For 24 years, the broadcaster that has become the most synonymous with the NCAA Tournament on CBS is Greg Gumbel.
Of course, the coverage of the tournament has drastically changed since CBS merged with Turner Sports back in 2011 to televise all of the games. Before then, you had to rely on either CBS to be the remote control or buy the Mega March Madness package on DirecTV.
Gumbel was a guest on the most recent episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina. According to him, in the old days of covering the tournament, CBS knew they couldn’t please everyone so they tried to make decisions that would please as many people as possible.
“All of the games were available, but it was a whole greater good kind of thing,” said Gumbel. “The home markets where the teams were from would always get their games, but there were times that we deemed it necessary that Kentucky-UNC is down to the final minute and a half and let’s take you to the end of that game. There are some people who no matter what happens don’t want to be taken away from their game or their team. In that era, you weren’t going to please everybody, but you were trying to please most.”
“Sean McManus, we joke about it a lot,” he continued. “Before the merge with Turner, CBS was doing all of the games and it became necessary to throw from one game to another. You are never going to please everyone like that, so I would get all the complaints on my CBS voicemail and I would forward them to Sean. He came into the studio one night and said don’t do that anymore.”
In the new era of covering March Madness, Gumbel explained that there can be some chaos, especially when it comes to giving updates with all of the games going on.
“I think keeping up with everything that’s happening at a time, especially those first two days of the tournament,” he said, “Of course, towards the end of the evening, you kind of just start getting used to who’s who on what teams and then 24 hours later, it’s entirely different names, numbers, and uniforms. It’s a matter of keeping up and it gets to be a little chaotic at times because they want you to do an update here and quickly do this update over there.
“I think everybody recognizes in our business the chaotic nature of it. The fans, all they want is the good clean feed of what they want to see. Back in the old days, what they wanted to see wasn’t always what they got.”
With CBS merging with Turner Sports, Gumbel has had the chance to work with Charles Barkley often and while he doesn’t compliment people very much, Gumbel had high praise for Barkley because of his honesty about the game.
“I try not to compliment people too much because it might go to their heads, but I told Chuck I don’t know who else in the country can do commercials without seeing their picture and you know who it is,” said Gumbel. “That said, he is one of the most magnanimous, giving people I have met in a long time. He also is very quick on the air. He can take a joke and also can throw a few shots back at you too.”
“Working with him is most interesting from the standpoint that you just don’t know what he is going to say. There are a couple of times I will turn to him and I’ll say let’s talk about that first half and he will go Greg, that was the most boring half of basketball I have seen in my life. You think, well, the bosses are going no, don’t say that. But he is honest and straightforward and knows the game of basketball.”
While March Madness could still go on without watching Gumbel lead the coverage, he has become the main voice to a generation of fans every March. That can’t be forgotten even with the CBS-Turner merger.
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.
The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.
Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.
“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”
Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.
Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.
Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.
According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.
Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.
The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.
The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.
Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast
“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’
First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.
No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.
McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.
“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.”
In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.
There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.