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Cris Collinsworth was a three-time Pro Bowler as a wide receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals back in the 1980s. When his playing career ended, Collinsworth moved on to become an NFL broadcaster.
These days, he pairs with play-by-play man Al Michaels to form the broadcasting team for NBC's coverage of Sunday Night Football. The insightful Collinsworth is one of the best color guys in all of sports.
His commentary during Sunday's Super Bowl, however, has received some harsh feedback. The most vocal criticism has arisen in Philadelphia; Eagles fans were less than thrilled with his analysis of a few key moments in the game. Philly.com even ran the headline, "NBC's Cris Collinsworth couldn't accept the Eagles scored a touchdown during the Super Bowl."
The first big moment was Corey Clement's 22-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter. Clement appeared to bobble the ball, but really, it seemed the call could have gone either way. The refs decided to stick with the call on the field and rule it a touchdown.
"If that ball is not loose in his arms when that left foot comes down, I give up...I would've called that incomplete," Collinsworth said.
The refs clearly disagreed.
Later in the game—in a key moment late in the fourth quarter—the Eagles' veteran tight end Zach Ertz caught another touchdown that came under review. It looked like Ertz had established himself as a runner—which the refs confirmed—but Collinsworth again seemed to disagree.
The celebrated color guy came under fire on Twitter.
Props to the Philadelphia Eagles for hanging in there all game despite the stiff resistance from Cris Collinsworth— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) February 5, 2018
The Eagles have been Super Bowl Champions for three hours, and Cris Collinsworth is still in the booth, trying to figure out a way for the Patriots to get back into the game.— Ryan Gobirds (@RGilbertSOP) February 5, 2018
Anyone else wishing they could mute Cris Collinsworth?— Tony Madalone (@TMadCLE) February 5, 2018
Cris Collinsworth saying he's "going to shut up now" is the best comment he's made this whole #SuperBowl broadcast.— Chris Murphy (@MurphsWords) February 5, 2018
Cris Collinsworth needs to shut the hell up talking about the debatable calls.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) February 5, 2018
I thought Collinsworth was perfectly fair. It seemed like he was just struggling to wrap his mind around what is and what is not a catch in 2018—which is something a lot of people have wondered this year, and probably were wondering Sunday night.
Hometown fans will always believe broadcasters root against them, but it seems unfair to imply Collinsworth actually wanted New England to win. He was just thinking out loud—but probably won't do that anymore after this year's Super Bowl. Lesson learned.