I know I will probably never hear a seriously negative word about the
I was reminded Thursday again of what a great evening of TV football the channel provided last Thanksgiving with the Harbaugh Bowl and the
I love the energy and sense of camaraderie among Rich Eisen and his pre-game and halftime team of
And while there is nothing spectacular about either of them, Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock come together to form one of the steadiest and most informative teams you will find anywhere this side of
From his predictions to his explanations, Mayock is about 10,000 times more focused than
Before the start of the game, Mayock told viewers, "Look for six to eight deep shots from the Ravens who might be the best vertical team in the league."
By halftime, the Ravens had taken four such shots by my count.
And he's not afraid to call a player out.
With 2:18 left in the first quarter, the NFL Network cameras showed a pass going between Little's hands.
"Do me a favor, catch the football," Mayock said.
Little dropped another at the end of the game that would have been six points for the Browns.
The first time Nessler called the name of
Sure enough, at the start of the second quarter,
The NFL Network cameras are among the best in TV football. They seem to get more field level shots than any other network. And I got the sense that in the early going that the director was laying in more of those shots to mentally transport viewers from the space in front of their TVs to feeling as if they are in the stadium.
The NFL Network is superb when it comes to audio as well. I could hear
The best of the pre-packaged features included video and audio from inside the Ravens locker room with
There were mistakes. Mayock started to circle a Cleveland Browns receiver on the Telestrator, when the director cut to a tight close-up
But that's relatively minor stuff.
Like NBC, the NFL Network makes a real commitment to presenting coverage worthy of prime time.
That involves analysts like Sanders getting into town early to do fun features like the one he did in taking batting practice with the Orioles under the eye of his one-time major league manager,
Yes, I hate the over-the-top commercialization of such concepts as the "KFC pre-kick show" as opposed to the pre-
But on a night when we finally got the real referees back, let's not talk about the kind of NFL greed that subjected fans to the misery of the replacement refs -- or Thursday night games after Sunday night battles like the one the Ravens had this week.