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Dan Bernstein: Cris Collinsworth Tried Too Hard to Avoid Showing Bengals Bias

“I think in his head or in his subconscious, he’s absolutely guarding against being accused of bias for the Bengals,” said Richard Deits

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Did Cris Collinsworth try too hard to stay neutral on the key holding call against Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson with 1:47 remaining in Super Bowl LVI?

Collinsworth, whose entire eight-year NFL career was played with the Bengals, may have been concerned with appearing too biased on a call that virtually everyone watching thought was incorrect based on replay evidence. Wilson had his hands on Cooper Kupp, yet didn’t push, pull, or grab him in any way that would prevent the Los Angeles Rams receiver from making the catch.

Instead of a fourth down with the game’s outcome at stake, the penalty gave the Rams a first down and the opportunity to score the eventual winning touchdown. But despite what appeared to be a terrible call that would cost the Bengals a loss, Collinsworth refused to criticize the officials or say what was obvious to everyone.

Asked by Al Michaels if he saw a penalty on the replay, Collinsworth said, “That’s what they called.”

For viewers accustomed to color analysts providing some analysis and commentary, it was a surprising concession from Collinsworth. Even if his tone may have conveyed what he really thought, Collinsworth didn’t give the audience his actual view on the play.

On 670 The Score’s Bernstein & Rahimi show Tuesday morning, Dan Bernstein asked The Athletic’s sports media critic Richard Deitsch if Collinsworth was “overcompensating” to make sure no “Bengal-ness could be pinned on him” and appear biased for his former team.

“I agree with you 100 percent,” Deitsch responded. “I think in his head or in his subconscious, he’s absolutely guarding against being accused of bias for the Bengals. And that’s why I think he sort of was very abrupt in what he had to say.”

“I do think broadcasters at that level, doing national games… really go above and beyond to try to show neutrality.”

As both Bernstein and Deitsch pointed out, Collinsworth was in a tough spot there. He surely has affection toward the Bengals organization, but didn’t want to show it in his analysis. Would Bengals fans be more satisfied if Collinsworth said the holding call was awful, maybe one of the worst he’s ever seen, if he wanted to add some color? Maybe, but it surely would have been no consolation for losing the Super Bowl.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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Sports TV News

NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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