Billy Packer Done at CBS?

According to the NY Daily News our long national nightmare might close to being over.

But it’s time to officially start wondering if some CBS execs are turning on Mr. Packer, the man who invented college basketball. How any perceived ill will would affect his CBS broadcasting future remains to be seen.

The smoke has not fully cleared from the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Some Black Rock residents are still ticked over Packer cavalierly declaring Kansas a winner over North Carolina with 7:32 left in the first half (and the Jayhawks ahead 38-12) of their Final Four matchup on April 5.

CBS is paying $6 billion for the right to air the tourney over the life of its contract with the NCAA. From a business perspective, telling viewers to turn off the TV is not a great idea, especially in a soft advertising market.

Naming a “winner” with plenty of time left in a game does not sit well with corporations paying top dollar to advertise their products during the tournament. Some of these same companies will be asked to purchase time on next year’s tourney.

Not only did Packer prematurely turn the lights off – the Tar Heels eventually cut the gap to four points before losing 84-66 – but a few days later in USA Today, he poured salt on the wound.

Packer portrayed himself as an ethical realist just dealing with what he was seeing on the court.

“The integrity of the sport is more important than any promotion for television,” Packer told USA Today.

Packer is right. Still, the majority of sports broadcasters, who value their own credibility, usually wait until late – very late – in a game to declare a winner.

You could tell by Jim Nantz’s reaction at the time it was a shocking thing to say.  For myself I was too busy gathering up my jaw from the floor at the sight of my 36-2 Tar Heels down 40-12 in the first half.  And in all honesty he ended up being right though he did say when UNC cut it to four he had never seen anything like it before.  The point for CBS is you cannot have you on-air guys proclaiming the game is over with seven minutes left in the first half unless UNC is playing, I don’t know, NC State.

Hat tip Awful Announcing and commenter GoCamels.


21 Responses to Billy Packer Done at CBS?

  1. C. Michael says:

    Jay Bilas! Jay Bilas!!

  2. Santiago says:

    Packer is the yin, Vitale is the yang. They both need to go at the same time or the Universe will be out of balance.

  3. Josh Bowling says:

    Ying, Yang. Reminds me of a 1957 Coaster’s hit record. Right on, maybe Vitale will call it quits. Then Bilas can leave, then we could bring back Brad Daugherty and we will have Hubert Davis and Brad Daugherty calling games.

  4. robuck says:

    here’s a thought – have CBS buy out Vitale from ABC/ESPN, so that instead of him being on TV all the time, he’s only on once a week for the national game, then a lot during the NCAA tournament. Seems like a fair trade-off to me. Figure that we’d get him for far less broadcasts than we do now – at least for us out-of-market fans. And Dickie V would finally get a chance to call a Final Four, where he might actually cause his own head to explode. Thus, we could be looking at a win-win, provided that Packer is indeed on his way out of CBS.

  5. please, please, please, please…

  6. wcb22 says:

    I like when you said “long national nightmare.” I still feel that Packer ruins my 2005 Championship DVD with his awful commentary.

    Back to Hansbrough, etc.

  7. As much as I am critical of Packer during the season, when he said it was over in the first half of the Kansas game, I felt like he was right on. Of course, it may have been the only time on record that one of his comments was actually correct. I swear that half the time he makes things up as he goes along. He rattles off so many bogus stats and history about players and teams that its a wonder they still let him call games.

  8. wcb22 says:

    I hope CBS does a press conference firing Packer.

  9. Steve the State Fan says:

    Whenever I hear Packer during a game, I always picture him in Bermuda shorts, an undershirt, black socks, and sandals yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.
    He is the personification of the term “sourpuss.”

    I really do miss Brad Daugherty. Is he still doing NASCAR?

  10. Larry P says:

    I don’t hear Packer during UNC games because I have the TV volume turned down so I can listen to Woody, et al. When I have heard him, back in the Dean years, he’d always shout that Dean needed to call time out! Of course, Dean just let his guys play their way back into the particular game, saving his timeouts for the end of the game when he used them to strategize the winning shot.

