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Seriously, Orchestrated Draft Makes Local History

This is what I’m thinking:

The expression on the face of Stephon Gilmore as he became the Buffalo Bills No. 1 draft choice Thursday night pretty much symbolized ESPN’s coverage of the overhyped event.

To use one of the phrases that cost Bills star Stevie Johnson some money last season, “Why So Serious?”

Chris Berman of ESPN

Chris Berman of ESPN : No Time to Talk to the Buffalo cabbie

The event is so orchestrated these days that you long for the good old days when Paul Maguire or some other announcer-comedian was around to poke fun at Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hugs, Mel Kiper’s hair and Jon Gruden’s inability to find any pick that he didn’t love.

One of the unintentionally funny moments of the night came after ESPN carried video of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill throwing several terrible passes and Gruden then declaring how much he liked the Miami Dolphins’ top pick.

If history has told us anything it is that nobody really knows how most of these picks are going to turn out. Not even Mel Kiper.

The highlights of defensive players often show them being unblocked before making tackles and the highlights of quarterbacks often shows them hitting receivers that are open by 10 or 15 yards, which won’t happen in the NFL.

But some local history was made. Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, Channel 2’s Adam Benigni and Channel 4’s John Murphy all accurately predicted the Bills pick when the national money was on linebacker Luke Kuechly (who was picked by Carolina right before the Bills pick). If I’m missing any other local guy who had it, I apologize.

The local guys haven’t had that much success in past seasons, which suggests the Bills’ Buddy Nix or someone in the organization is more forthcoming about the team’s plans now than the team has been in the past.

The word may have filtered down from a Buffalo cabbie to ESPN’s Chris Berman, but his prediction was drowned out by the Commish’s announcement of the pick. Before the Bills pick, ESPN annoying summarized the picks that had been made before, which left little time for the analysts to weigh in on what the Bills planned to do.

However, Berman did have time to mention that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick “played hurt for half of the year with ribs.” That was denied by the team during the season, but suddenly has been accepted as fact now.

Another unintentionally comic moment came on Channel 2’s 11 p.m. news when sportscaster Ben Hayes characterized Gilmore as “excited” after being picked by the Bills and holding a telephone press conference. He was so unexcited after the pick was made that his Twitter nickname almost instantly became “Unhappy Gilmore.”

Time will tell if Bills fans will be happy about the pick.

Speaking of time, there was an awful lot of time between when the picks were in and when they were actually announced by the Commish.  That was part of the regrettable orchestration of the coverage.

By coincidence, the manslaughter trial of Dr. James G. Corasanti certainly has come at a key time for the local TV stations. The case involving the death of Alexandria Rice last summer after the teenager was hit by a car driven by Dr. Corasanti as she was on her skateboard opened on the same day that the May sweeps began.   

Channel 2 has put together a strong analytical team of lawyers to debate how the case is proceeding.  Dennis Vacco, a former New York State attorney general, is taking the prosecution side. Defense attorney Thomas Eoannou is taking the defense side. They were impressive on opening day. Meanwhile, Channel 4 is using its legal expert, criminal defense attorney Terrence Connors. Local stations were able to carry the powerful opening statements from the prosecution and defense, but the testimony of witnesses had to be summarized by reporters.

It is a fascinating and tragic case featuring two expert trial lawyers – prosecutor James Bargnesi and defense lawyer Joel Daniels — that might help fuel local news ratings.

Good news for local fans of Fox’s “Fringe.” Both of you. It has been renewed for 13 episodes for a fifth and final season. In other renewal news, HBO has signed Bill Maher for another two season of “Real Time” and Fox announced that Ryan Seacrest is continuing with “American Idol” even if many viewers aren’t.

Circle May 21. That’s the night that “House” ends its run on Fox with the ominously titled final episode “Everybody Dies.” According to a plot line from Fox, Dr. House (Hugh Laurie), “examines his life, future and demons” in the finale. His future is in syndication.


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11 responses to "Seriously, Orchestrated Draft Makes Local History"

  1. Rob says:

    Some quick notes while honoring the memory of Dick Rifenburg:

    ESPN and the NFL Network were brutal with the coverage of the draft last night. I think the league and the networks need to realize now that it’s a Twitter world since anyone who followed the draft on Twitter knew of the picks about 5 minutes before either network announced them.

    Before everyone started bagging on Stephon Gilmore , keep in mind that his demeanor is always like that. Anyone who has followed his career knows this so it is not an anti-Buffalo thing at all. Fans will like him because he doesn’t have that “look at me” mentality after making a play.

    I think you need to reword your sentence about a hit and run trail that killed a 19 year old girl being a good thing. I know that you are talking from a ratings perspective but I would never associated the word “good” with a tragedy like this.

    • alanp says:

      Good point, worth changing. But I didn’t say it was a good thing. I called it tragic. But thanks. If you were offended or confused by the wording, others might be. So I changed it.

      • Rob says:

        Was never offended, I refuse to be part of the thin-skinned crowd. The sentence just seemed like a paradox but I know what you were trying to convey. Good column, as usual.

  2. Chase says:

    Thanks for the ESPN recap. I had it on in the background, but was actually watching the News’ webcast instead. Some tech glitches, but solid work overall, I thought.

  3. GMan says:

    If you thought the draft was bad on TV, it was “un- listenable” on radio. I had no idea who was being picked, until they would give a rundown every so often. Just Pathetic!

  4. Mike says:

    Great column on the draft – I watched it, but not closely – So your blog enlightened me to some elements that I missed – Good job Alan.

    Also, the live 30 Rock last night was really bad – That show should end. Besides Fey and Baldwin, the cast is actually pretty bad.

  5. John Mullins says:

    “Unhappy Gilmore” is hilarious! You need to get that on t-shirts immediately.

  6. FloJo says:

    I love how Alan is so quick to criticize Channel 4′s ‘kiddie corp’ at every turn and Eyewitness News’ lack of anything with experience yet somehow 2′s fresh faces such as the above mentioned Hayes, Sarah Hopkins and Michael Wooten seem to get a free pass past the principal’s office.

    • alanp says:

      I think Wooten and Hayes (even if he looks 12) are good. Hopkins needs some seasoning. They are surrounded by veterans and aren’t left out there on newscasts with other youngsters like Channel 4′s younger reporters. Channel 4 did their young reporters and anchors a disservice by putting them on newscasts together, making the newscasts look like they were done on college stations.

  7. Bob says:

    I watched Friday’s coverage of the NFL draft on ESPN. I believe Gruden asked Berman if he is from Buffalo ? Berman replied….”no but they gave me the keys to the city:. He went on to say that he can get in the front door, the back door and the garage door !!! Very funny !

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