It's Time CBS, Get Someone Other Than Billy Packer

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Look, I understand that he has called more Championship games than virtually any other announcer, but if you can't see that he takes away from every broadcast CBS, I don't know what to tell you. Everyone who reads the site on a regular basis knows which commentators rub me the wrong way. Take Emmitt Smith for example. For all of the idiotic things that he says you can't say that he doesn't love the game of Football. I can't say the same about Billy Packer. He questions teenage players and coaches during games, he makes up story lines and he pats himself on the back when he's right.

He's like no one that's ever covered a Sport before. He's like Bob Knight without the insight. You don't have to be Gus Johnson to impress the viewing public if you don't want to. You can be Ron Franklin, Keith Jackson, or even Mike Tirico. You hear him say all the time that he's "not there to impress anyone", well f**k that....yes you are. You're supposed to know more than me, you're supposed to provide me with things I wouldn't normally notice. Sure Packer does this on occasion (the Kansas Box and 1 from last night), but when you do so you don't need to gloat and tell us how right you were.

Let's go to last night's game. Packer started calling for Kansas to start jacking up threes with three minutes left in the game. Three minutes and down eight! When a Kansas player (Arthur I think) hit a nice jumper inside the 3-point line with 1:30 left with his team down six he called it, "the worst shot you can take in Basketball at this time". Are you kidding me? Kansas was playing against arguably the worst free throw shooting team in the Tournament. How did that work out for them?

I honestly don't want anyone to lose their job and I never get joy out of such things. When Joey Sunshine got axed from Monday Night Football I actually felt really bad for him. There's a difference between someone who actually cares about their job but isn't good on television and someone who doesn't respect the fact that they have the best job in the world. It's beyond ridiculous now and I think that CBS only sticks with him because of the press gained from the hate surrounding him come Tournament time.

That's not a good reason to keep him if you ask me. I also know that he doesn't care what I have to say, but just realize that I'm not alone. Here are the commenters thoughts.....

"I don't know how CBS continues to employ Packer. He is way too critical of these young athletes most of the time. All he does is criticize and point out the mistakes of the players and coaches. I'm all in favor of being critical at appropriate times, but kids 18-22 do not deserve to that blowhard whining at their every move."- Jerome

"I can handle Packer's criticisms (which are often valid) if he didn't consistently beat them into the ground. In the UCLA-Memphis game, Rose was flying by Collison in the first half and Packer correctly pointed out how Rose was too strong for Collison. Perfectly fair. But in the second half, UCLA made adjustments and Rose made very few shots (he shot under 50% for the game). Yet Billy continues to cite how nobody can stay with Rose even as he's missing shot after shot. Last night, as Packer said for the 100th time how Rose was making it too easy for Kansas to guard him, did it occur to him that since he had been sick all day Sunday, maybe Rose was conserving his energy for the second half? And how can you not put together the fact that Rose went off when Kansas went to the box and one on CDR?"- Anon

"Packer was just plain bad. His calling the UNC v. KU game over with 7:32 to go in the first half was insanity. Last night he was insisting on 3's from KU with two minutes to go - when it clearly wasn't necessary. Then, when Memphis was down late in OT he was criticising them for trying 3's. What?"- Mal

"Packer wanted Kansas to start jacking up threes with three minutes left to play. This was after he griped most of the second half that they weren't pounding it inside. I'm glad he's not coaching my team. Worse yet, he took credit for telling them to shoot those threes as the overtime began. If I recall correctly, Kansas took and made two in that stretch--the one in the corner of the steal and the one by Chalmers to tie. And does he not know that the clock was not running when Rose was letting the ball roll toward half court? At least twice he told us that Rose was wasting too much time by not advancing the ball. The clock wasn't running you bitter, bitter man!"- Anon

"My biggest issue with Billy is that at times it seems like he's auditioning to be a head coach. For instance, in the second half Billy made it clear numerous times that he thought Memphis should stop setting screens for Rose. Mentioning it 2 or 3 times is enough, but Nantz and Packer kept bringing it up every time Memphis set a screen for Rose. Yeah, we get it Billy, you disagree with the philosophy there. This happens a lot during his games and it's terribly annoying. Do I want his insight? absolutely. Is he right sometimes? Absolutely. But the focus of the telecast should not be on Billy Packer's strategies, and all too often it is."- Bryan

"I truly appreciate Packer pointing out it was 2 possession game when down 5 points. That's the kind of insight I'm looking for from an analyst."- Anon

