The Eye Has Had Enough Of Billy Packer’s Act

After years of frustrating plenty of college basketball fans with his crotchety, no-fun act on CBS’ March Madness coverage, the Eye has thought better of Billy Packer, saying it will not bring him back for another season with Jim Nantz, preferring to promote Clark Kellogg instead to be its main color commentator for college basketball.

Again, I have no quarrel with the ditching of Packer (although the split seems very mutual, as Packer told the Miami Herald he’s tired of commentating). Somewhere during the last decade, the crabby act got really old and tired, plus his admission of not being a fan of sports along with his “fagging out” joke on Charlie Rose didn’t endear him any further (this isn’t even getting into the mess he started with St. Joseph’s Phil Martelli over its #1 seed in 2004 or calling Allen Iverson a monkey). Nantz is hard enough on me as play-by-play; while Packer can be considered about as college basketball as Dick Vitale, I’m not gonna miss him all that much.

But I’ve got to side with Lozo on this: why Clark Kellogg?  He may be next in line at CBS (and it’s probably because he works solely for CBS), but they have a more talented analyst in their midst during March who ought to be working Final Fours for them: Bill Raftery. I mean, having Raf give us an “ONIONS!” or a “Send it in, ____!” during the game is damn near a highlight in and of itself. He mixes great analysis with fun, and it’s clear he loves the game.

However, Kellogg is as good as we’ll get, because CBS won’t have its lead color guy for college basketball come from the ranks of guys they hire as contractors from ESPN — which is what really might have killed off any chance of getting the best analyst in this sport from getting its most plush job.

Photo: AP/Michael Conroy

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Stop Being Such A Tease, Billy Packer

Unfortunately, with the Final Four starting tomorrow, we’re gonna get more than an earful of college basketball’s cranky, smarmy old bastard Billy Packer teaming with Mr. Milquetoast himself (Jim Nantz) for what looks to be three of the most competitive games of the college basketball season (this is the bonus of all #1 seeds making it; no one can say on paper than any of these games looks like a blowout.)

Natch, USA Today’s Michael Hiestrand gives us the profile of Packer on the eve of the games — and what’s annoying is that Billy has to be such a damn tease about whether this is his last tournament or not.

Billy Packer, when asked if this NCAA men’s basketball Final Four will be his last on CBS: “Who knows?”

Please, oh please, let it go, Billy — give Raftery, Bilas, someone, anyone who really seems to like and enjoy the game — rather than rag on the selection committee for not picking your favorite ACC teams every year — the chance to call a Final Four. I don’t want someone who’s completely in the tank; criticism is nice, but at some point, when an analyst or announcer sounds like he doesn’t enjoy the job regularly, isn’t it time to say “fuck it” and move on?

That said, I did learn some bizarre things about Packer that make him seem less cranky and more like a bizarre eccentric:

  • Randomly asked more than 100 women if they’d vote for Hillary Clinton
  • Took Picasso ceramics, put them in plexiglass, and made a work desk with them
  • Played golf courses backwards (shoot from green to tee)
  • Started Richard Jewell defense fund because he was sure they had the wrong man in the Olympic bombings (they did)
  • Hired a psychic to find the murder weapon in the O.J. Simpson case

The last one is the one that really sticks out. I’m trying to imagine Billy hiring some Miss Cleo knockoff with bad head-wraps in order to find the knife, and rolling over doing so.