It is almost a shock to encounter people at the TCA press tour who will freely speak their mind these days. Thank God for Jack Whitaker, the CBS Sports broadcast legend who was the analyst for 15 Super Bowls, including the very first game in 1967.
The 91-year-old joined Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and James Brown on stage at Tuesday morning’s TCA winter press tour session promoting CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl 50.
CBS, which has the game Feb. 7 (CTV will carry it in Canada), went down the list of how things have changed since that first Super Bowl broadcast in 1967. Instead of 11 cameras covering that first game at the old Los Angeles Colosseum, CBS will use 70 in San Francisco. Instead of a single, 30-minute pre-game show, CBS will offer seven hours of football-related programming leading up to the game. Instead of Lassie airing immediately after the Super Bowl, CBS will showcase The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late, Late Show with James Corden.
Asked after the session if he thought too much is made of today’s Super Bowl broadcasts, Whitaker banged off the quote of the press tour:
“I think you could make an argument that the biggest day of the sports calendar, the Super Bowl, is a game between two exhausted teams playing second fiddle to a half time show and TV commercials.”
Boom. Drop mike. Game over.