"Packer is so self-absorbed he is ridiculous. Packer makes some good commentary - but his "I wouldn't do that" stuff is toooo much."- Mark

"The whole game it was here is how I would do things better than you. If Packer was such a good coach, he wouldn't be sitting in the press row."- Anon

"My biggest gripe is Packer and Nantz are always reminiscing about some game in the past. That's fine in a blowout. But with four minutes left in a close national title game, maybe you should focus on the action in front of you -- instead of talking about 1973."- Anon

"Packer is all reaction. Someone does something and Packer tells us if it was good or bad, right or wrong. It's insulting, not just because of his tone but because we can see what just happens. But the best color men are the ones who can entertain while predicting and analyzing how the action is going to develop."- Doc

To be fair some liked him last night and I did for the better part of the first half, but something switches in his brain at the end of close games and he becomes a joke of an analyst. Someone who says, "Kansas has been in overtime games before. The 1957 championship against UNC," as a reason for how Kansas will be prepared for an extra period is just downright bad.

I really don't want either of them calling the final game after the best month in Sports, but if you really want Nantz you can keep him. Please just relegate Packer to a first weekend team with Tim Brando so I can enjoy the end of the Tournament again.


"Rock, Chalk, Championship!" (Awful Announcing)


I am really glad you posted about Packer. His "performance" at the end of last night's game was deplorable.

He knows everything about everyone, regardless of the facts or what is transpiring.

His analyst job is like listening to a 2 hour lecture and it gives me flashbacks to sitting in some college lecture or corporate meeting, force fed some BS from a pompous ahole who talks down to everyone because they are so much smarter or have a bigger title.

I thought about live blogging just what Packer said in this game but realized what punishment that exercise truly would be and I could never do that to myself.

Mac G said...
Apr 8, 2008, 11:44:00 AM  


Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 11:50:00 AM  

The most annoying thing about Packer is he tries to do the pbp over Nantz, he interrupted Nantz twice after the Rose FT.

He tries to be bigger than the game and that's what it so irritating about him.

ssreporters said...
Apr 8, 2008, 11:53:00 AM  

Yeah I start law school in the fall and I felt like I've already been through two classes after last night. Kill me already. If you're not trying to impress anyone Billy then retire and let somebody who actually cares and has something insightful to say step up and live their personal dream of calling one of the biggest games of the year.

Cam Jones said...
Apr 8, 2008, 11:53:00 AM  

Long time reader, first time commenter... Overall the networks must think we are idiots since these "experts" routinely insult our intelligence. Packer is the worst of the worst. If he wants to coach, he should sack up and coach a girls' middle school basketball team. That's about the depth of his knowledge and credibility.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 11:53:00 AM  

Jeez. Packer was brutal. When he said that that's the worst shot you can take when down by 8, I about jumped out of my chair and muted the TV. What a clown. How can CBS love this guy for his lack of insight in critical moments of games?

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 11:54:00 AM  

Thanks for all of the comments yesterday that I could add to the post and keep them coming.

You can disagree if you want to as's an open forum.

Apr 8, 2008, 12:00:00 PM  

I think Packer's point on the "worst shot you can take" was that if you're going to take an outside shot instead of a higher percentage inside shot, don't take it from 19 feet, step out a foot to the three-point line and take it from there to get the extra point. Overstated, but a sensible point.

Criticize Packer if you must, but at least he's willing to question strategy and decisions and analyze what's actually going on in the game, instead of sticking to predetermined storylines like many announcers do and constantly venerating every coach and player.

"Rock, Chalk, Championship?" Now, that was annoying.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:08:00 PM  

This quote from last night is Packer in a nutshell: "I don't care for this strategy, Jim."

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:19:00 PM  

"And does he not know that the clock was not running when Rose was letting the ball roll toward half court? At least twice he told us that Rose was wasting too much time by not advancing the ball. The clock wasn't running you bitter, bitter man!"- Anon

While I hate Packer in general, I must defend him here. What he was referring to was the fact that the five-second count on an inbounds pass doesn't stop until someone touches the ball. To say he was waasting time was wrong, but to say he was cutting it close was true.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:21:00 PM  

I thought Packer's worst moment was when Kansas hit the 3 to tie at the end of regulation. Nantz was finally showing some emotion appropriate to the enormity of the play, but Packer had to step all over it by continuing to blather on about Memphis' missed free throws. It wasn't until after a commericial break (during which I'm sure someone told Packer to shut up for a minute) that Nantz finally had a chance to talk about the player who hit the three and give the play its due.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:28:00 PM  

The game was drastically improved for me when I realized that a Westwood One no-name was calling the game with Bill Raftery and John Thompson Jr. on color. Much, much better than Nantz and Packer.

