Best use of raising a voice
Most football fans know what a hard count is, but it was still cool to hear CBS analyst (and former QB) Rich Gannon actually demonstrate one after the prompting by announcer Kevin Harlan. Seems silly and minor, but it's those kinds of things that make a broadcast a little more enjoyable. Gannon is still pretty new at the analyst gig, having joined CBS in 2005.
Because the Bucs are an NFC team and typically on Fox, we don't get to hear Gannon very often in these parts. But he seems to do a good job. Some analysts are strong on their X's and O's. Some like to be quirky. Gannon, meantime, is a fan's analyst — taking complicated football matters and breaking them down in language the average viewer can understand.
Best of all, he does the one thing fans want from an analyst but a surprising number forget: He is the extra eyes for viewers who can see only what is on the screen. The best example of this came when Gannon, during the play and then on the replay, noticed how Bucs QB Jeff Garcia didn't throw to wide-open WR Antonio Bryant on what could've been a long gain and maybe even a touchdown.
Most heartbreaking sights and sounds
Seeing Cadillac Williams, after everything he has been through the past two years, go down with another injury had to make you, as CBS announcer Kevin Harlan said, "just sick to your stomach." What was even worse than seeing Williams down and in pain was that the microphones picked up his yells and screams. Viewers could briefly hear an expletive, but CBS did the right thing staying with the audio just to show how devastating the injury appeared to be.
Is there anything more frustrating than needing a touchdown and watching the quarterback get sacked on the last play? It's like going up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and looking at three strikes down the middle of the plate without even swinging.
CBS analyst Rich Gannon, waited nearly a quarter and then jumped on his old coach, Jon Gruden. Gannon astutely pointed out that even though WR Antonio Bryant was having one of his best seasons and was coming off three 100-yard games and the Raiders were missing their best cover corner in Nnamdi Asomugha, the Bucs weren't calling Bryant's number. "I don't understand why (the Bucs aren't throwing) to Bryant," Gannon said. We didn't understand, either. Bryant had only three catches.
CBS "insider" Charley Casserly, during the NFL on CBS pregame show, pointed a finger at Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, left, for the team's late-season collapse, particularly on defense. It's hard not to notice that the Bucs did give up 72 points at home in the past two weeks. "I think it all stems from Monte Kiffin announcing that he's going to the University of Tennessee," Casserly said.
"(There's) a lot of resentment in that building. (There are) a lot of hard feelings in that building. Why couldn't you wait until the end of the season? In my opinion, Monte Kiffin is the heart and soul of that defense. In the last three weeks, that heart has been ripped out, and it has been reflected by their poor play on the field."
Amazing that Raiders owner Al Davis, left, who has a knee and ankle problem, missed only his third game since joining the Raiders in 1963. Three games. The Bucs defense missed more games than that in the past month.
CBS analyst Rich Gannon yelled out what every Bucs fan was thinking as the offensive linemen were jogging to the line of scrimmage with time running down in the fourth quarter. "They're not hustling enough!" Gannon said. "They're wasting time by not hustling."
Best knowledge of the rules
The worst thing a broadcaster can do during a game is give viewers the wrong information, and, unfortunately, too many announcers and analysts do that simply because they don't know the rules. CBS analyst Rich Gannon does know the rules, and it was his knowledge that bailed out partner Kevin Harlan on a couple of occasions.
First, on an intentional grounding call against the Raiders, Harlan argued that QB JaMarcus Russell, left, was outside the tackle box, but Gannon quickly jumped in to point out that the ball never crossed the line of scrimmage — and that's what made it intentional grounding. Later, when the Raiders challenged what they thought was an interception, Gannon used the rules to say it was not an interception before the officials even determined it was not one.
Tom Jones, The St.Petersburg Times 29 December 2008