CTV Cuts Out on Super Bowl Presentation

For the second time in two games CTV cut off an NFL postgame show just as former CFLer, and inspiration to the Ravens, O.J. Brigance appeared on the broadcast. It’s bad enough that CTV cut out on a guy who has ALS and is clearly one of the great stories of the Ravens’ Super Bowl run, but to make it worse they also missed the Lomardi Trophy presentation. That’s right. The trophy presentation of the most watched sports event in Canada was not on Canadian television. Instead for the second time in as many weeks CTV cut away from a trophy presentation to show regular primetime programming. And it neither case it was simulcast programming. There was really no rush for CTV to get to Anger Management or Motive.

Some will blame the CRTC for this, and honestly I don’t really want to start another simsub debate because they never go anywhere. So let’s take simsubbing completely out of this for a second because it really had no effect on CTV’s decision. Sure it resulted in some people missing the postgame show on CBS as well, but that wouldn’t be a problem if CTV had just stuck with the postgame show until the next commercial break. What happened is unacceptable for an official NFL broadcaster who spent 12 hours showing football programming on Sunday. Surely another five minutes wouldn’t have killed Motive’s ratings. I know the blackout messed everyone up (and almost certainly resulted in lower ratings for Motive and Elementary), but it’s not an excuse.

Ratings… The ratings for the Super Bowl show a continuing downward trend for NFL playoff ratings this year. An average of 6.447 million Canadian tuned in on CTV. For what its worth CTV’s press release said 6.6 million, that’s the number not including the power outage. An average of 763, 000 watched on RDS (also not including the power outage, presumably). An average of 5.5 million watched the Grey Cup on TSN last November. That was the most watched Grey Cup ever on English-language TV. The Super Bowl was well off CTV’s ratings for last year (7.3 million), but still more or less on par with 2011 (6.54 million). And, of course, perspective is important. Other than the Super Bowl, the Oscars was the only broadcast to hit 6.5 million in 2012.

In the post-Super Bowl battle, Motive averaged 1.229 million on CTV and Elementary averaged 548, 000 on Global. The delay likely affected both. That’s about a million lower than Elementary usually gets on Thursdays. I know Global missed the simulcast on Shaw Direct. Did this happen on other providers too, maybe?

Power Outage… The Superdome going dark was perhaps one of the strangest things ever to happen in a Super Bowl. And if the halftime didn’t kill all the momentum of the game, having another thirty minute delay certainly did. Of course the 49ers did bring excitement back into the game by closing the gap when the lights came back on, but the thirty minutes of unprepared mindless talk from CBS’s analysts was hard to get through. On the field Steve Tasker, usually an analyst thrown into Super Bowl sideline duty for CBS, was excellent considering the position he was in. He was the first back on air to inform viewers about what happened. He had real information while the studio painfully tried to fill time as “15 more minutes” became “15 more minutes”. I blame Craig Ferguson for the blackout.

Nantz and Simms… It’s actually pretty rare for a play-by-play to outperform an analyst, but I think it happened last night. Jim Nantz was the first to suggest that the Ravens take a safety because it could almost entirely run out the clock (I’ll proudly say I thought of it before Nantz said it). Simms disagreed. Apparently the 49ers were as shocked as Phil because the Ravens ran 8 seconds off the clock by running around in the endzone. The 49ers didn’t have enough time to run another offensive play after the safety.

But I think I need to rewind, because that wasn’t Simms only error. All he could offer up after the Ravens fake field goal was, “I’m not going to second guess the call.” What a second? Isn’t that his job? The Ravens had am opportunity  to go up three touchdowns and turned it down to let the kicker try to pick up nine yards; isn’t that a call that Simms should second guess? If the Ravens had lost by less than 3 points John Harbaugh probably would have second guessed it.

Later he offered up this gem, “Even if Kaepernick couldn’t run the football, he’d still be a top-five quarterback.” Now one could argue Kaepernick isn’t even a top-five quarterback when including his running ability (has Simms ever heard of Brady, the brothers Manning, Rodgers, Brees and y’know, that QB on the other sideline). I think its fair to say that based on his throwing ability alone, he probably isn’t even a top-ten QB in the NFL. Bill Cowher probably agrees. During the power outage he suggested putting Alex Smith in, which maybe was the only thing more confusing than Simms’ analysis.

