CBS got hammered for its dreadful coverage during the Super Bowl blackout, and Jim Nantz is finally ready to talk about it. When the lights went out, the announcer says, he called his producer and offered to jump into the stands from the broadcast booth and race down to the field to offer aid to struggling sideline reporters Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots. What a guy, and what a delightful horror that sight would have made for.
We presume that the crowd dive was the only way to go since the elevator was likely knocked out by the power outage. Nantz told Sports Business Journal:
“I told [CBS producer Lance Barrow], ‘Look, I can jump over the front of the desk here. It’s not a far drop into the seats in front of me. I can hang onto the ledge and drop down 10 feet or so and I can safely then run down through the stairs and go down two or three levels and get onto the field.’”
Barrow told Nantz to stay in the booth, which is where CBS needed him to be once power was restored.
“I look back on it now and I just wish I could have helped out,” Nantz said. “There was nothing I could do.”
The mental image of Nantz hanging from a Superdome ledge, readying himself for a 10-foot drop, and then either dropping down into the hands of some fans or crashing into empty seats, is pretty amazing. Think of the GIFs! Then again, this shouldn't have had to happen. CBS had reporters all over the place—one literally talking to NFL executives in the control room when the lights went out—and found a way to misuse all of them and prop up the least prepared for an off-script fuck up. Then again, stories happen around CBS' sporting events all the time, and they seem to find a way to move right past them.