Blog Entry

Packer critical of CBS/Turner's tourney plans

Posted on: February 16, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 12:27 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander

Even though he's far, far away from calling games, Billy Packer remains a master at getting his name in the news.

And he's as curmudgeony as ever. I know. It's about as shocking as learning that Packer enjoys himself some "cops and robber shows." (Scroll down for that anecdote.)

The former CBS broadcaster, who's still clearly polarizing, however intentional or unintentional it may be, spoke with Michael Hiestand of USA Today, telling the media critic he doesn't much approve of the way CBS and Turner are handling the coverage of the NCAA tournament going forward.

Among his objections: having NBA guys parachute in to call the games, hearkening back to the times he was asked to do NBA work and turning it down because he felt he wasn't versed enough in pro ball to earn mic privileges. He also now prefers the way ESPN promotes the college game over CBS.

Cannonball shots fired here:
ESPN would be better, he says, partly because it has announcers doing college games all season. He likens using NBA announcers to when he used to turn down requests to work NBA action by saying, " 'I'm not qualified, it's a different sport.' " This, he says, is like CBS' Verne Lundquist calling SEC football all year "and then having somebody who just did the pros come in to call the SEC title game." And, he says, ESPN would have better NCAA promotion: "I don't believe I was in a promo for CBS college basketball in 25 years."
The point about NBA talent is a fair one, and it's something we'll all be watching for next month. The thing Packer is forgetting: How many times did this clip and call get plugged into a March Madness promo? He's not exactly on point in that criticism, and it's clear he's comfortable talking about how snubbed he felt by the network since he's a few years removed from his duties at CBS Sports.

To this day, Packer does not filter himself; that is the Packer Brand. This shot at his former employer of more than 30 years is a bit surprising, though, yes? But ... maybe not. Maybe Packer's still sour about leaving, whether he can admit that publicly or not. This may be what he feels is the best way to cope/get revenge/deal with being told no at such a late stage in his professional life. No, no, I don't want to be involved with that sport anymore, anyway. College basketball didn't fire me; I quit.

Packer claims the sport has "regressed" incredibly in the past decade, so he's perfectly fine with not calling games. (We all know the feeling is more than mutual for many on the other side, too.)

Packer's also a big fan of cop shows, as I noted above. That's my favorite nugget about Hiestand's story. Police-oriented programming is often available on truTV, one of the four networks that will broadcast tournament games next month. Another one of Packer's problems — he worries about the folks who will be turned off by this new-fangled, degraded form of college basketball that's going to take over one of his favorite stations. Harumph.

Packer says he likes watching truTV, one of the Turner channels carrying NCAA games. "And people who watch it aren't going to be happy they're missing their cops and robbers shows. If truTV viewers liked basketball, they'd already be watching ESPN."

But with CBS' old regionalized coverage now gone, isn't it good for viewers who want to see a specific NCAA game to not have to worry about missing it because they're in the wrong local TV market? "What percentage of the total audience does that represent," says Packer. "Has all this been changed for the .01% of viewers who really want a specific game?"

The number, in my opinion, is much higher than that.

Packer's a master at this stuff, people. First it was the broadcast chair, now it's the recliner. No matter how much so many want him to, he still won't go away, even when it comes to talking about a sport he clearly no longer embraces.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2011 5:42 am

Packer critical of CBS/Turner's tourney plans

drps:....Really??? the death of the ACC...last I checked the last 2 champs were from the ACC and 5 of the last 10...oh and at least 1 team in 8 of the last 10 final fours...HUH...BUT I guess it is dead...

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2011 9:44 pm

Bill, Billy, Billy............

Who the hell cares what that old ACC douchebag things, cares, or says.....he is a tool of the highest order. Hated him as a CBS announcer, was thrilled to see him retire. The fact that his remarks carry enough weight to make national news is shocking to me. Someone should just wheel him over a cliff and be done with it......

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2011 5:28 pm

Packer critical of CBS/Turner's tourney plans

Packer is just another ACC shill who is depressed with the death of the ACC.

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2011 3:58 pm

Packer critical of CBS/Turner's tourney plans

I see this as a ad campaign to increase the popularity of the NBA; but the truth is, I don't want to watch the NBA, and I do not want to listen to the NBA players call the game.  We already have enough color-commentary people in college who annoy me, and those are mostly the former players who cannot speak English fluently.  Yes, I mean American born athletes...  People make a choice between the college game and the NBA, and the college style is easily the most popular.  Please don't force-feed me with the NBA --I don't want it.  Instead, the NBA needs to study this, and figure-out what makes the college game more popular, and change that way.  Don't make the college game change for the NBA. 

Since: Nov 3, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2011 3:20 pm

Packer critical of CBS/Turner's tourney plans

While I got bored and read only about half of this post, I wonder why CBS lets armchair hacks post these negative attacks.  To do so is by default an endorsement by CBS of the hacks views.

Now, Matt, what has this "clip" got to do with Packers statement is your post?  "Packer" says "Packer" doesn't believe he, "Packer", ever did a promo in twenty-five years, not that CBS never did a promo.  Packer's not in this promo so there's nothing wrong with his statement.  What idiot would say CBS never promoted the tourney.  Packer's only saying ESPN would promote it better which is his opinion and he has a right to his opinion, doesn't he.  Unless, of course, it conflicts with that of CBS, right?   

You're just a tool for CBS to promote their position, (isn't this a way of striking back at Packer?) while claiming the views are yours and not theirs.    

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or