This year’s “Thursday Night Football” programming will be different than in years past — instead of needing NFL Network to catch the game, the league did the
right profitable thing by selling rights to a simulcast to CBS. Both networks had their own warm up last night by broadcasting the Eagles-Steelers preseason game, and if you watched the NFL Network version, you were probably pissed.
The CBS version, in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets, sounded fine — your typical play-by-play and color announcing, done inside the stadium, meshing seamlessly with the ambient noise of the crowd. Nothing to see there. Here’s LeSean McCoy’s touchdown off a screen pass from Nick Foles:
But the NFL Network version? It was like listening to two guys talk about the game in their living room. You could still hear the TV, but the announcers were so overpowering, there was almost an echo. Here’s the same play:
Hear the difference? It’s like a broadcast from the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car. This was almost certainly a preseason experiment — NFL Network has plans for crews to broadcast inside the venues during the season — but as experiments go, this one sucked, and the people let us know (via Twitchy):
I DESPISE this "let's announce the game from the NFL Network studios" Let the team announcers call the damn game, this is horrible.
— Pauly S. (@thenflanalyst) August 21, 2014
— Dan Takah (@DanTakah) August 22, 2014
— phuntastikbobby (@phuntastikbobby) August 22, 2014
— JJ Borecky (@jjborecky) August 22, 2014
NFL Network needs to stop this crap, man. Just play the authentic broadcast.
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) August 22, 2014
Plus, Kurt Warner was not a big hit as a color guy. In fact, the announcing came off more as “a conversation between guys at the bar” than commentating:
— Houston Landry (@Tatumspop) August 22, 2014
— Rich Marotta (@boxingrich) August 22, 2014
These announcers have NO IDEA what's going on because they're not there, very poorly done broadcast @nflnetwork
— Zack Moore (@ZackMooreNFL) August 22, 2014
Just like preseason games are for NFL teams to get the kinks out, so too is the NFL Network figuring out what works. This, clearly, did not work. And while we agree that the NFL Network came off looking a bit bush league, it’s also an exhibition game. If you live outside of Pennsylvania and wanted to watch this, may we suggest catching sports-themed “Simpsons” episodes until the season starts instead?