But, again, I have to ask: Why can't CBS give us sideline reporters during the season? With the massive money being made by the networks, how can CBS possibly justify nickel and diming viewers this way? It's outrageous.
CBS also delivered on some of the great images in this battle.
Just before the winning field goal, the cameras caught John Harbaugh and Ray Rice side by side on the sideline with Harbaugh's arm draped around Rice's shoulder as they held their breath.
There was also a close-up of Lewis on the bench being tended to for a bloody and swollen hand while the offense was on the field late in the game. The extreme close-up of his hand communicated the battering the players endure more than any hard hit shown in replay.
I even have some nice words for Dierdorf. (And it's not true that I am only including them because I promised to say such things in a prayer uttered in the last 65 seconds of regulation time when it looked like all was lost.)
Dierdorf brought a lot more energy to the telecast than he usually does — a lot more.
In fact, one of my biggest criticisms of him is that he wouldn't stop talking long enough to let me fully experience some of the ambience in the stadium during this epic contest. I wanted to hear more of the crowd going playoff crazy. But Dierdorf would not shut up. Again, the lack of ambient sound was more the fault of the producer than it was Dierdorf. But he was part of the problem.
And Dierdorf was so wedded to that Manning-is-God story line that he went into full gasbag mode when telling viewers during the replay mentioned earlier that the Denver quarterback's fumble was going to be ruled an incompletion.
Dierdorf did that again with a key completion to Anquan Boldin, which went under review. He told viewers it was going to be ruled an incompletion — and he was wrong again.
OK, I guess I actually only had one nice word for Dierdorf. But, at least, it felt like he tried to raise his game to playoff level. He was engaged in what was happening on the field, instead of bored, dismissive or totally lost in gasbag pronouncements.
On the other hand, who could possibly sit in a broadcast booth at Denver's Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High and not respond to the greatness on the field Saturday — even if it didn't fit the network's favored storyline?
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