Opinion: Who Dey think gonna stop this TV silliness? Noooobody!
Cincinnati TV news is filled with frivolous features and inane comments about the Bengals playoffs again.
When the Cincinnati Bengals win a playoff game, TV news teams lose their minds.
"The adrenaline is still pumping from last night, so I'm not even cold standing here," WXIX-TV reporter Lauren Minor said outside empty Paycor Stadium Monday morning.
"That might be a lie," she quickly added.
This is the low standard of journalism that has polluted the Cincinnati airwaves since the Bengals made the playoffs last year. Breaking news has been replaced by unabashed Bengalmania.
On WLWT-TV Monday morning, anchor Kelly Rippin was talking about how the Bengals 27-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills leads to a rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship this weekend. Last year the Bengals won in overtime and advanced to the Super Bowl.
"We can do it! We know we can do it!" Rippin said.
That's how WLWT-TV is leading the way, to quote the station's slogan.
Last week the television airwaves were filled with breathless live reports from western New York about Buffalo wings and Bengals fans by more than a dozen Cincinnati news anchors, reporters, meteorologists and, yes, even some TV sports reporters.
Kansas City, here we come!
While interviewing Cincinnati fans outside the Bills' Highmark Stadium after the game Sunday, WKRC-TV's Adam Clements told viewers, "This is how we elevate ourselves. This is the best fan base in the NFL!"
Just the facts, ma'am, has been replaced by just the fanaticism.
WCPO-TV anchor Tanya O'Rourke, also standing outside Highmark Stadium with Bengals fans after the game, told viewers how "my Bengals, your Bengals" were going back to the AFC Championship. She asked the gaggle of Cincinnati fans to give her a "Who Dey!"
Not to be outdone, WLWT-TV's Danielle Dindak asked Bengals fans to give her a "Who Dey!" three times during each of her live reports at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Sunday with people waiting outside Paycor Stadium for the team to return from Buffalo.
Suppose WLWT-TV should change its slogan to cheerleading the way?
Before the 6:30 p.m. kickoff Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium, get ready to see more stories about the host city's food. Kansas City barbeque will replace Buffalo wings.
Get ready to see more stories about Bengals fans living in the host city. And meeting more couples where one roots for the Bengals, the other for the Chiefs.
You'll hear a lot this week about the injured opponent. Stories about Damar Hamlin's heart will be booted in favor of updates on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' aching ankle.
Get ready to see more stories about T-shirt makers, ice cream companies, chili parlors and other folks grabbing the tiger's tail to make a buck.
Expect to see TV personalities wearing plenty of orange — ties, dresses, jackets, hats, coats, scarfs and glasses. WXIX-TV meteorologist Catherine Bodak and WKRC-TV traffic reporter Jen Dalton appeared to be wearing the exact same orange dress Monday morning.
WCPO-TV meteorologist Jennifer Ketchmark Monday wore what looked like a white tiger-striped dress the morning after the Bengals wore their white uniforms in Buffalo. (If her wardrobe choice was purely coincidental, I apologize.)
Veteran meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer did his forecast Friday night wearing a Bengals ski cap (under the hot TV studio lights?) and a No. 9 Joe Burrow jersey. WKRC-TV meteorologist Brad Maushart broke out his orange tiger-striped suit coat again Sunday morning — but not the orange-tinted glasses he wore last February on Super Bowl Sunday.
Last year O'Rourke boasted during her Super Bowl coverage from Los Angeles that she was wearing a Bengals jacket loaned to her by Sarah Taylor, wife of Bengals coach Zac Taylor.
When you hear the phrase "9 on your side," you know which NFL team Channel 9 folks are rooting for. (But what about during the Crosstown Shootout? Whose side is 9 on?)
WLWT-TV devoted the first 13 minutes of its 11 p.m. Sunday newscast to the Bengals victory, while Channels 9 and 12 did a weather update and reported on the mass shooting in Monterey, Calif. (Channel 19's news started late due to the premiere of Fox's Accused after the Dallas-San Francisco game.)
Ashley Kirkland, who referred to the Bengals quarterback as "Joe Cool," anchored Channel 5's news from Cincinnati which included reports from Buffalo by main anchor Mike Dardis and weekend sports anchor Olivia Ray. Dardis ended his live shot by mentioning he called the Bengals quarterback "Snow Burrow" after the game, while others had dubbed him "Joe Snow."
"Ashley, which one do you like better? Which nickname?" Dardis asked.
Once again, WLWT is leading the way.
It's hard to fathom that Cincinnati stations could do more hype this week from Kansas City than they did from Buffalo.
Channel 19 broadcast five hours of live "Playoff Prowl" coverage before the game Sunday. But all the pregame airtime couldn't make up for the fact that WXIX-TV, the evening news rating leader, was the only station not covering the Bengals when the game ended about 6:10 p.m. Sunday. Channel 19 was broadcasting the Dallas-San Francisco game, followed by the premiere of Accused, and couldn't resume its Bengals prowl until several minutes after 11 p.m.
Channels 5, 9 and 12 also devoted much of their Sunday morning newscasts to Bengals hype.
But give credit to the managers of Channels 9 and 5 for exploiting their Bengals postgame coverage — even though the game was on Channel 12. They knew Channel 12 would be locked into CBS' postgame show, so Channels 5 and 9 shrewdly promoted that Taylor and Burrow would be seen live on their stations after the game. They carried the postgame press conferences live between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. Channel 12 showed them on tape in its 6:30 p.m. local news, after CBS' 20-minute postgame talkfest.
It will be interesting to see if Cincinnati TV stations again promise this week to air Taylor's and Burrow's postgame press conferences live Sunday night. The 6:30 p.m. game on CBS (Channel 12) should end shortly after 9:30 p.m., which means the media conferences could start before the 10 p.m. news. Will Channel 5 and 9 interrupt America's Got Talent: All-Stars or The Avengers to air them? Probably not.
Channel 9's early evening newscast also included meteorologist Brandon Spinner giving his forecast for next Sunday: "We'll have a carbon copy of today, with the Bengals moving on."
Who really knows what will happen next Sunday in Kansas City? It turns out that predictions the Bills-Bengals rematch from the Jan. 2 Monday Night Football game would be a very close contest were as wrong as forecasts saying Cincinnati would only get a couple inches of snow Sunday morning, and washed away by afternoon rain.
If this Sunday's weather will be a carbon copy of yesterday, does that mean the meteorologists' forecasts will be wildly inaccurate again?
Here's one safe prediction: The TV stations will go crazy with Bengals coverage this week from Kansas City. Stations will promise "complete coverage," even though WKRC-TV will have the most complete coverage because Channel 12 is the only Cincinnati station that will broadcast the game. The other stations can give us complete coverage of fans and food in Kansas City — but not the game. And isn't that the most important thing?
And here's another prediction: Cincinnati TV stations will send a small army to invade Kansas City in a few days for live reports on newscasts until the 6:30 p.m. Sunday kickoff.
Bengals fans who love to tailgate before the game could turn this into a drinking game. They could take a drink every time they see a station air a live report from Kansas City. The really hard core fans could take a drink every time they see a TV news anchor, reporter, meteorologist or sportscaster wearing orange. But they might pass out well before kickoff.
WXIX-TV sports director Joe Danneman predicted from Buffalo that the Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship game will be "a classic in Kansas City."
Then he added: "It's going to be a talker all week long."
I'm afraid he's right about that.