Rod Black & TSN football situation . . . .

Appears someone finally got in the ear of Commish Ambrosie and loaded him for bear with TSN officials.

TSN is the league's biggest partner - financial or otherwise so Randy unloading on TSN sports managment that Black was unacceptable is a darn good thing.

Some strange bedfellows though - - -

Rod Smith paired with Mr. Game-Notes Suitor - perhaps for the 1st time, both dudes extremely wary of each other but it ended up coming off well . . . . neither Smith nor Suits really criticized the time botch-up at the end!

Now, veteran Chris Cuthbert paired with Duane Forde - and u can just feel/hear how relieved Forde is to have a guy who lets him do his job vs. Rambunctious Rod who has no idea how to tell the story of a football game.

Listen, Black is versatile. I get that. He's on a fixed salary so TSN shareholders, who don't care much whether the broadcasts are improved, they just want bottom-line results on the financial sheets.

Black will get his fair share of games down the road. TSN won't cut a fixed asset like that without cause (poor game casts evidently aren't cause)

But with Cuthbert approaching his mid-60s, Black at 56/57 and mostly unfit, Suitor in his mid-50s, same as Dunigan and Forde or Rod Smith no spring chicken either it behooves TSN to find, train and insert new blood into the casts. Brodie Lawson is a spectacular success but she's not broadcasting games.

Derek Taylor should be given a handful of pbp assignments this season, thats for sure. Milt, Henry and even Doug Brown should be given the odd color man assigment. Heck, Jim Barker, too!

But Taylor, Mark Lee, Chris Walby, even Marshall Ferguson should be given a crack at becoming CFL broadcasters.

Heck, Don Wittman, Fred Sgambatti, Johnny Esaw, Don Chevrier, etc. weren't born on the 55 yd line. Everyone with promise deserves a chance. Except me, of course!

WHen did Ambrosie talk to tsn about Black? This is news to me

Makes two of us.

There is no admission (or confession) Ambrosie talked to TSN about Black.

But the optics are pretty obvious. Over the last 10+ years whens the last time TSN significantly reduced Black's spot on the roster?

They've been innundated by complaints on various team and CFL.ca sites - also various talk shows and TSN's own chat sites.

The only place Black was relatively safe was within TSN circles where its verboten for current broadcasters to criticize a fellow guy. That halo extends to other media outlets - you don't see Mike Ziessberger or Bob McCown attack Black for poor calls in games. It just doesn't happen.

But for a huge sea change like we've witnessed 40% into Randy's 2nd season - I suspect he watched a number of Black's games himself - and the only reason for TSN blotting Black off the calls, bringing Rod Smith into game situations vs. only panel work, giving Kate Beirness the Thursday nite panel/host spot - is the commissioner went thru Black's file with TSN management and asked them to adjust the broadcast roster.

So far its not costing TSN anything - both Rods (Black & Smith) are TSN house-boys - they get paid a fixed salary to do a certain number of assignments.

immo the quality and texture of TSN football broadcasts have improved significantly under the current changes. Rod Smith delivers an honest, if unspectacular account of games, uses his color man properly and is seldom distracted by events of the day.

While Smith & Suitor, paired for the 1st time last nite were obviously a tad wary of each other they were still head and shoulders above Black paired with anyone.

Cuthbert & Forde, paired numerous times before - were superb last nite in the late call.

Too bad Randy appears hamstrung when it comes to CFL officiating - its been rotating between inconsistent to horrible this season!

Thus your first statement on this thread :

"TSN is the league's biggest partner - financial or otherwise so Randy unloading on TSN sports managment that Black was unacceptable is a darn good thing."

is "fake news" .

I hate to burst your bubble but apparently from what I've seen and heard we will be subjected to the broadcast duo of Black and Suitor for tonight's game . May God help us all !!! and please pass the remote so I can hit the mute button . I'm going to go out on a limb and set the over/under on how many times these two clowns mention anything Manziel / Johnny Football at 300.5 (and that will probably only be in the first half) :-X :o I'll take the over !!! Easy money . Now where did I put those Tylenols ??

I didn't say TSN, in conjunction with Ambrosie had totally erradicated the Rodent Black problem - but they've reduced the infestation significantly.

Too bad Rod may be getting the Manziel assignment - he'll be so busy fawning over Johnny Football he might actually let the pictures speak for themselves.

But back to TSN's adjustment.

In past season Rod was getting nearly 50% of the regular season and playoff calls. Obviously, TSN had enough brain cells left to exclude him from Grey Cup pbp, although he ended up assigned to TSN's radio coverage.

With Smith's insertion - and Cuthbert committed to two games weekly - Rod has been reduced from just under 50% of the games - to perhaps just over 25%.

Thats a significant improvment immo!!!

btw I don’t think Randy Ambrosie, the CFL commish would ever tell TSN what to do.

He runs the CFL. TSN is run by Bell-Media and the tall foreheads they’ve baked into its managment crust.

Based on the overwhelming evidence I clearly related that Mr. Ambrosie simply shared his, fans and teams concerns with the quality level (or lack thereof) provided by Rod Black.

