By Alan Pergament
If you ask me, the two 6 p.m. newscasts I watched after the Buffalo Bills' exciting 24-23 victory today over the Carolina Panthers fumbled what is bound to be one of the most-talked about post-game moments on Monday.
Anyone who left The Ralph Sunday and listened to the WGR-AM post-game show heard Bills Coach Doug Marrone's emotional start to the press conference when he sounded like he was holding back tears.
He wasn't getting emotional or crying for the same reason that quarterback EJ Manuel was moved to tears. It had little to do with the the last-second victory.
Marrone was crying because his immediate thought after the game was about the sudden death Saturday of a close friend of his from his days at Syracuse University -- Rob Edson. Edson, 45, who left Syracuse after more than 20 years to become the athletic director at Onondago Community College, died while mowing his lawn, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
I had a few thoughts as I listened to Marrone speak on the radio. First, you never hear a National Football League coach show his feelings or illustrate any humanity or character like that. Never. I had to hold back tears myself listening to him.
I also thought that many people listening would surely want to go home to see Marrone on TV so they could put the pictures to his eloquent and emotional words.
Neither Channel 2 or Channel 7 carried the footage at 6 p.m. (I didn't see Channel 4's coverage.)Channel 2 sports director Adam Benigni, a Syracuse graduate, mentioned Marrone's emotional address but the station didn't show it.
It wasn't because of time constraints. They spent several minutes on the game.
Of course, the stations showed Marrone answering typical post-game questions, which he said was his job to do. The circumstances cried out for the stations to carry the emotional start of the interview rather than the routine answers. This was something so rare it demanded to be addressed as much or more than some of the big plays in the game.
Perhaps the people deciding what to air at the stations had their hearts in the right place, were being sensitive and thought showing it might exploit Marrone's heartbreak.
But it seemed like a very bad call. I imagine Marrone's emotional speech will get a good share of national play over the next few days because he reminded people that coaches and players are human beings with the same emotions as fans.
It would have been must-see TV. Perhaps the stations will realize their mistaken judgment and carry it on their late news tonight.
11 p.m. Update: Channel 7's Shawn Stepner did show footage of Marrone's emotions and tears over the death of his friend on the only late night newscast that aired at the regularly scheduled time Sunday. The newscasts of Channel 4 and Channel 2 ran late because of football overruns.
Channel 2's Jonah Jovad ran the emotional Marrone footage in his report at around 1:20 in the morning on the station's late newscast.
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