Another draft in the books and another year where TSN dropped the ball in their coverage. In fact, they may have done a worse job this year than they did last year.
There was a lot of complaining over 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk tipping picks on Twitter last year. So this year Dunk decided not to tip picks, instead posting analysis on 3Down’s live blog after selections were made. While I had no issue with the tip picking a year ago, others did and this was a nice middle ground.
Until TSN stopped talking about who was picked.
Like last year, the switch from the TV portion of the broadcast to the online stream was plagued with problems. A year ago, it took about 10 minutes for the livestream to start working, which was unacceptable. This year, while I don’t have the exact time, I can tell that the entire third round of the draft was completed before the livestream kicked in.
Are you kidding me!?
And worse yet, when the livestream did begin, instead of telling us what we missed and catching us up, the TSN crew decided to recap the first two rounds. You know, the ones that were seen on national television.
Are you kidding me!?
This is a free piece of advice to the people at TSN who run the draft: If people are tuning in to your online stream of the draft (the one that shows the third-through-eighth rounds), they watched the first two that were broadcast on television. You don’t need to catch anyone up who is watching online. They saw it. The know who went where and when. Give us the info we missed, not the stuff you showed on nationwide television.
From there the coverage was a near disaster. If not for Twitter, the CFL’s website and the 3DownNation live blog, no one would have known who the picks were. And yes, I get that those are a lot of options, but when the league’s sole broadcast partner is showing this thing live online, we shouldn’t need secondary or tertiary options to find out who was selected. Imagine if a CFL game on TSN was being played, but they never showed you the score, so you had to search it out elsewhere. That would be ridiculous. This was that. Just give us a ticker at the bottom of the screen alerting us to who was picked. That would have been preferable to the nothing we got and would have made searching out alternative options to get that information unnecessary. Just knowing who got picked is all I ask.
But it wasn’t just not showing us, it was also not telling us. Instead of giving us insight into the latest batch of CFL rookies, the crew decided to discuss matters that only tangentially related to the draft itself. There was a good four-to-five minute conversation about Canadian quarterbacks that went absolutely nowhere. I get that the Canadian quarterback conundrum is a hot topic, but every time this comes up, it is the exact same conversation with the exact same people with the exact same points of view. We don’t need to hear it again. And we definitely don’t need to hear it instead of telling us, the viewing audience, who was just selected.
TSN should also think about changing up who they have on their draft panel. While Duane Forde is as educated on the incoming prospects as anyone in Canada, the same cannot be said for his table mates, Dave Naylor and Chris Schultz. Often times, when a player was selected, those two would give generic answers with very little substance. It added almost nothing to the presentation of the draft. TSN could greatly improve their coverage if they added people who know who these incoming players are. A current USports coach would be a fantastic place to start. Stanford head coach David Shaw is a member of the NFL Network draft panel each year, and TSN would be smart to ape that approach and add a USports coach to their broadcast. It is not like they haven’t done this in the past either. Current Ticats offensive coordinator, and former McMaster head coach, Stefan Ptaszek gave insight during TSN’s draft broadcast on more than one occasion. TSN should reach out to a university coach or two and have them on. Their knowledge would be invaluable.
TSN should also consider adding another knowledgable draft analyst to the mix. Someone like Dunk would be a great addition to the broadcast. Get people on there that know the Canadian university football landscape and can speak credibly on the players being selected. It would greatly improve the quality and content of the broadcast.
Finally, this is more a quibble, but there were way too many instances of incorrect data being presented. Players labelled Canadians who aren’t, players not labelled Canadians who are, incorrect records being displayed and so on. It is not a major thing, but it makes the product look sloppy and amateurish.
The coverage of the CFL Draft has improved dramatically over the years, but that doesn’t mean we should accept subpar coverage since it is better than no coverage. We deserve better and we should demand better. What happened Sunday with draft coverage was once again simply not good enough and TSN needs to know it.