College basketball announcer, Billy Packer was ousted by CBS on Monday. In my book, CBS’s dismissal of Packer is dismal for college basketball. What’s more disappointing is that the large majority of Packer’s detractors were Tar Heel fans.
Like him or hate him, the guy called a great game, and he isn’t an apologist. He not only has forgot more than people know about the game, but also he is the last commentator in sports to critically analyze coaches and players. The announcing world saw examples of fan-generated dismissals in Tim McCarver and Steve Stone baseball cases. With Packer, he may be the only college basketball analyst who calls a straight shot and generates conversation about speaking out out upon serious topics within the game.
The tragedy is that for bringing up the nuances that people are afraid to touch, each announcer has been pulled from the booth from fervent fans who felt antagonized by them picking on their home teams.
Yes, Billy Packer is bombastic, but they dumped him because he speaks his mind. Whether or right or wrong, shouldn’t you want that from an analyst when either your team isn’t playing or if you don’t care to paint your face for gameday?
There never has nor will there ever will be a basketball analyst…and that’s not just college basketball…like Al McGuire. As I’ve mentioned before here, if you’re able to listen to college basketball’s prime vintage years of NBC telecasting between 1978-81, and even after Packer left NBC…Brother Al’s commentaries are untouchable.
However, Packer provided the in-game analysis and the tempo changes in that tandem. He was not only able to rely upon his knowledge of the gam, but also letting the game call itself. Packer knows when to pause with his game calls, and he understands the ebbs and tides of the game. He doesn’t blow his thoughts with volume and emotion on every positive play.
More importantly, Packer doesn’t ‘jock-sniff’ coaches, players, and referees while making his points. He brought a national perspective on the broadcast. He is not only bashful about expressing his points, but also he is not afraid to pull a punch with his commentaries about the actors on stage…That makes him rare, rare…very rare.
The shame is that Clark Kellogg is not even close in comparison with the guy in terms of both analyzing a game and even knowing the rule book…Now, this blogga is not saying he doesn’t enjoy Clark Kellogg, but he’s not even close in terms of an enlightening experience and educating fans upon the nuances of the game.
The only guys who comes within a ten-mile proximity toward speaking out against moves upon the floor is Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery. Over the past two years, Bilas is getting to that level of confidence upon speaking out against coaching decisions in games and providing suggestions and ‘what could happen.’ However, he doesn’t have the old-school history or in-game savvy that Packer is able to bring to powerful moments and game action. The guy actually ‘balled’ in the McGuire-McKinney-Case-Bubas wars of the Big Four and the days of the Dixie Classic.
Seriously, I hope that Packer lands on more Raycom programming. And a major hope would be that he lands on the national telecasts for Fox, which I don’t see. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Len Elmore and Marques Johnson for Fox national telecasts, which provide nothing in terms of tidbits other than the action itself. In fact, this blogga would argue that the special effects of the infamous Fox ‘whoooshs’ are more entertaining these days.
With the dismissal of Billy Packer, college basketball television programming has taken a major hit on this one. Packer respects the game.