Share this article

print logo

As unusual as Tyrod, CBS' Beth Mowins gets a passing grade

Play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins has something in common with Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

It may be just as difficult to assess the talents of a woman play-by-play announcer on National Football League games as fairly as it is to treat Taylor's talents as quarterback fairly.

That's because they are both rare in their own way.

Mowins is the only woman calling NFL games, Taylor is the most elusive quarterback in the league.

The best way to assess Mowins' performance during CBS' coverage of the Buffalo Bills' 24-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins Sunday is to use the same criteria as assessing the men who have worked a Bills game.

That means assessing her voice, her knowledge, her ability to quickly identify players, her excitement level and her ability to ask her analyst, former NFL kicker Jay Feely, the right questions that elicit interesting comments.

Overall, she earned more than a passing grade working her second CBS game this season and third regular NFL game overall. She also worked a Monday Night Football game opener alongside former Bills coach Rex Ryan.

Her voice received the most attention on Twitter, eliciting a very mixed reaction.

The funniest comment came from a follower who suggested she sounded like country singer Reba McEntire. The idea that she sounds like a Southerner seems strange since Mowins was born in Syracuse. However, you could take the comparison as a compliment since Reba has sold millions of records. Someone else said Mowins looked like Reba so maybe it wasn't about her voice.

I don't love her voice. But I also don’t love Feely's voice.

Mowins' knowledge was evident throughout the game. Clearly, she did her homework about both teams. If anything, she might have been too prepared as she brought up several superfluous topics.

She was quick to identify players running and receiving, though a couple of times she misspoke and called Taylor "LeSean McCoy." Her most impressive moment was seeing the interception by Bills reserve cornerback Shareece Wright one play after he came in for an injured E.J. Gaines.

Her excitement level on big plays was OK but not anything to get excited about.

She didn't bring out much from Feely, who as Howard Cosell would say "had a firm grasp of the obvious." She should have had him discuss some coaching decisions on whether to go for it on fourth down more often than he did. I imagine she might do that more often if they had worked more games together.

Feely contradicted himself at times and didn't offer any more original thinking than Ryan did on his MNF game debut. Feely seemed obsessed with statistics to the point you wondered if he was auditioning for a job in analytics.

The bottom line is I'd be more willing to hear more from Mowins than Feely and would be especially interested if she worked another game and was given a stronger partner than Feely or Ryan.

Here are more highs and lows of CBS' coverage:

Best Line: Looking at four shirtless Bills fans in the stands, Mowins cracked: "Fortunately for the Bills, Tyrod Taylor has made better decisions than these four guys."

"Stupid" Remark: Bills lineman Adolphus Washington made a dumber decision than the four shirtless guys and got a penalty for batting the ball out of the hands of a Dolphin after a third-and-goal play was over. The penalty gave Miami a first down. Feely accurately called it "stupid." It was a dumb penalty. But for all the calls missed — a face mask on McCoy, a punch to the head of Taylor, an illegal motion — why call that one?

Covering all the Angles: In one of his head-shaking moments, Feely called Bills receiver Zay Jones the Bills "go-to-guy" receiver before giving several negative statistics about him. I doubt any Bills fans considered Jones' the go-to-guy. Feely also said early in the game that Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka was making 55-yard field goals in practice, but later said a 49-yard kick in the cold would be difficult.

Extra, Extra: When Mowins said Hauschka's 34-yard field goal was his "first kick of the day," she ignored the three extra points he had made from almost the same distance.

Happy Feet: After one of Taylor's nifty running moves in the first half, Mowins cleverly said: “He has been listening to his feet. Whatever they’re telling him, he is right on the money.” I've never seem Taylor happier than he was after his touchdown run, which might have helped him earn some money next season.

Game-Stopping Moment: When McCoy appeared to be hurt after passing the 10,000 yards career mark and then returned after a play, Feely cracked: “He just wanted the game to stop when he had 10,000 yards.”

Weather Report: Mowins talked about the weather several times and wasn't always consistent. She started the telecast by saying it was going to be a blustery day and later said there wasn't much wind. But that's Buffalo weather.

Picky, Picky, Picky: That's what I'm often criticized for being. But I am referring to McCoy's touchdown reception, which Feely called  "a little pick route.” It would have been nice if he had said whether it was legal and why.

Scenic Route: CBS called an audible from promoting Buffalo food and showed the toboggan ride at Chestnut Ridge and the ice skating and bike sleds at Canalside. "I've never seen that before," said Feely of the bike sleds.

"Yucky, Lucky" Bills Fan: When CBS' cameras caught the young fan in the stands given a ball by Taylor after a touchdown, Mowins misspoke and said it was a "yucky" fan before quickly changing it to "lucky." It was funny.

In the Zone: Feely said McCoy had to learn the zone read running concept when he came to Buffalo. I could be wrong but I believe that just happened this year under offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

Worst Prediction: CBS studio analyst Bill Cowher picked the Dolphins as his upset special.

Darn Commercials Ruin Everything: Mowins noted that McCoy was "all hopped up" during a commercial break after scoring a touchdown but CBS only showed a few seconds of his reaction. Viewers undoubtedly wanted more.

Dancing With the Stars: Once again, CBS' cameras caught Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White dancing, either because he was excited or trying to keep warm. He really should get a shot on "Dancing With the Stars."

Tre'Davious White apologizes for blowing up Lowe's spot during snow game

Yay, Grandma: Feely called Bills linebacker Matt Milano an "old soul" before noting Milano said Marco Island was his favorite vacation spot. "My grandma used to go there," said Feely. "I think every grandma used to live there."

Polarizing: Mowins called the Dolphins' Jay Cutler "the most polarizing quarterback in the NFL." Judging by my Twitter feed, she might know a thing or two about "polarizing."

Reba Would Have Sung It: When "All I Want for Christmas" was being played on the New Era Field loud speaker Mowins said all Bills fans want for Christmas is the postseason. After Sunday's win, the Bills season may end either being yucky or lucky.

There are no comments - be the first to comment