Taken from your first post of this thread :

"TSN is the league's biggest partner - financial or otherwise so Randy unloading on TSN sports managment that Black was unacceptable is a darn good thing."

Guess I was misinterpreting your statement.

That's how I interpreted it as well.

And there could be many reasons why Black is only doing one game a week. Maybe he wants to cut down on the travel. Maybe he needs to give his throat a rest (the high pitch excitement must be hard on the vocal chords ;)). Maybe TSN has him working on other assignments. Could have absolutely nothing to do with Ambrosie.

But maybe the timing of Smith coming in shortly after Ambosie taking over isn't justa coincidence, i.e., maybe Lyle's got it right. No idea.

Interesting theory.

Not sure if I agree with some of the comments regarding play by play. Don't really mind any of the announcers. Some of the dialogue may repetitive; I prefer Rod Smith as panel host rather than play by play. Mixing it up for some different dynamics is always welcome though (see repetitive). Heck, some of the posters here could do some... I'd enjoy listening...

Agreed. I don't have a problem with any of them, but then again, I don't fixate on every, single, word, the guys say. I have heard the occasional gaff from Black and others, but so what; they're human beings.

As far as we know Black was on vacation, or had other family or personal time off. That's totally normal and not an indication of anything other the fact that he's got a life outside of TSN and the CFL.

Since i was in the broadcasting business (mostly radio cuz I'm a monsterously looking ogre to be sure) for well over a decade I can offer some professional observations in addition to fan-based opinion.

  1. Rod Black looks every part the broadcaster. He's relatively good looking although the sun has not been friendly to his face - and he's approaching Rogainville in terms of his hair (unlike Suitor & Schultzie who are perfectly coifed). However, thats where the professionalism ends. Rod takes direction poorly - or not at all . . . . he also has a devil of a time telling the story of a professional football game - unlike the great american broadcster (ie. Pat Summerall, Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Ray Scott, Curt Gowdy, Bob Costas, Chris Berman, etc.) These guys told a story - but it began with getting their game calls right, informing the viewer what was happening on the field. Black is more like Jim Rome, a totally distracted radio broadcaster who could never quite break into the TV biz - Rome is totally off the wall, he does an national radio show on the pretense of being about sports but its more about comedy and incredibly tedious repetition. Black is the most distracted broadcaster on TSN - he's poorly prepared, using the same packet of game stats that begin and end with the players alma mater.
    His time has come and gone if it was ever there to begin with.

  2. Chris Cuthbert - used to joke that Chris graduated magnum cum laude as the first graduate of the Vienna Boys Choir - in the sports broadcasting category. His voice is naturally high - but his knowledge, work ethic, humility and the like have made him Canada's #1 sports broadcaster (hockey, football). One gets used to the high pitched tones - Jerry Howarth from baseball very much like Cuthbert. Over 60 now, perhaps its time for TSN to start weaning a replacement.

  3. Glenn Suitor - has made his living off TSN for the better part of 17 years (since retirement as a slightly above average safety/DB for the Sask'n Riders); his knowledge level is quite high but he operates with little to no flexibility. Whatever his game prep tells him are the keys - he sticks like white on rice - seldom veering into areas he didn't prep for.

  4. Duane Forde - the droning, monotone voice of Fordie is his calling card. Terrified for his job security he lets Rod Black run rampant on him, seldom interrupting and essentially letting Black do both color and play by play. Much better with Cuthbert or Rod Smith to be sure.

  5. Matt Dunigan - his knowledge and passion are unparalled; the greatest champion in the booth. Even played pro baseball for awhile when he got bored of the CFL. Quarterback with linebacker mentality led to his multi-concussioned career. Still sharp and viable on color, great on the panel. He should be a keeper til he goes into decline.

  6. Mark Lee - a decent and well-prepared professional spare who fits in well when called upon.

  7. Derek Taylor - formerly of Global Winnipeg, now a house announcer with TSN. He's a stats junkie, articulate. Remember him doing Bison games on CJUM radio - where he was a touch above average - the best of the herd announcers since I left. Too much scrapping with his color and stats guys - cuz community radio guys don't have much in the way of staff or direction. They self-direct. In his early 40s its now or never for DT.

  8. Sara Orlesky - great and presentable sideline lady; relatively knowledgable about hockey & football. I don't think she'd ever be able to do color or pbp on anything more than an amateur level.

  9. Brodie Lawson - the next superstar of TSN - thats if the NFL or NBA or SEC don't grab her first. Statuesque, articulate blonde beauty who actually has more knowledge than most of her male counterparts. Like Jessica Mendoza of MLB baseball broadcasts - I think Brodie could do same for CFL. But the current boys at the top of TSN won't give her a chance - thats a given. If i were to talk to Brodie - I'd be frank with her - take the first good NFL or ESPN offer you get. Tie it down and live happily ever after.

She's prolly hit the glass ceiling with the CFL.

  1. Rod Smith - almost as old as CC Cuthbert. Very serviceable. Top notch voice - better than Black, far better than Cuthbert. A quality interim solution for TSN but his age dictates replacements should be in the bullpen within a couple to 3 years!