Signal to Noise said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:33:00 PM  

The NCAA's own rule book doesn't seem to know which rule it wants to use for the five second inbound call. Immediately after the provision stating that the throw-in ends when an inbounds player touches the ball, we get this:

"A thrower-in shall have five seconds from receiving disposal of the ball to release the throw-in. The throw-in count shall end when the ball is released by the
thrower-in so that the ball goes directly into the playing court."

This seems to indicate that (1) the rules are contradictory; or (2) Packer was even more wrong if he insisted that the five seconds ended when an inbounds player touched the ball.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:39:00 PM  

Wow, you guys are way off about Packer. It's not that he hates the game, he just knows too much. When Arthur hit that 2-pointer with his foot on the 3point line, it WAS the worst shot Kansas could have taken. He didn't say it was the worst they could have made.

Whether you like him or not, he's usually right. He correctly called out Rose for not taking control of the game before he did. He knew Dorsey was going to pick up cheap fouls because he was tired. And he rightly praised Self for changing defenses (putting Rush out top) to slow Rose AND he was spot on in calling for Self to start the hack-a-Tiger defense with 2:30 left.

So, Packer was great. Just because he's old and doesn't scream like an animal like Gus Johnson doesn't mean he isn't good. You guys are totally nitpicking and it's pretty unfair, considering Packer had a great night.

Sean O said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:44:00 PM  

The best thing about Packer is that he never talks about the NBA during a college game. Vitale and all the rest want to talk about how a guy will do in the NBA.

Packer only cares about the college game, what some guy will do in the NBA has nothing to do with the college game going on.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:46:00 PM  

I was calling them the Captains Obvious through most of the 2nd half and then in OT. And THANK YOU for that acknowledgement of Packer's totally RANDOM comment about KU knowing what to do in OT in a Championship know, since they'd been through it 50 years ago and all. Dumbass...

Seems time for someone to retire, IMO.

Faith said...
Apr 8, 2008, 12:50:00 PM  

Maybe I live in a cave. But what does Rock, Chalk, Championship mean anyway?

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 1:03:00 PM  

"Jim, they need to do this and this, thats wrong, they should do this and that because it is better, why are they doing that when they should do this" blah, blah, blah.

Arthur took the worst shot possible even though the Jayhawks were down 9 with 2 minutes left and needed points? He made the nice jumper which Billy ignores.

KU could have drove to the basket and got their shot blocked or clanked a contested 3 then Billy would have been happy with the shot attempt?

I think the point Billy was harping on Memphis' missed Free throws more so than reveling in the moment of one of the biggest shots in the NCAA final validates every criticism of him.

Nantz should stick to golf too.

Mac G said...
Apr 8, 2008, 1:10:00 PM  

About that Box and 1 ... Kansas had run it the past 2 Memphis possessions before Packer caught on. He was trying to tell if they were playing a zone or man. Took him 3 trips to get it right. Nice job, expert.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 1:12:00 PM  

"Maybe I live in a cave. But what does Rock, Chalk, Championship mean anyway?"

Jayhawk fans say Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk.

Packer kept pointing out through the first half that Rose wasn't doing enough, giving up the ball too quickly. Memphis pulled ahead in the 2nd half when Rose took over.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 1:17:00 PM  

I think you give him too much credit for the Box and 1 scenario. There were at least 4 Memphis possessions where he was openly confused as to the defense that KU was in. It wasn't that hard to spot the box plus Rush following CDR around. He finally announced it as a Box and 1 after a commercial break (as though someone in the truck informed him).

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 2:19:00 PM  

Honestly, I have to say that I think that was Packer's best game. How so? Because when you compare any game with his last game, KU-UNC, it looks like a great peice of announcing.

Things I thought Packer did well:
- Sure he called out defenses, like the box in 1 to many times buy did anyone notice that he brought up how a three-two-triangle defense done by USC worked great against Memphis.
- Describing how the screens hurt Rose's game

Things that were bad or god Awful:
- (Said earlier) An overtime game in the 1950s does not prepare the 08 Kansas Jayhawks for overtime
- (Said earlier) Did anyone forget that Rose had a stomach problems and didn't go to shoot around so he may need to get warm.
- (Not said earlier) If Packer is such a good analyst, then why did he FAIL TO MENTION ANYTHING ABOUT FOULING WITH A THREE POINT LEAD, before or after the play.

