NBC's Meet the Press vs CBS Face the Nation: Two different approaches to football concussion talk
What's the difference between a discussion about football concussions on a network airing the Super Bowl and the network which isn't?
Consider how the subject surfaced this morning on two big Sunday political talk shows: CBS' Face the Nation and NBC's Meet the Press.
On CBS, which is airing the big game, the discussion took place from the network's perch in Jackson Square, featuring host Bob Schieffer dissecting the issue with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the network's three on air personalities covering the game: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Shannon Sharpe.
Predictably, Goodell maintained the league was doing all it could to balance making the game safe for players vs providing exciting contests for an even-expanding fan base. Just as predictably, the on air analysts agreed, defending Goodell's efforts even while noting that one reason San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will start in this Super Bowl is because teammate Alex Smith admitted still suffering from the effects of a concussion late in the regular season.
On NBC's Meet the Press, however, longtime sports announcer and analyst Bob Costas offered a much blunter assessment of the NFL's problems with concussions, telling substitute host Chuck Todd: "For all the drama, the excitement, the strategy, all the appealing things about football, the way football is currently played in the NFL is fundamentally unsustainable."
I thought it was surprising Schieffer would have such a discussion with Goodell without featuring a single critic of the NFL's work on handling concussions. But that may be the price you pay for appearing on the network hosting the NFL's biggest party.
Check out the two different discussions below: