NBC Comes Up Short In Goal Review
April 18, 2011 5 Comments
There’s certain things that a national television broadcast should do, at least from a fan’s perspective. One is to just show the damn game. Just make sure it looks good and is presentable on the small screen. Second is to serve the fans, and keep them informed with all the pertinent information to the game. Third is to give you certain features that folks in the arena can’t see, like access to multiple, instant replays.
If you judge it by these three standards, it’d probably be fair to say that NBC failed all of them on Sunday. As the buzzer sounded, a puck that New York Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko threw from behind the net came out in front, ricocheted off a Washington Capitals defenseman and into the net behind Washington goaltender Michal Neuvirth. It went in, as play-by-play man Mike Emrick pointed out, as the green light signifying the end of the period turned on. There was a review to see if it was a good goal or not. It was determined that it went over the line too late.
However, if you’re a Ranger fan that watched on NBC, you’d think you were totally gypped by the call. Because the clock on NBC’s scoreboard graphic read 0.2 seconds left in the period. The referee assured the crowd that the clock had read 0.00 when it crossed. Now, if you’re even the most reasonable of Rangers fans, who are you going to believe in your heart of hearts? Obviously the one that says you got screwed.
Now, as Eddie Olczyk and Darren Pang tried to explain on the telecast, the clock at the NHL’s War Room in Toronto – which reviews all calls on the ice – had a clock in sync with the one at Madison Square Garden, the official clock. The network’s scoreboard was not in sync with The Garden’s. That’s fine, as long as NBC were to show the correct angle along with the correct clock.
But they didn’t, not until at least an hour after the goal, show an angle that combined the correct, in-house timer with the over-the-net camera angle that would show when the puck had fully crossed the goal line. A full hour after then. This is a completely inexcusable mistake by NBC, that didn’t service the fans, and only stood to make them angrier. They didn’t provide the fans with information that was absolutely necessary, and should be available to even non-national telecasts, and almost always is.
This was part of an afternoon that was kind of a mess for NBC, and possibly the worst broadcast the network has done in the six years they’ve been on the air, save maybe the Preakness problems of 2007. A second intermission satellite hook-up between studio host Liam McHugh and VERSUS analysts Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury was clearly poorly set-up, with Roenick and McHugh talking over each other for a solid 30 seconds, which feels like about 30 minutes in TV time. It was something Roenick mocked in a tweet at McHugh afterwards, but he curiously took the tweet down a little later.
The whole game was a bit of a weird one. There was Sean Avery breaking his own stick to delay a face-off. Then a referee breaking his fibula, causing an extended delay. Everything seemed off. In the end, playoff hockey is perfect, but when you don’t show a replay that was crucial to the game, then fans are going to question a network’s credibility, maybe even an entire league’s.