- Finally, here is my problem with the free throw shooting conversation. Packer and Nantz hounded Memphis about their free throw shooting in the clutch, relating their poor free throw shots to their poor free throw shooting during the season. However, those are two different metrics for judgement and Memphis already showed that they could shoot free throws during the tourney all the way up to the two minute mark of that game. In the clutch, with the CHAMPIONSHIP on the line is a whole different animal, and saying that the Tigers couldn't shoot a free throw when it mattered doesn't explain the whole story. What other comparisson do you have to prove that another shooter or another team wouldn't have missed those shots. Derrick Coleman maybe? Name another championship game that was won at the free throw line with 10 seconds to play in the past 10 years or 20 years.

.....oh and there was that whole St.Joe's argument that he had a couple years ago which was a mere recreation of his whole "Larry Bird's Indiana State shouldn't be seeded as high as they are" argument.

5PercentBodyFat said...
Apr 8, 2008, 2:48:00 PM  

I have to disagree about Packer...I'm not too thrilled with his elitism that he projects at times, but, unlike other broadcasters in both college basketball and other sports- he focuses on the game- and not himself...

Of what I saw, I thought he was right on the money lots of times...

OH- and by the way, lets say CBS gets rid of him...who are you going to replace him with?

Dick Vitale? An embarrassment to the profession...If I want to hear yelling and screaming, I can talk to my wife...
Len Elmore? I want to take a nap after listening to him...
Bill Raftery? Maybe- but a bit long in the tooth...
Jay Bilas?
Digger Phelps?
Clark Kellogg?


Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 2:50:00 PM  


5PercentBodyFat said...
Apr 8, 2008, 2:53:00 PM  

Packer is the best and always has been. When he no longer fits into CBS's plans, it will be because he is tired of doing it. I have followed him since he worked for CD Chesley with Jim Thacker. There are none better. Whether someone feels it is unnecessary ro say it is a 2 possession game, just remember, you aren't the only one he is talking to. The viewership is wide and the insights, although obvious, may not be meant for you, but for a novice fan who is learning the game. That is why they call it a BROADcast. Lay off Packer. People who criticize him probably would fill their pants if they had to go live before a national audience. Your green is showing.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 2:57:00 PM  

"While I hate Packer in general, I must defend him here. What he was referring to was the fact that the five-second count on an inbounds pass doesn't stop until someone touches the ball. To say he was waasting time was wrong, but to say he was cutting it close was true."

Wrong. That is the rule from a few years ago. The rule book now clearly states that the 5 sec. count ends when the ball breaks the out of bounds plane.

Packer is an idiot and was clearly misinformed on the rule. To compound his mistake he hounded on Rose like Rose was the idiot. This illustrates Packer at his worst. God I hate Packer.

Steve said...
Apr 8, 2008, 3:05:00 PM  

So you're equating longevity with excellence.....that sounds like a Theisman argument to me.

Touching on the Larry Bird comment earlier, Packer does not like your team if its not a traditional power or should I say a team that he generally doesn't tune into watch during the game. Time and time I've seen this where he would openly criticizng before game, during game, and after the game. Adding to the belief that your team shouldn't have been their in the first place whether win nor loss. He did this to George Mason a couple years back as well. Besides the crowing a champion isn't the point of the tourney to show how the smaller schools can compete and even beat the larger more traditional schools. The tourney is relies on the upset. Packer can be said best to be upset at upsets.

Also if an announcer calls the game at the 7:30 mark in the first half, literally telling viewers to turn the channel, costing your advertisers millions of dollars that they paid for, wouldn't you fire him. Well not giving a smaller team respect he's literally telling you this game in the tourney isn't worth watching, please change the channel.

5PercentBodyFat said...
Apr 8, 2008, 3:09:00 PM  

A final thing about Packer that annoys me is that in the first minute of a game, he has picked which side he will announce. Last night it was Memphis. Not everything was UM fault. Maybe KU was causing some of the problems. A great scheme doesn't work agaist every D, you dillweed.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 3:16:00 PM  

" "And does he not know that the clock was not running when Rose was letting the ball roll toward half court? At least twice he told us that Rose was wasting too much time by not advancing the ball. The clock wasn't running you bitter, bitter man!"- Anon

While I hate Packer in general, I must defend him here. What he was referring to was the fact that the five-second count on an inbounds pass doesn't stop until someone touches the ball. To say he was waasting time was wrong, but to say he was cutting it close was true."
Someone said this...Wrong about the clock and the ball. The five second count stops as soon as the ball leaves the inbounders hands.