    I do have Packer on my video of the ’93 championship. In the second half when Dean benched his starters because they were all winded, Billy criticized him for not having a scorer on the court. Packer’s tendency is to make accusations without knowing what’s going on courtside. I think he feels it’s his job to be Cosellian, saying things that will stir the emotions. Or, maybe he believes his observations are factual.

  11. GoCamels says:

    Daugherty is doing the NASCAR thing still for ESPN… has been less then stellar on the reviews.

    Too bad Sean McDonough burned his CBS bridges, otherwise the trio of Bilas, Raftery, and Sean could make the transition over to lead play-by-play…but mister “HELLO FRIENDS” is not giving up that headset anytime soon…do you realize that Nantz-y is halfway to 50 MASTERS?!?!?! Wow…at least another quarter-century of his >>>cough, cough<<< unscripted calls on golf and hoops…funny how his Masters call was very subdued after the attention paid 2 weeks before to “Rock, Chalk, Champs”!!!

  12. GoCamels says:

    Sorry: make that for that great NASCAR TV site.

  13. wcb22 says:

    It’s hard for me to take Brad seriously when I watch him on the nascar shows. I wish he did basketball commentary.

  14. Steve says:

    He’d have to retire from the ACC Raycom deal at the same time or else we’d still get him in the regular season. I think he’s too cheap to walk away from the paycheck.

  15. […] Heel Fan hears of rumors that Billy f*cking Packer might be fired. Also there will be peace in the Middle East. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but it just seems […]

  16. Mike says:

    Well, packer was 100% right when he said the game was over.

  17. nathan says:

    I don’t remember the details, but during one tournament game Jim Nantz was doing a promo for “survivor” or something and then Packer followed up by totally ridiculing it. I remember thinking, the suits can’t be happy with him for that. that violates one of the commandments of announcing: “thou shalt sound intrigued by dumb network sitcoms coming up after the game.”

  18. DeanForever says:

    Packer was 100% correct when he had a 110% chance of seeing that our boys were going down.

    I’ve read Art Chansky’s “Blue Blood” several times over, and he indicates that, although Packer had a great career at Wake Forest, he had always wanted to go to Duke.

    Did anyone else think that Chansky was trying too hard to be objective in that book? Here is a guy who has written more about Dean Smith than just about anyone and he writes this book and really puts some unnecessary gloss on Duke’s tradition (especially how he warms our hearts with stories of Bill Foster and Bucky Walters). I was totally bummed that he swiftly glides over the 1967-1981 era of UNC basketball just so that he can show you he did his research on the (largely forgotten) Duke program of that era. I know that he has covered ACC basketball for most of his days in NC, and that he doesn’t want to show a bias. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel that he was trying too hard to sell the rivalry by exaggerating Duke’s lean years (focusing on boring stories of their coaches and individual players) and giving you the nickle-and-dime tour of the Bob Lewis/Larry Miller through Al Wood/James Worthy era of UNC basketball.
    If anyone else is still checking up on this particular post, please let me know if, a.) you have read “Blue Blood”, and b.) what your thoughts were on it.
    I have also read Blythe’s “To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever”, and Feinstein’s “The Last Dance.” The former is a biased accound of a UNC lifer who chronicles the rivalry in the context of the 2005 season. I loved that book (of course). The latter was written by John “Hey, guess where I went to school?” Feinstein, and I rather liked that one as well. Of course, you need to skip the forward to really enjoy this one.

  19. DeanForever says:

    I apologize for writing in BOTH past and present tenses. I was just feeling it and couldn’t stop writing. You all know how it be.

  20. Ben says:

    Oh, here’s hoping that Billy “the fudge” Packer will be gone after this year. I at least say that he ought to be disallowed from calling UNC games. I understand you are not able to put aside your ABC (anybody but) bias, but at least do us a favor and put yourself on the bench for those games. I wouldn’t call a Dook game, because I know I wouldn’t make it all the way through without calling K “ferret-face” or something. So, I’d opt out of calling the game. The Fudge should do the same.

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