But back to the final minutes. Maybe Simms was so terrible on the safety play because he was still reeling from the 49ers final offensive play minutes earlier. So was it holding or was it not, that was the question. And a really good one it was for Simms. At first he said it wasn’t, which is quite fine (I didn’t think it was either). But after seeing a few replays, he began to change his mind and offered, “The more angles I see, the more confused I get.” If anything the it is Simms job to clarify the viewers’ confusion? Simms should have offered a definitive opinion one way or the other. Or CBS should have had a rules expert to weigh in, as ESPN and FOX do.

My personal favourite Simms quote though, “I’ve heard it a thousand times this week, when the Ravens get inside the 20, they are going to try and score.” Well apparently it wasn’t true on the fake field goal (unless they preferred touchdowns). Three things I don’t particularly like. A commentator grossly overstating something for no reason. There’s no way he heard it a thousand times. And stating the obvious. And “try and score”. Unless they’re playing rugby and football, or something, that makes no sense. Maybe they were going to try to score.

I don’t mean to be overly harsh on Simms because he usually isn’t a terrible analyst. However, when I notice how bad someone was during the Super Bowl, when I’m so preoccupied with the game, the ads and the food, it means they were bad. I rarely bother writing about the broadcast because I rarely notice these things during the Super Bowl. I did this year. Partially because of the blackout and partly because of horrible Simms was.

21 thoughts on “CTV Cuts Out on Super Bowl Presentation

  1. I watched the postgame on CBS, which was obviously simsubbing CTV. I was annoyed by the way CTV cut out in the middle of the ceremony, with no warning. They did put an on-screen graphic at the start of Motive, directing people who wanted to watch the post-game to switch to CBS, but it took at least a minute before the signal returned to CBS. That was frustrating.

    CTV may think that they can get better numbers starting their new program ASAP after the game, and that’s their call. If they want to bail on the game during the first commercial break after the clock hits 0:00, that’s fine, but ensure that the switch happens during a commercial break so cable systems can act accordingly.

    And for those who don’t understand what’s the big deal about missing the trophy presentation, yes the game is over, but it’s that first moment of pure joy and celebration after a huge victory that sports fans love to watch. Imagine CTV, when they air the Oscars, cutting out five seconds into the acceptance speech for the Best Picture winner, the last and biggest prize of the night. It would be “no big deal”, since all of the winners would be known, but it would still be frustrating because a big part of watching is not just knowing who won, but seeing how they react to their victory.

    • Totally agree. Thank god for Shaw Direct. The Super Bowl makes that companies decisions throughout the year seem a little more tolerable. If and when they add the Vancouver HD channels I don’t know what I will do, but for now I just watch the real broadcast. See you next year FOX, as long as Shaw DIrect doesn’t add CTV Vancouver HD by then.

  2. I don’t think the fake FG was a terrible idea. First of all, the score was 14-3, so a FG would have given them a 2 TD lead. If you fail, then you count on the defense to get the ball back. So they started the next drive 56 yards from the endzone and scored a TD. Obviously, no way of knowing how things would have gone if they kicked the FG.

  3. The postgame was a joke. CTV cut away at 11 so they could run Motive for an hour then cleanly get to the news at 12. It was a scheduling thing, nothing but a shameless ploy to squeeze Motive in without messing up their timeslots. And why they didn’t bump it to TSN or even online is beyond me!

    Their online coverage was a joke, too. CBS had multiple cameras, some exclusive to their online feed (like a All-22 angle!), and CTV just offered their regular broadcast, no extras save a heavily-moderated chat where only the most benign stuff was allowed through (‘Who’s looking forward to an all-new episide of Anger Management?”) Compared to what TSN does for the Masters, it was disappointing.

    And Phil Simms was awful. One more example: on the final Niners play, when Harbaugh was looking for a pass interference penalty, Simms showed he has zero idea of what an offensive PI penalty is. Gee, isn’t the analyst supposed to analyze the game he’s broadcasting? Shouldn’t he know the rules? He mailed this in; maybe he had a few too many hurricanes down on Bourbon Street. It was a joke, the worst Super Bowl broadcast I’ve seen in years.

