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Dan Bernstein: Cris Collinsworth Tried Too Hard to Avoid Showing Bengals Bias

“I think in his head or in his subconscious, he’s absolutely guarding against being accused of bias for the Bengals,” said Richard Deits

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Did Cris Collinsworth try too hard to stay neutral on the key holding call against Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson with 1:47 remaining in Super Bowl LVI?

Collinsworth, whose entire eight-year NFL career was played with the Bengals, may have been concerned with appearing too biased on a call that virtually everyone watching thought was incorrect based on replay evidence. Wilson had his hands on Cooper Kupp, yet didn’t push, pull, or grab him in any way that would prevent the Los Angeles Rams receiver from making the catch.

Instead of a fourth down with the game’s outcome at stake, the penalty gave the Rams a first down and the opportunity to score the eventual winning touchdown. But despite what appeared to be a terrible call that would cost the Bengals a loss, Collinsworth refused to criticize the officials or say what was obvious to everyone.

Asked by Al Michaels if he saw a penalty on the replay, Collinsworth said, “That’s what they called.”

For viewers accustomed to color analysts providing some analysis and commentary, it was a surprising concession from Collinsworth. Even if his tone may have conveyed what he really thought, Collinsworth didn’t give the audience his actual view on the play.

On 670 The Score’s Bernstein & Rahimi show Tuesday morning, Dan Bernstein asked The Athletic’s sports media critic Richard Deitsch if Collinsworth was “overcompensating” to make sure no “Bengal-ness could be pinned on him” and appear biased for his former team.

“I agree with you 100 percent,” Deitsch responded. “I think in his head or in his subconscious, he’s absolutely guarding against being accused of bias for the Bengals. And that’s why I think he sort of was very abrupt in what he had to say.”

“I do think broadcasters at that level, doing national games… really go above and beyond to try to show neutrality.”

As both Bernstein and Deitsch pointed out, Collinsworth was in a tough spot there. He surely has affection toward the Bengals organization, but didn’t want to show it in his analysis. Would Bengals fans be more satisfied if Collinsworth said the holding call was awful, maybe one of the worst he’s ever seen, if he wanted to add some color? Maybe, but it surely would have been no consolation for losing the Super Bowl.

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3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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