The NFL Network, reviewed.

The stadium scene.
Nov. 24 2006 11:54 AM

Football Overload

Assessing the NFL Network's first live regular-season broadcast.

(Continued from Page 1)

Gumbel's major weakness is his voice—too much treble, not enough bass, and a tendency to get drowned out when the crowd gets loud. Otherwise, except for an over-reliance on the phrase "stacked up" when a ball-carrier was tackled, Gumbel executed the fundamentals well. He was on top of personnel changes, which allows the broadcaster to anticipate plays and not appear stunned by what happens on the field (see Musberger, Brent). Considering his lack of play-by-play reps, Gumbel was surprisingly solid on player IDs and down and distance.

Collinsworth, though, was as flat as the Broncos. He confused a third down and short near the goal line with third and goal—when Denver got the first down, he went on about how they had to be aggressive and go for it without realizing it was actually first and goal. A long Chiefs touchdown drive earned plaudits, with no acknowledgment of the two key third down penalties that allowed K.C. to score. And he went on and on about Denver's failure to deploy safety John Lynch near the line of scrimmage when the Broncos was clearly more concerned about making a critical mistake against the Chiefs' passing game. Overall, not a good game for the usually solid Collinsworth.

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The production itself contained all the typical bells and whistles of a network show, for good and ill. I think we can all agree, however, that the in-game miking of players should be used with moderation—it's the same combination of grunts, screams, and "Stay hungry!!!" every time. The latter is certainly not something you want to hear on Thanksgiving. From now on, the NFL Network should let the game do the talking, and it will be just fine.]

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