Blackhawk said...
Apr 8, 2008, 3:20:00 PM  

I'm not sure if anyone has said this, and I agree that Packer isnt that good, but you are wrong about the comment he made about Darrell Arthur's jumper with 2 minutes or so left. I was thinking the same thing he said. He said it was the worst shot in basketball at that time because that shot is the lowest quality shot you can take, one foot inside the 3 point line. He meant that if he is going to shoot a two, he should be in the post, or closer to the basket. If you are going to shoot from where he did, you might as well take one step back and make it worth 3. Thats why it is the "worst shot you cant take" because it is a poor quality shot. That said, he hit it, and it really didnt matter.

Anonymous said...
Apr 8, 2008, 4:50:00 PM  

Could. Not. Agree. More. with the Packer hatred. The single worst sportscaster by a long, long way.

I posted a similarly-themed rant last year at this time:

A couple things that stood out.

1. The box and one call was NOT good. Kansas had been running the box and one for at least 2 possessions prior to the one where Packer realized it. He kept talking about how he didn't know if it was a zone or man to man. I was yelling "box and one" at the tv. Apparently, Billy didn't hear me.

2. Packer spent about 90 seconds talking about how Dorsey caught the ball after dunking it. How that created a huge advantage for Memphis to get back, despite the fact that (a) 3 memphis players were already back on defense, (b) Dorsey jogged sloooowly back himself, and (c) Kansas didn't push it up the court.

3. The two that you mention are spot on. He is just plain wrong about needing to shoot threes and needing to fall way too early. You'd think after watching hundreds of comebacks, he'd realize that, but he ... doesn't, I guess.

4. He also is wrong to say that the Arthur shot was "the worst shot in basketball." They were scrambling. They needed points on the board. Memphis was swarming. They took - and made - the first decent shot they could. How idiotic.

By the end of the game, my wife told me to calm down because I was yelling at everything Packer said.

Big Thunder said...
Apr 8, 2008, 7:00:00 PM  

How could I forget his biggest shortcoming from last night. Droning on and on about the free throws while neglecting to mention that (a) Memphis should have called timeout after the made free throw to set up his defense; (b) Memphis should have fouled prior to Chalmers getting the shot off; and (c) Memphis should have called timout with 2.1 seconds left to set up a play.

Failure to discuss these things is essentially sports broadcasting malpractice. For all the criticism Packer lays on irrelevant decisions and strategies, he sits silent about actual strategies that impact the outcome of the game.

I simply cannot fathom how anyone with an elementary knowledge of basketball can defend him.

Big Thunder said...
Apr 8, 2008, 7:10:00 PM  

An intersting thread to follow would be: If not Nantz and Packer, then who? It would have to be a fairly young team - so that rules out Verne and Raftery. PBP has to go to Gus Johnson. Given who CBS has in their stable, maybe Bilas. If we can keep him from proposing to Hansbrough on air, then he would do a good job.

Mal said...
Apr 8, 2008, 8:11:00 PM  

you are an idiot. Packer gives commentary, opinions, and analysis. I would expect you ra ra idiots to understand

Apr 8, 2008, 10:22:00 PM  

Packer is flat out terrible. He drips with negativity and delights in pointing out every perceived failure of these kids who are 18-21 years old and playing under incredible pressure. Not only that, he is totally out of touch. He actually made a comment last night when the game was heading to overtime that "KU has been here before (pause...insert relevant game here).....The 1952 championship team went into overtime...."

1952 Championship Team? What kind of meaningless segue was that supposed to be? I'm not sure when Packer ever had his day, but his time has clearly passed. Time to kick his ass to the curb and bring in someone who enjoys the game more than they enjoy proving how much smarter they would coach or play than the guys on the court.

Anonymous said...
Apr 9, 2008, 1:26:00 AM  

At least, to my knowledge, Packer didn't fault Self for not playing some of those more experienced players from the '52 Jayhawk team who had that valuable OT experience. mjh from Ottawa (KS)

Anonymous said...
Apr 9, 2008, 4:29:00 AM  

Being from NC, I've had to put up with this nut for years on TV. When he calls a game I want to watch I have to make a choice, mute the TV, try to find the game on the radio, not watch the game, or watch and listen to the game on TV while Packer makes him and who ever he's working for (CBS) look like fools. I know I'm not the only one that does this. Maybe Packer's son might hire him? Not!

Anonymous said...
Apr 9, 2008, 8:26:00 AM  

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