St. Petersburg Times staff writer Tom Jones looks at the coverage of Sunday's Bucs-Panthers broadcast on Fox.
Fox was top-notch in covering the melee at the end of the first half after the Panthers' Dante Wesley, left, crushed defenseless Clifton Smith as Smith waited to receive a punt. As fights broke out, Fox veteran director Artie Kempner did a masterful job of quickly dancing from shot to shot to show the action, including focusing on Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib, who looked like he was a second away from turning into the Incredible Hulk. Every shot Kempner dialed up was the right one as the camera operators did a magnificent job of capturing the scenes.
And when fights involving more than 100 players and several coaches are breaking out all over the field, capturing the scene is not easy. It's one thing to be able to direct and tape in a normal game, but when something unexpected crops up, you see who the pros are, and Kempner's crew was all-pro.
Announcers Dick Stockton and Charles Davis let Wesley have it, as they should have. And as Kempner kept cameras focused on Wesley, who appeared to be complaining, Stockton said what was on everyone's mind: "How can Dante Wesley still be arguing this?"
. Fox announcers Dick Stockton and Charles Davis have a nice tone for broadcasts. They don't get overexcited, and they save loud voices for when the game dictates them.
Worst time for a commercial
. Down by seven in the fourth quarter, the Bucs had just picked up a first down. But the Panthers challenged the spot, replays showed Johnson stepped out of bounds a yard shy, and it was fourth down. But instead of sticking with the game and showing replays, Fox went to a commercial. It's times like this viewers want to throw something at the TV. Fox saved itself by catching up after the break, but it would have been better to stick with the game.
Best use of replays
. Fox and analyst Charles Davis did a nifty job of showing running back DeAngelo Williams' 20-yard touchdown run in the second quarter on replay about five times. And with each one, Davis pointed out one Bucs defender after another who was blocked or made a mistake.
Most brutal comments
. CBS analyst Shannon Sharpe, below, talking about the Bucs, Chiefs and Rams: "They're horrible. They're worse than what we previously thought. … They're just bad, and this situation is getting out of hand."
The Chiefs beat the Redskins, and the Rams at least got to overtime before losing to the Jaguars.
"From where we sit," CBS's Boomer Esiason said, "Oakland and Tampa are teams that have no light at the end of the tunnel."
Worst use of time
. There is never an excuse for missing a play, yet Bucs radio twice came back late and missed plays because it didn't get out of a commercial break soon enough or was doing station identification. That's inexcusable.