s Winner Ethan’s last name correctly.

  27. tom says:

    God – Is Bryant the only one left to do play-by-play. Maybe they can add Katie to help him. Horrible