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Parting Schotts

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Media Schotts: NFL TV partners need to re-think switching games policy

By Ken Schott
Friday, November 22, 2013

My son Steven and I were watching and enjoying the Philadelphia Eagles’ game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles were dominating the Redskins, and had a 24-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Then, some time during that quarter, FOX Sports decided to leave that game and go to a more competitive contest. We got the Detroit Lions-Pittsburgh Steelers game, which was a closer contest.

My son was livid. I wasn’t happy, either, but I calmly explained to him why I believe FOX changed games. Someone thought a 24-0 game was a blowout, and it was time to give markets not affiliated with Philadelphia and Washington a better game. We ended up relying on NFL RedZone to catch the ending.

The only problem with that was the Redskins turned a potential blowout into a nail-biter. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III threw two touchdown passes and got a pair of two-point conversions to make it 24-16. RG3 drove the Redskins down the field for a potential game-tying score on their final drive before throwing an interception to seal the Eagles’ win.

I exchanged emails with FOX Sports media relations this week seeking an explanation on why it bailed out of the Redskins-Eagles game. As I expected, the answer was the game wasn’t competitive at 24-0. One of the responses I received was that the ratings increased when the move was made to the Lions-Steelers game. Of course the ratings would be better because you suddenly had more eyes watching the game.

I have two problems with what happened Sunday. First, a 24-0 game midway through the third quarter shouldn’t be considered a blowout. With the two-point conversion, a 24-0 game is just a three-score contest. The Redskins were successful on their pair of two-point conversions and would have had to go for another one had they gotten that last TD.

My other problem is that FOX should be sensitive to some of the markets where the game was being televised. Since the Redskins-Eagles game was an NFC East showdown, New York Giants fans in the Capital Region would be more interested in what their division foes were doing. Even the New York City market was pulled from the Redskins-Eagles game. I wonder if Giants fans were irate over that.

Since NFL rules prohibit a network from returning to a game it had left, the people making decisions to dump a blowout for a more competitive game should be more judicious. To me, wait until the end of the third quarter, unless the game is 35-0, to make the decision to make the switch. Otherwise, fans end up missing a possible fantastic finish.

Dierdorf retiring
There was some surprising news Wednesday when Dan Dierdorf, who has been involved in the NFL as a player and announcer for 43 years, announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

Dierdorf was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1971 to 1983. He broke into broadcasting in 1984 as the Cardinals’ analyst for KMOX radio in St. Louis. He also did games for CBS Radio Network. He was a play-by-play announcer for CBS broadcasts in 1985 before switching to color analysis the next year.

In 1987 Dierdorf joined ABC Sports’ “Monday Night Football” for 12 years, before returning to CBS Sports in 1999.

“I have been blessed to spend my entire life in the game I love,” Dierdorf said in a statement. “I had an opportunity to go from the field directly to the broadcast booth, where I have had the privilege of working with the giants of our business including Ray Scott, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, Dick Stockton, Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Verne Lundquist, Dick Enberg and lastly, my partner, Greg Gumbel. It has become a challenge for me to travel to a different NFL city every week, so it’s time to step aside. This has been a wonderful ride as I really have lived the dream.”

Dierdorf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996. He was the 2008 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. Dierdorf, who played college football at Michigan, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

“For 43 NFL seasons Dan Dierdorf has been a consummate professional both on the field and in the broadcast booth,” said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. “Very few people in any profession can boast a Hall of Fame playing career and Hall of Fame broadcasting career. Dan, without question, is one of them. His CBS Sports family will miss him on Sundays, but we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Some people found Dierdorf irritating, but he always seemed to be a good analyst to me. I still think he hasn’t lost much off of his game. He will be missed.

Long off
Howie Long won’t be on the set of “FOX NFL Sunday,” but he has a valid reason for missing the show.

Long will be in St. Louis to watch his two sons take on each other. Chris Long is a defensive end for the St. Louis Rams. Kyle Long is an offensive guard for the Chicago Bears.

“I’m sure there will be some range of emotions,’’ Howie Long told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not sure what that will be, we’ll have to see when we cross that bridge. … It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s a lot of different emotions.’’

Randy Moss, who is a studio analyst on FOX Sports 1, will fill in for Long.

ACC basketball on MY4, NBC13
In case you missed it earlier this week, MY4 (WNYA) and NBC13 (WNYT) will combine to televise 25 ACC men’s basketball games this season.

Seven of the games will be on WNYT. The schedule is subject to change.

Syracuse will be on four times.

WNYA will televise the ACC tournament March 12-16.

Here is the regular-season schedule and the station it will be on:
Jan. 4 — Pittsburgh at N.C. State, noon, MY4; Miami at Syracuse, 2 p.m., MY4
Jan. 7 — Syracuse at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m., NBC13
Jan. 11 — Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, noon, NBC13
Jan. 15 — Florida State at Miami, 9 p.m., MY4
Jan. 18 — Florida State at Virginia, noon, MY4; Wake Forest at Clemson, 4 p.m., MY4
Jan. 21 — Notre Dame at Florida State, 8 p.m., NBC13
Jan. 25 — Notre Dame at Wake Forest, 3 p.m., NBC13
Jan. 26 — Georgia Tech at N.C. State, 1 p.m., MY4
Jan. 29 — Florida State at N.C. State, 9 p.m., MY4
Feb. 1 — Boston College at Notre Dame, noon, NBC13
Feb. 4 — Maryland at North Carolina, 8 p.m., MY4
Feb. 8 — North Carolina at Notre Dame, noon, NBC13
Feb. 12 — Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m., MY4
Feb. 15 — N.C. State at Syracuse, 3 p.m., MY4
Feb. 18 — Duke at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m., MY4
Feb. 22 — Boston College at Miami, noon, MY4
Feb. 26 — Pittsburgh at Boston College, 8 p.m., MY4
March 1 — Miami at N.C. State, noon; North Carolina at Virginia Tech, 2:30 p.m., MY4
March 2 — Maryland at Clemson, 1 p.m., MY4
March 4 — Miami at Clemson, 8 p.m., MY4
March 8 — Pittsburgh at Clemson, 4 p.m., MY4
March 9 — Syracuse at Florida State, 2 p.m., MY4

Viewing picks
Here are some of my top TV sporting events this weekend:

Saturday
— New York state high school football playoffs Class C semifinal, Hoosick Falls vs. Rye Neck, 11 a.m., Time Warner Cable SportsChannel-50.

— New York state high school football playoffs Class B semifinal, Schalmont vs. Marlboro, 3 p.m., TWCS-50.

— College football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse, 12:30 p.m., MY4.

— College football: Baylor at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m., ABC10.

Sunday
— Men’s college basketball: Old Spice Classic, Siena at Purdue, noon, Big Ten Network.

— NFL: New York Jets at Baltimore, 1 p.m., CBS6.

— NFL: Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 4:25 p.m., FOX23.

— NFL: Denver at New England, 8:30 p.m., NBC13.

— CFL Playoffs: Grey Cup, Hamilton at Saskatchewan, 6 p.m., NBCSN.

Follow @slapschotts on Twitter. Follow @dgazettesports on Twitter.

 
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