Fox On Target

As sports media bloggers it’s our collective obligation to never credit the mainstream media. They represent everything we’re not, right?  We’re supposed to serve as their Internet checks and balances.  I’ve never subscribed to that adage.  I try to keep my eyes and my mind open.  So here goes.

In what will go down as one of the most exciting and historic Super Bowls of all time, the people at Fox matched the intensity of the game with Grade A coverage.  Saying otherwise would be a case of bitching for the sake of bitching.

Listen, I’m not saying last night’s telecast was groundbreaking or historic.  I can always do without a four hour preview of a game that has already been over-analyzed for two weeks.  I also have never had any interest in the halftime shows…Janet Jackson’s breast not withstanding.

What Fox did yesterday was to provide a solid product.  They let the game tell the story. That’s what we should expect from every sports telecast.

The duo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman has had its fair share of detractors throughout the web.   I’ve never felt that way.  Buck consistently underplays the description of the action.   That’s a good thing.  The play-by-play man should never be bigger than the game.  Jack Buck learned that.  So did his son.  He gets it.

Since retiring to the booth Aikman has taken his experience on the field and breaks down the plays in a way the provides insight without too much minutiae. 

I’ve criticized the use of sideline reporters in the past.  Often they tend to get in the way.  Yesterday Fox used Chris Myers and Pam Oliver sparingly yet effectively.   They kept their reports brief and on message.

Technically Fox had all the angles covered on the field.  I can’t think of an instance where they did not have a camera angle of a play at their disposal that left any doubt of its result.

The impact of the game will likely serve as the impetus of the anticipated ratings bonanza Fox will see when the early numbers come out later today.  Their work will unfortunately go unnoticed.

Even in its 14th season Fox is still viewed as the new kid on the block in its coverage of the NFL.  They do not have the pedigree of CBS, NBC, or even ABC.  Although after yesterday’s Super Bowl telecast, the kid has definitely matured.

Why Live Blog?

I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to trends in technology and the sharing of information.  Heck, I started a blog, didn’t I?

But there is one aspect of blogging that I cannot entirely embrace…the practice of live blogging.

First of all, let’s all agree that live blogging is a misnomer.  Live blogging is by no means live.  I refuse to use the term any further.  Let’s call it what it is…event blogging or, in the world of sports, in-game blogging.   By the time a blogger pens an in-game post and it’s sent to the blog, appropriate time has passed to classify the information as old news. 

I’m not saying that event blogging doesn’t have its place.  If you’re a blogger at an exclusive event, or one that is not well attended,  providing insight from that event adds some exclusivity for the blogger.  The inside scoop if you will.

Much was made last spring when the NCAA came down on Brian Bennett of the Louisville Courier-Journal for providing in-game blogging of an NCAA Regional Baseball game involving the Louisville Cardinals.  Bennett had his credential revoked, with the NCAA claiming he violated a rule of providing “live” updates of an event to which he did not have the rights. 

What I find puzzling is in-game blogging of a sporting event like the World Series.  What information can one blogging from the event provide readers that they aren’t getting from the nationally televised broadcast of the game?  It makes no sense to me.

Looking at the four major newspapers that cover the Red Sox and the Rockies in Game 1, three of the four have blogs for the teams.  Both Boston papers, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, provided in-game blogging of the Sox’ 13-1 rout of Colorado.  In Denver, only the Denver Post provides a sports blog on the Rockies, but there was no in-game coverage of Game 1.

Back to Boston, Rob Bradford’s Herald Blog provided more than just what was happening on the field.  Bradford mixed in statistics and notes that was probably not noted by Joe Buck or Tim McCarver on Fox.  That’s great, but how many people were glued to their computer monitor waiting for these tidbits?  Bradford could have easily assembled those facts and posted them as part of the Herald’s online post game coverage.

The most disappointing in-game blogging came from the Boston Globe.  In its Extra Bases Blog, reporter Amalie Benjamin used the space to rehash what happened after each inning.  I’m sorry, that’s a waste of good bandwidth. 

The Herald, Globe, and Denver Post do a good job of using their blogs to provide the pre-game flavor at Fenway Park.  That’s cool.  You won’t get that information in too many places.  That has a purpose. 

The newspapers are not alone in providing this useless in-game blogging.  Many independent blogs also attempt the practice.  At least the reporters at the game can provide some insight into the action.  Independent bloggers often provide nothing in terms of pertinent information.  The independent bloggers often use this in-game blogging as a way to criticize and mock either the players, announcers, or both.  Again, why can’t they assemble this material for a comprehensive post-game post?  Why is the in-game aspect a draw?

As much as I don’t think in-game blogging is effective I would never say a blogger shouldn’t partake in the process.  I’m sure if there wasn’t an audience they wouldn’t do it.  It’s just not for me.