1. There were five NFL playoff games this weekend, but only one featured a broadcaster new to the postseason.
With NBC airing two playoff games over the weekend, the network assigned its usual Sunday night team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to the Steelers-Chiefs. NBC gave Saturday’s Raiders-Bengals game to its Notre Dame crew of Mike Tirico and Drew Brees.
And quite frankly, that just wasn’t fair to Brees. Notre Dame football at 2:30 in the afternoon on a random fall Saturday is not nearly as important as an NFL playoff game. Brees was not ready for the stage.
It wasn’t that Brees was bad. He just brought nothing to the table. He didn’t give the viewer any sense that he was calling a playoff game. He completely whiffed on breaking down several horrible calls by the officials and just didn’t offer any in-depth analysis throughout the game. He was more Jason Witten than Tony Romo.
Tirico did all the heavy lifting while Brees remained silent during some of the biggest moments of the game. Because he was a great quarterback during his career, Brees, of course, was good at breaking down some of the quarterback play from Joe Burrow and Derek Carr, but you need to do more than that as an analyst. You need to offer strategy, dig into some of the controversial moments, call out mistakes. Brees did none of that.
The blame for this doesn’t fall solely on Brees. NBC really had no business giving him this assignment. Brees has only been calling college football games for a year and NBC decided to give him an NFL playoff game? That was a reach and NBC deserves a lot of the blame for the intense backlash Brees received on social media during the game.
Again, this was Brees’s first time calling an NFL playoff game, so he should be cut some slack. If you’re NBC, you have to believe Brees will improve over time. But if you’re NBC, you should also see that improvement before giving Brees a playoff game and exposing him to 25-30 million viewers instead of the 2-3 million people who watch Notre Dame games.
2. This is a savage tweet that you can send to any of the Cowboys fans in your life.
3. Nobody has enjoyed the Cowboys loss and mind-boggling game-ending blunder more than Stephen A. Smith.
4. A lot of people were wondering why CBS carried Sunday's Niners-Cowboys game instead of FOX, especially after Troy Aikman got salty about it during the Eagles-Bucs game.
Here's why CBS had the Niners-Cowboys matchup.
5. The Rock is coming to the ManningCast tonight.
6. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped this morning and this week's show features an interview with Richard Deitsch, who previously hosted the show. Deitsch, who now works for The Athletic, discussed the state of podcasts, what makes a good podcast and what makes a good host. We also talked about sports media news items, including the disappointing ratings for the college football national title game and the NFL's being set up for a monster postseason when it comes to viewership.
In the weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment of the podcast, Sal Licata, from WFAN and SNY TV in New York, and I discuss the NFL wild-card matchups, sports betting coming to New York, Cobra Kai and much more.
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7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Saturday Night Live spoofed Inside the NBA and Covid's impact on the league.
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 Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.