Sports TV News
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
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.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
Sports TV News
Albert Pujols To Join MLB Network
“I’ve been a huge fan since the very beginning and can’t wait to get started.”
After making his broadcast debut Sunday afternoon on Peacock, Albert Pujols will be continuing his broadcast career with MLB Network, the league announced Monday. Pujols was named as a special assistant to Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr., a role in which he will consult the league on topics including player and international relations, and will also help grow the game. Part of Pujols’ new job will be appearing on MLB Network, where he will make his debut Tuesday morning on MLB Central and Wednesday on MLB Tonight.
“Beyond his long list of accomplishments on the field, Albert is a highly respected figure who represents the game extraordinarily well,” Manfred said in a statement. “He cares greatly about making a difference in our communities. We are excited for Albert to join other former players who are doing important work for our sport, and we will welcome his perspective across our efforts.”
Pujols retired from the game of baseball at the conclusion of last season after a storied 22-year career, culminating in hitting his 700th career home run and doing so as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He is ninth on the all-time hits list (3,384) and finished fourth on the all-time home run list (703). Additionally, Pujols was selected as a Major League Baseball All-Star 11 times throughout his career, which included two stints with the Cardinals, 10 years with the Los Angeles Angels and a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pujols was the 2008 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for demonstrating excellence on and off the field, and also won the 2022 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award from ESPN for his charitable endeavors. He also played on the Dominican Republic’s national team during the first World Baseball Classic in 2006, and previously stated that he believed he would one day move into a coaching role.
As part of his new role on MLB Network, Pujols will be traveling to contribute to coverage for the Major League Baseball London Series – a matchup between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals – on Friday, June 23. Pujols is the latest player to join Major League Baseball, as the league employs Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Torre and CC Sabathia among other former stars.
“I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter of my career,” Pujols said in a statement. “Commissioner Manfred and I share the same passion for growing the game in the Dominican Republic and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to join the MLB Network family. I’ve been a huge fan since the very beginning and can’t wait to get started.”
Sports TV News
NBC Adds Matt Cassel to Big Ten Studio Show Crew
“He will be part of the network’s new studio show that will be hosted by Maria Taylor.”
In 2024, USC and UCLA are joining the Big Ten. Those moves helped spur two huge rights contracts for the league from NBC and CBS respectively. One of those networks is getting a jump on the new properties.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that former USC quarterback Matt Cassel is joining NBC’s Big Ten crew. He will be part of the network’s new studio show that will be hosted by Maria Taylor.
Cassel is an interesting choice for college football coverage. While many know that he turned a successful season replacing the injured Tom Brady into an opportunity to become the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, his college career was less storied.
He played at USC from 2001 until 2004 and sat behind both Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart on the depth chart. Matt Cassel threw a total of 33 passes at USC. Those resulted in no touchdowns, one interception and less than 200 yards.
Matt Cassel is not the first former player added to the show. He and Taylor will be joined in studio by former Michigan linebacker Joshua Perry. NBC reportedly also wants to add future Pro Football Hall of Fame and former Wisconsin Badger JJ Watt to the team.
Sports TV News
Shannon Sharpe on His Future: Stay Tuned
“While Sharpe’s future as a sports debate host remain unclear, the Super Bowl champion tweeted that his following should keep an eye out for what’s coming next.”
Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe posted on social media over the weekend for the first time since news broke of his impending exit from FOX Sports and his role opposite Skip Bayless on the FS1 show Undisputed.
Sharpe reached an agreement with the network last week to buyout the remaining time on his contract.
While Sharpe’s future as a sports debate host remain unclear, the Super Bowl champion tweeted that his following should keep an eye out for what’s coming next. The tweet showed Shannon in front of a camera in a gardening setting.
Many in sports media have offered their support of Sharpe, as he exits what had become a strained relationship with Bayless. The two had a series of heated on-air exchanges in recent months before a national audience.
Multiple hosts involved with ESPN have voiced publicly that they’re rooting for Sharpe to join The Worldwide Leader. Pat McAfee last week said he was “hoping like hell” Sharpe would show up to ESPN when he and his show debut on the network in the coming months. First Take host Stephen A. Smith also said he would make room for Sharpe on his show if he wanted to appear.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.