An Appeal To NBC Sports Network For Excellence

The following is a humanitarian effort, one meant to inspire and affect a change. Your part is to read and if you agree with the contents, do your part to ensure that every pair of eyes and ears possible knows of our plea. This includes, but is not limited to, utilizing twitter, facebook, email and any other outlet with which you socialize digitally to spread the word. We live in a unique time when the smallest of voices can be echoed by the largest of groups and be heard around the world.

Listen.

To:
National Broadcast Channel Sports Network (NBCSN)
The National Hockey League (NHL) and its Commissioner, Gary Bettman.

emails: nbcsportshelp@nbcuni.com, gbettman@nhl.com
On Twitter: @NBCSports, @NBCSN, @NHLonNBC, @commish_Gary

From:
The ardent fans of the NHL

Dear Parties Responsible for Broadcasting the 2012 NHL Playoffs,

As the Conference Semi-Finals draw to a close, the NHL continues to execute its agreement with NBC that every game be broadcast exclusively on the NBC Sports Network, or one of its affiliates. The efforts to bring every playoff game to a national audience are commendable and excite those of us who have spent large portions of our lives and our wallets enjoying the graceful intensity with which the fantastic athletes of the NHLPA put their skills on display.

As such, it is with regret and much sadness that we must express our marked disappointment in the commentating that has accompanied the broadcasts of these 2012 NHL Playoffs.

This time of year resonates within all hockey fans. Whether our team has made the post season or waits patiently for the next draft, we all flock to rally around the year’s finalists. Their stories, their triumphs and their heartbreaks are shared by all who love puck. Those who normally care only for one team rally together for a simple reason; the playoffs are reserved for the best of the best. Only the best teams get to play. The best players shine. The best referees are chosen. The coverage and broadcast teams must also be held to this standard and it is in this respect that we are sorely lacking the best.

The product being displayed to the national audience that both NBC and Gary Bettman hope will decide hockey is worth more than a passing thought, is subpar. It is incumbent upon you to avail yourself upon any and all resources you have at your disposal to accentuate through presentation of sound and video what is already a marvelous product on the ice.

We urge NBC Sports Network to reconsider its choice of broadcast teams. It is glaringly evident that the agenda of the announcers has been idle chatter as opposed to adaptive calling of the action on the ice. Often during these playoffs we have noted how the announcers have trailed off in thoughts that neither enlighten nor interest while the game we hold so dearly passes them by. The call of the action becomes the afterthought. This is never going to be a recipe for moments that will live on historically in the hearts of apt viewers.

In any sport the vast majority of fans must see the games on their televisions. So it is without surprise that those moments in competition that become ingrained in the national psyche – Wayne Gretzky scoring his record breaking 802 goal, George Foreman knocking down Joe Frazier, Team USA defeating the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics – are irrevocably tied to the announcer who made the call. Unfortunately a great moment in sports does not guarantee a great call by the announcer.

So, what is the solution? It would be disrespectful on our part not to offer a solution. The answer is simple: Bob Miller.

Bob Miller is quite plainly, one of the best. He is widely accepted as among the elite in broadcasting of not just hockey, but sports at large. Mr. Miller has been broadcasting for the Los Angeles Kings for almost 40 years. He has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for his work in broadcasting, a great honor only one amongst the NBC group of announcers shares.

Mr. Miller has already made historic calls. His voice was forever tied to hockey’s greatest player’s greatest achievement when Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe’s goal scoring record. Bob Miller calls the game with a knowledge and passion that is nearly unparalleled. With the Los Angeles Kings entering the Conference Finals for the first time since Gretzky himself took them there in 1993, Bob Miller is the most qualified and poetically perfect candidate to call games in these 2012 NHL Playoffs.

Just as only the best players and teams are allowed to participate in the playoffs, as the best referees are chosen, so to must Bob Miller, by right of his abilities and body of work be selected to participate in hockey’s most special time of year. Not only has he earned it, but East Coast fans who are often unable to watch games from the Pacific Time Zone deserve to be exposed to one of, if not the single greatest play-by-play announcer the NHL has ever heard.

If bias is a concern, as Bob Miller is himself a Los Angeles Kings fan, we put forth three points. One is that a little bit of bias, which is truly a negative connotation for what is merely a vested interest in the outcome of the game, makes for fantastic broadcasting. Mike Emrick’s most famous calls will always be those he made for his home town New Jersey Devils. Two is that Bob Miller is among the least biased announcers in the league. His play-by-play offers intonation derived from the intensity of the action, regardless of whether his beloved Kings are the beneficiaries of that action. Three is that the group that NBC employs is far from unbiased. The endless and at times mindless chatter is frequently skewed to one side, often without regard to what is transpiring on the ice.

When a historic play is made, we would be remiss for NBC Sports Network to have neglected the opportunity to have a historic man calling the game. Passion is infectious and no one else is as capable of drawing the connection between the eyes and the soul through announcing a game than Bob Miller. Should NBC Sports Network honor our request and hire Mr. Miller, not only will the NHL fans of the largest media market in the country be forever grateful, but across the nation bonds will be formed between a new generation of hockey fans, the NHL and the NBC Sports Network.

