Ravens on TV -- Viewers weigh in on telecast of epic game and other matters

... Like the Spanish-language telecast on FiOS and a poltergeist who likes CBS Sports

(Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports )
December 09, 2013|By David Zurawik | The Baltimore Sun

There was lots of mail on the Fox telecast of the Ravens' epic win Sunday over the Vikings.

In the interest of getting more reader reaction into this post, I'll keep my words to a minimum. I'll try anyway. I've noticed the "Z responds" part is sometimes longer than that to which I am responding. What can I say?

Let's start with Kitty, who writes:

Dear Z, I thoroughly enjoy your column in the Sun.  I must comment on the last 4 paragraphs of your column today (12/9/13).  I am a FiOS customer and was totally frustrated by the audio of Sunday's game. 

As you described, I heard no sound, then English, Spanish, English, etc. for the entire 1st half.   I thought something was wrong with my TV.  

You seem to have enjoyed Fox's coverage, but a graphic on the screen explaining the audio difficulties would have been greatly appreciated.  I listened to WBAL , which was difficult as they are a few minutes ahead of the video.  I would have loved to have heard from Hale, Myers, and Ryan on the broadcasting team, but I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND anything being said!!!!!! BOO, Fox Broadcasting!

Z responds: Thanks Kitty. We were all over the Verizon FiOS Spanish-language mix-up Sunday, with a post at baltimoresun.com at halftime and explanations on Z on TV in print Sunday and Monday.

As to your "boo" for Fox, you have the wrong culprit. The audio was fine on Comcast cable and DirecTV satellite service, for example, as we reported.

So, that says don't blame Fox, which was originating the signal. The problem was with the distribution of it by Verizon through its system.

There were also a few audio problems reported by area viewers not using cable or satellite service -- but rather receiving over-the-air signals via digital converter boxes.

That introduces the possibility that WBFF-TV (Fox 45), the Fox affiliate in Baltimore, might have been transmitting the Spanish-language version by mistake, since there were no problems reported in Minnesota.

But even if that is the case, you still should not blame Fox. The owners of Fox 45 are Sinclair.

Again, if the problem was with Fox everyone receiving the game in Baltimore and Minnesota would have had the issues you had with HD.

But I definitely understand and appreciate your frustration. Let's just be thankful it wasn't flipping in and out of Spanish, English and no-audio the last two minutes and five seconds.

Here's Joe:

How good was that telecast of the Ravens game today, when compared to CBS?

The sideline reporter went into the tunnel leading from the field, to track down injury information about a key Minnesota player (Adrian Peterson).

Z responds: Dear Joe, If you saw my review, I agreed about the Fox telecast being superior to CBS. I also praised the solid work of Jennifer Hale, the Fox sideline reporter. She reported that Peterson was headed to a "nearby medical facility for an MRI" when everyone else was tweeting about his return to the game being "questionable." And her camera crew had Peterson on the bench in street clothes as soon as he came back to the stadium.

Bob writes:

Dear Z:

In your TV review column in the 12/9 issue of the Baltimore Sun your opening sentence  “Maybe it's because I grew up in Wisconsin watching Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers on all those snowy Sundays.” brought up a memory.
 
Born and raised in Maryland, still a “Baltimore” Colt fan – have to ask you and I hope you did - did you see the Colts-Packers game played in Green Bay that the Packers were given because the official could not clearly see that their field goal attempt did NOT go through the uprights?

On TV, you could hardly see the ball in the air and, at times, the players.  But – it could be seen on TV that the ball was NOT thru the uprights but close enough that the only official monitoring could not clearly see..
 
That game resulted in the height of the uprights being raised to their present height and having an official stationed under each upright instead of just one standing in the middle between the uprights.   Another first was a play card taped to the quarterback’s, Tom Matte’s, wrist.  Tom was the Colt’s halfback playing quarterback because both Johnny Unitas and his back-up were both injured.
 
Like Sunday’s game, that also was a game for the ages...

Z responds: Dear Bob: Even though I was only 8, I remember the game. But I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of the Packers being "given" anything or any controversy about any call. The correct call was absolutely made and it resulted in the Packers being given what they deserved for outplaying the Colts. At least, that's what the Milwaukee papers said. (I'm kidding. I have enough people threatening me for the Ray Lewis column I wrote. I am not about to trash a sacred Colts memory.)

And here are a couple more on the Spanish-language Ravens telecast.

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