What a pleasure it was to get the first team from
OK, maybe seeing the Ravens bounce back so decisively against the
And the guys in the booth were only part of the happy, holiday, TV package
And the replays were downright stunning. Again, Team Fox only missed one -- showing a block by
But Fox seemed to have three and even four angles on almost every replay. A beautiful catch on the 1-yard line by
The entire production was on another planet compared to CBS. The Spider-cam took viewers right into the heart of the action on the field from the opening shots. The field level, end zone cameras shot up into the stands and the lights and the Baltimore night making you feel as if you were standing on the field at M&T Bank Stadium.
And the coordination between the truck and the booth was spot on. With 12:10 left in the second quarter, Aikman started to talk about offensive coordinator
Memo to CBS: That's the way it's supposed to work with the images on the screen illustrating what the guys in the booth are trying to explain between plays. But then again, when you have the kind of crews that miss opening kickoffs, having three camera persons simultaneously shooting three different people and pulling all three images onto the screen at the same time probably does seem like something from science fiction.
Seeing Fox's first team also reminds you of what a cheap production CBS gives most Ravens games with no sideline reporters. Pam Oliver certainly paid more attention to Giants injuries than she did Ravens, but I am hoping that is because Baltimore didn't suffer a lot of injuries this week -- as opposed to weeks past. When
I wish we had reporting like that in some of our recent games when important players were going down, and the CBS booth team of Greg Gumbel and
I am sorry if it sounds like I am beating up on CBS Sports, but Baltimore fans need to know how we are being abused by such shoddy and cheap telecasts. And this Fox effort illustrates the gulf.
And how about Mike Pereira, the former
With 7:27 left in the half,
The officials promptly came back and said there was "no second act," and denied the Ravens the score.
While some might think the referees showed Pereira up, I would disagree.
The referees were questionable all day, and I enjoyed having Periera there to not only disagree with them, but to explain that the same crew was involved in a controversy earlier in the season when the ruled someone had committed to a "second act" when it later looked as if he had not. Someone needed to call these guys out, and who better than the former head of NFL officials?
Call Pereira and Oliver bells and whistles if you want. But I think they make for a richer viewing experience, and I applaud Fox for spending the money to have them.
In the end, it was Aikman more than anyone else who made this game such a pleasure to watch.
Typical of his analysis, was the explanation he gave after Ravens safety James Ihedigbo sacked Giants quarterback
The high end of Aikman's analysis Sunday came when he called out the playbook name of a play that resulted in a TD reception for Rice. As the ball left Flacco's hand, Aikman yelled out the play number, and after Rice scored, explained that deposed offensive coordinator
And there was no hot dog bluster or self-puffery in the explanation, Aikman just saw the play unfolding and couldn't help but call its name. I love his enthusiasm for the game.
As for pre-game and halftime Fox productions, I could have done without having to see Jimmy Johnson dancing onstage with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, which was providing boogie-woogie Christmas songs.
Yes, that Jimmy Johnson, the former Dallas Cowboys coach with the Plaster of Paris hair. And he thought he was rocking out. Think Earl Weaver trying to do the funky chicken, and you pretty much have the picture. I suppose from Johnson's pount of view it was less humiliating than having to work for Jerry Jones in Dallas.
But even Buck and Aikman mocked Johnson when halftime ended. And it wasn't part of the actual game telecast.