1. “The rules analyst job is the most overrated thing to ever happen in sports broadcasting.”
I wrote that in Traina Thoughts two weeks ago. After watching the AFC and NFC championship games Sunday, I can say that the rules analyst job is not only the most overrated thing to happen in sports broadcasting, but it’s also become the most annoying thing in sports broadcasting.
The rules analyst should be brought on ONLY to explain a rule that the audience may not know or understand. That is the only circumstance where these guys might be useful.
However, in practice, these guys are strictly used to either defend the refs when they make a bad call or to just tell us what we saw.
In the Eagles’ blowout win over the Niners on Sunday, San Francisco got flagged for a key 15-yard roughing-the-kicker penalty late in the third quarter with Philly leading 21–7.
The call was wrong and atrocious, yet, there was Mike Pereira telling us the refs got it right even though anyone with functioning eyesight saw that they did not get it right.
Fox play-by-play guy Kevin Burkhardt gave Pereira the chance to tell the truth, but instead, Peiera embarrassed himself.
“Mike Pereira, do you like that call?” asked Burkhardt.
“Yeah, I do,” Pereira said while insulting the intelligence of every viewer. “He hits, actually, the kicking leg, but he hits him with such force.”
Actually, he didn’t hit him with that much force, and more importantly, HE WAS PUSHED INTO THE EAGLES’ KICKER BY AN EAGLES PLAYER!
But Pereira can’t point that out, because it would make the awful refs look even worse.
At least Fox uses Pereira sparingly. CBS is paying Tony Romo $17 million a year, yet it turned the AFC title broadcast into the Gene Steratore Show.
If you drank any time Jim Nantz or Tony Romo said, “Gene, what do you think?” or “Let’s go to Gene or “Let’s bring in Gene,” you’d still be drunk.
At one point, Joe Burrow got tackled and hit the ground, and, a second later, the ball came out. Right away, Nantz brought in Steratore. Why? Again, anyone with functioning eyesight saw that Burrow hit the ground before the ball came out. There wasn’t a single person watching who thought it was a fumble. Yet, we HAD to hear from Steratore. It makes no sense.
There was another play where a Chiefs defender tackled Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst way before a Burrow pass got to him. The refs correctly called pass interference. CBS again brought in Steratore. Why? It was crystal clear on the replay that it was a penalty. Why did we need to hear from Steratore?
There was enough anarchy during the fourth quarter of Bengals-Chiefs. CBS only made its telecast more confusing and disjointed by bringing in Steratore on what seemed like every single play.
It doesn’t help that the NFL refs make so many bad calls. This puts the rules analyst in a bad spot because they don’t want to tell 50 million people that the refs screwed up. To his credit, Steratore actually said the refs made a bad call when they threw a flag on the Bengals after a ticky-tack late-fourth-quarter pass interference. But, again, we all saw it was a bad call. We didn’t need Steratore to confirm this for us.
No network that airs the NFL understands that less is more. The use of Steratore during Bengals-Chiefs was completely out of control. It hurt the flow of the telecast and did not serve the viewers in any way, shape or form.
2. I honestly don't even know to say about the refs at this point. They are just so, so bad and ruin games. Having said, that I love how bad the refs are, because they are outstanding for content.
Meanwhile, #NFLRigged has been trending on Twitter since Sunday night. If you need a laugh just click the hashtag and read the outlandish stuff and wild conspiracy theories.
3. Nick Sirianni just won the NFC championship game. He's going to the Super Bowl. He's riding high. His daughter, though, has no interest in hearing what he has to say.
4. When we last saw Chargers defensive lineman, Joey Bosa, he was throwing his helmet and picking up unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He didn't seem like he was in a much better mood Sunday when he was in Philly to watch his brother, Nick, play. Bosa let some Eagles fans get under his skin and lost his cool in a nasty way.
5. I know this happened Saturday and many of you have probably seen it, but Pat Beverley’s bringing a camera on court to show the refs that they blew a call by not calling a foul against the Celtics when they hacked LeBron James on a layup was absolutely outstanding.
6. This week’s SI Media Podcast features a conversation with Good Morning Football host Jason McCourty.
McCourty discusses his first year on the NFL Network show, how he's adjusted to doing a show that starts at 7 a.m., what it was like to replace Nate Burleson, whether it's tough for him as a former player to criticize current players and which of his GMFB cohosts is the crankiest in the morning.
The 13-year NFL veteran also talks about Bill Belichick's rules for Patriots players regarding the media, Tom Brady going viral for his expletive-filled answer about his future, the difference between people on the East Coast and Midwest and much more.
Following McCourty, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins me for our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, we discuss Scott Rolen getting into the Hall of Fame, Shannon Sharpe getting into a ruckus at an NBA game, the Rocky movies, movie soundtracks and more.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Here's how the celebration went for some Eagles fans Sunday night.
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Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.