Sincerely,

The loyal fans of the NHL

———

Now, we the fans of the NHL must be heard. I have made it easy for you. All you need do is copy and paste the email addresses, the title of this article as the subject and this letter and the body of the email. I have also attached this article as a PDF file if that proves easier to send. That can be found here: An Appeal to NBC Sports Network for Excellence

The only way for change to come is for the people to unite and exclaim a consistent message. This is that message. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. The bar for excellence will never be met so long as mediocrity is deemed acceptable. Further, I have provided twitter addresses. These twitter accounts must be blasted as well.

Spread this to anyone and everyone who has eyes for reading and hearts for hockey.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

Tags: , , , ,

54 replies

  1. Love it, Surly.
    My Dad told me the story of the first time he took me to a Kings game…he said when the play started, I asked him, “Where are the voices?” As in, why wasn’t I hearing Bob Miller?

    I went to a game a few years ago and I sat in the row behind Miller and Fox, and I brought a sign w/ me that said: Best Announcer in Sports: Bob Miller. 2nd Best Announcer in Sports: Bob Miller. 3rd Best Announcer in Sports: Bob Miller.

    He’s the voice of my childhood. And I pray to the hockey gods that they grant Mr Bob Miller a Stanley Cup because he fucking deserves it…more than deserves it.

    I am tingling just thinking about it…but it will be a sad day when Bob Miller retires.

    …and these NBC clowns allow Brian fucking Hayward to participate in the broadcasting. Makes me sick.

    Emails headed out.

  2. Done and done!

  3. SO down. Sending…

  4. Beautifully written….Did my part now let’s hope NBC does the right thing.

  5. … It is confounding to me that Bob Miller isn’t working the radio broadcasts with Nick Nickson. At least Kings’ fans would have that to hang their hats on. I don’t see why they can’t alternate play-by-play, with Bob doing the first and third periods and Nick doing the second, or an arrangement similar to that.

    I hear Dean Lombardi paying a lot of lip service to the long-time, diehard fans. Here’s an opportunity for him and the rest of the Kings organization to do right by those fans.

    • According to a story on LATimes.com today, Bob basically dismissed that idea, stating that Nick Nixon more than deserves his time calling the radio broadcast after all the years he’s put in. Typical, selfless, humble Bob Miller. What a class act he is!

      • … I’m not saying Nick doesn’t deserve the role; far from it, actually. Bob’s a wonderful, humble guy, but I’ll acknowledge what he won’t: Bob’s put in even more time than Nick or anyone else, and he deserves the role, too.

        NBC isn’t going to do shit about this. They give no fucks about some group of Kings’ fans writing to them. Let’s be honest, here. As far as they’re concerned, Kings’ fans should consider themselves lucky that their network is televising the games at all.

        This is why the Kings’ organization needs to take ownership of what they ARE able to control and come up with the best possible solution for their fans. I have absolutely nothing against Jim Fox or Daryl Evans, but Bob and Nick is the right combination in this case. They did playoff games together in the 80s, and they most certainly can do them today.

  6. done – from Slovenia

  7. I’ve had no problems with the calling so far, suggesting that your manufactured claim of “among the least biased announcers in the league” is exactly what it sounds like: garbage. You’re obviously trying to advance your own selfish agenda while hiding it under the guise of doing hockey a favor. Now there’s some real bias.

    • Sometimes a selfish agenda and what is good for the general public are the same thing. Synergy. Serendipity. Call it what you will.

      Bob Miller is a better broadcaster than everyone at NBC. This is barely debatable.

    • Are you SERIOUS Rob?!? Come on! BOTH Brian Hayward and Brian Engblom HATE the Kings, and it is obvious from their back-handed comments while calling the games! I expect that to an extent from Hayward, but I did NOT expect it from Engblom! Hayward even had to STICK UP for the Kings after one of Engblom’s comments… (I was shocked!). Anyway, if you don’t love the work of Bob Miller and Jim Fox, then why are you here, other than to be a troll?

  8. done. And i am going to spread the word to all my friends.

  9. Right On!!!!
    Tou two once again hear tiur people’s cry and respond.
    I will do as instructed…hoping for success.
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  10. Mike Emrick is THE voice of hockey for us. When NBC Sports took over the Versus Channel, our fear was that they would mess with the great hockey and Tour de France coverage that Versus has been delivering for years. But, we are very pleased with the hockey broadcasts this year, and are now hopeful that the Tour de France coverage will not be tinkered with either.

  11. Really… Playoffs mean you give up your team’s biased announcer for some national shmuck… The answer would be to have a SAP (Separate Audio Program) with your broadcaster and the other team can have the same thing. I wish they had that for the World Series.

