SBD/December 10, 2012/Media

Death Of Jerry Brown Leads All NFL Pregame Shows; CBS "Learned From Its Blunder"

"The NFL Today" was praised one week after its show open was criticized
The death of Cowboys LB Jerry Brown led all NFL pregame shows yesterday morning. CBS’ “The NFL Today,” which garnered widespread criticism for not leading its broadcast last week with the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, began yesterday’s show with a somber opening and host James Brown reading a statement from Cowboys DT Josh Brent, who was arrested Saturday for intoxicated manslaughter. Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg then appeared from Paul Brown Stadium and discussed the Cowboys players’ reactions and emotions (“The NFL Today,” CBS, 12/9). The Albany Times-Union’s Pete Dougherty on his Twitter account wrote, “CBS learned from its error of last week and led its pregame show with the Dallas Cowboys tragedy.” Deadspin’s Timothy Burke wrote, “Looks like CBS is responding to the criticism of their tone-deaf response to Belcher by doing the first ten minutes about DUIs.” SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote, “The NFL Today treated its viewers like adults at the top of its show today. As it should be” (TWITTER.com, 12/9). Meanwhile, ESPN’s Frank Caliendo reported on his Twitter feed that the net would be "pushing back the ESPN comedy segment another week because of tragic NFL news” (TWITTER.com, 12/8). The segment was to feature Caliendo playing ESPN’s Bob Ley and Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones (ESPN).

CRITIQUING THE COVERAGE: SI.com’s Deitsch writes CBS “thankfully rebounded this week with the appropriate editorial sensibilities" regarding Brown's death and Brent's arrest. The coverage is “what adults should expect from a pregame show when an NFL player is involved in the death of another NFL player.” The net's pregame show was at its “most impactful during a roundtable discussion with its analysts.” It was “compelling and thoughtful television and what the show should aim to be weekly” (SI.com, 12/10). In Dallas, Barry Horn writes CBS’ pregame show “learned from its blunder last week when it opened with its crew talking football gibberish while relegating the murder-suicide by Kansas Chief linebacker Jovan Belcher to an afterthought.” This time, CBS “went almost 11 minutes coupling the back-to-back Saturday tragedies.” The net's “strongest words came from" former NFLer Shannon Sharpe, the panelist who "most recently retired as a player." Meanwhile, Fox’ pregame show and Cowboys-Bengals game coverage “can be described as appropriate and responsible.” Fox “smartly” let co-host and former NFLer Michael Strahan “stand out" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/10). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes CBS’ tone, “unlike a week earlier, was appropriately somber but more judgmental." Sharpe called Brent’s behavior “careless and reckless” (USA TODAY, 12/10).
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