  4. I have never been big on Phil Simms as an analyst. However, when you look at it this way, who else does CBS have? I can’t see any of the other analysts that could fill in for him. He’s the best of a mediocre bunch I guess. I’m just glad Greg Gumbel wasn’t calling the game.

    • I am of the opinion that Phil Simms should be replaced by Dan Fouts on the lead crew of CBS NFL broadcasts. Simms always seems to state the obvious and he is extremely annoying. The sooner that Simms is demoted, the better.

  5. TSN and CFL Grey Cup game ratings Rise and CTV and NFL super Bowl ratings falling.

  6. I enjoyed the American OTA coverage all night, saw all the commercials as well as the entire post-game show so can’t complain about the cutting out for ‘Motive’, not sure why more Canadians don’t have this very simple set up of OTA viewing. It offers a great backup is something happens to your Satellite signal or Cable Box as well as for Sports you can completely cut out any of the sim-sub crap as long as what your watching is on either CBS< ABC< NBC< FOX or CBC (which most big time stuff is on). As far as the broadcast goes I am in the majority here, Simms was horrible and Nantz just isn't my cup of tea. As well the pre-game coverage (just from 4:30 not all day) was awe full, the only guy worth listening to on CBS stable of blowhards is and was Boomer Esiason. Shanhon Sharpe is the American version of P.J.Stock with me as far as not being able to articulate a complete sentence and making no sense, only difference is at least he was a HOF player, still shouldn't be on Network TV, especially for a game of that magnitude.

    • Unfortunately, in most of Canada CBS is unavailable Over the Air. Even if you have an antenna your still stuck with CTV’s broadcast unless your in Southern Ontario or the Montreal area.

      • I didn’t realize that CBS was unavailable for most of Canada, guess I am fortunate for my location as I get all major American Networks as well as Canadian, about 40 channels in all with about 35 of those being HD, If anyone is interested in getting this setup and are wondering what would be available in their specific area (right to the doorstep) go to tvfool.com, great site for all OTA.

    • Because not everyone lives close enough to the border. Its certainly not an option in most of the maritimes where CBC, CTV, Global and Radio-Canada are the only OTA channels available. TVFool is a great site though. I’m just out of range of getting CBS and PBS from Maine. Not even close for the rest of the US channels.

      I agree on Boomer. I think Shannon was awful, but I’m ok with the rest of the CBS studio. I still prefer it to FOX.

      • And even someone lives close to the border that does not always mean there will be a US network nearby. This is especially true for Western Canada and Atlantic Canada where there aren’t that many American Cities large enough to warrant a CBS/NBC/ABC affiliate.

  7. I have to disagree with the way Tasker and CBS in general handled the blackout. He and Sollie Wilcots were definitely making guesses and not actually reporting. A lot of people praise CBS for not regularly having sideline reporters, but they could have definitely come in handy during the Super Bowl. And apparently at the exact moment that the lights went off, 60 Minutes Sports was filming a special in the the NFL control room. While it might have been logistically hard to get correspondent Armen Keteyian on camera, he could’ve had called James Brown or a producer on the main telecast to get an actual statement from the league. And yeah Simms was awful. CBS does a great job with the March Madness, golf, and SEC football, that it baffles me as to why their NFL coverage always comes off as second-rate.

    Either way the blackout was a blessing in disguise. It made the game all the more dramatic and it really helped the Niners come alive. Plus, it gave me a chance to shuck a few more oysters (in honour of the game being in the Big Easy) and iron some clothes for the work week ahead.

    And I’m really glad that I chose to watch the game with a feed from the CBS New York affiliate. Even in SD, I’m sure it was more enjoyable than watching it on CTV. Not showing the Lombardi presentation? C’MON MAN!

  8. “CBS does a great job with the March Madness, golf, and SEC football, that it baffles me as to why their NFL coverage always comes off as second-rate.”

    I am not a fan of the current theme for their NFL coverage which has been on for way too long. When they are the doubleheader network and one of the late games is finished, not always but most of the time I have found that CBS makes the decision to go straight to 60 Minutes instead of showing the end of another close game that is still in progress and going down to the wire for an exciting finish. These are my two biggest complaints about NFL coverage on CBS.

Leave a Reply to Mark M. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s