  12. Done!! Signed, sealed, delivered!!

  13. Sent- from all 4 of my email accounts.

  14. Love me the “Bob-ster”….all done!

  15. I sent it from my nbcuni email address although I don’t think it will matter that I work for NBC Universal/Universal Pictures. I also sent it from my personal gmail address, I hope they listen to us…either way, thanks for providing the great letter to use!
    GO KINGS GO!! <3 I BELIEVE!!
    #winitfortanner

  16. Thats an awesome endorsement. The whole piece is very well written. I just think NBC will never get past the idea of him being more for the KIngs and therefore being a homer. Like you said, we know that’s not the way Bob calls a game, but I think thats what is going on here. IF the Kings get to the end, the least we could do is get Bob on the radio, so we can hear him call the final game of the series. At any rate I’ll send your letter off Surly, its really good.

    • I agree. If this utterly fails to get attention then I will write that letter to FSN if and when we get there. That’s a much simpler decision with less red tape.

  17. There is a Facebook page as well! We need to use all possible avenues. Please visit and LIKE the page to show more support!

    http://www.facebook.com/SupportBobMillerandJimFox

  18. Also in case you missed it, Hammond posted that FSW is going to replay game 6,7 of the 93 conference final games against Toronto. I think its this Thursday. Those were some of the best calls Bob has ever made. The elation in his voice when he said Kings are going to the Stanley Cup was awesome.

  19. Very nicely put. I’ll be sending a copy along momentarily.

  20. Done and Done. I like that SAP button option.

  21. Nobody broadcasts a game better than Doc Emerick.

  22. I’m sorry, I LOVE Bob Miller (he was an idol of mine growing up), but it would be flat out unfair to the Phoenix Coyotes’ fans and the rest of the nation to have a currently-participating team’s announcing crew calling games in a national broadcast. I know Bob is very fair and far from a homer, but he is the voice of the Los Angeles Kings; he shouldn’t be calling any games nationally that the Kings aren’t in. As a Kings fan, I wouldn’t want to hear Phoenix’s announcers calling the game REGARDLESS of who they were.

  23. Just sent. I doubt they do anything about it but at least they’ll get a lot of messages.

    GO KINGS GO!

    hmmm I have multiple email accounts…I think they’ll receive some more.

  24. Great argument and request and pushed it along to everybody.

    No question about it is that Miller is a class act. 95% of the time I like what he says in broadcasts, but, 5% he is too easy going on the team when they played like crap in the past. He would do politically correct stuff, not because he is by any means regulated on his content, but, because that is just who he is as a person. There have been times that I wanted him to be more critical and blast some players that failed to perform.

    As for NBC, honestly, they are not going to change anything. They figure out everything way ahead of broadcasting, where they are entrenched and programed like robots. NBC has no heart and soul for hockey anyway. I think they would gladly trade the NHL contract for something else if they could get the chance for something they deem better.

    If you want to get right down to it, they even screw up the camera angles and set up cameras in their own weird way, along with video direction that blows superior shots for inferior shots. I would take the Fox camera staff any day of the week.

    To me, the best broadcasting is when I can see reverse angles and whole ice shots during replays and at other important times.

    Also, so far as I am concerned, how dare they desecrate the Stanley Cup image to suit their own publicity:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/drink-21-foot-high-stanley-cup-times-square-202035356.html

  25. Does anyone know if guys like Bob and Jim are employed by FSW, The Kings or the NHL? This may be the problem that each is under contract to a network and is exclusive to them. At the very least the league should consider a way in playoffs for each home team to use their local announcer for the nationally covered game. They each bring a familiarity with the players and the franchise, and frankly their own bias is good.

    • You hit it. NBC is owned by Comcast. They will not use Fox announcers.

      • Mmmm. This is a good point I had not considered.

        Still, there are better announcers out there than 3/4 of the NBC team. And truly I just insist our displeasure be known.

        • If I remembrr correctly from my Music Business classes, Bob and Jim should be members of AFTRA. Not sure if that gives them extra protection against exclusivity contracts with Fox or not. Generally entertainment industry union members are protected from that sort of agreement.

          In any case doesn’t Hayward work for Fox calling for the Ducks? Or did that stop a while back?

        • I also think good to let the powers know how we feel,,, and to bring to attention the Talent that is Bob Miller..and we accomplish that this will be sucessful.
          GO KINGS GO!!!

  26. Honestly, any local announcer would be better than the clowns at NBC (ugh, Milbury). Oftentimes they use former players, people that KNOW the game (and not former managers or “coaches” that clearly never liked it). Bob Miller would be an amazing announcer for the playoffs, but even if they don’t choose him, they need to make some kind of change.

  27. DONE!

    Now if I can be so bold as to request votes for my bearded class of 2nd graders in this Kings Classroom Challenge.

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150869932049239.428826.39105654238&type=1

  28. AMEN!!!!

    Hayward is horrible!!!

    SENT!

  29. All done my friends!

    Bring back Bob and Jim!

    GO KINGS GO!!!!

  30. Just in case you want to print this out and paste around your home or place of work:

    or

    GO KINGS GO!!!

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