CBS had an obligation to show Joseph Ossai’s reaction immediately following his game-losing late hit on Patrick Mahomes. But during the Chiefs’ celebration, the cameras kept cutting back to the distraught defensive end, who was bawling on the sidelines.
It was too much.
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That’s not to say NFL players shouldn’t be subjected to scrutiny when they make big mistakes, or that it wasn’t important for CBS to show how Ossai and his teammates were reacting to their crushing 23-20 AFC Championship loss to Kansas City. But when the Chiefs’ celebration ensued in front of an ecstatic crowd at Arrowhead Stadium, that should’ve been the focus.
Ossai’s penalty, though egregious, wasn’t the reason Cincinnati lost the game. The Bengals struggled to disrupt Mahomes all night, despite the fact he was basically playing on one ankle. Joe Burrow threw two interceptions, including a crucial pick in the fourth quarter, and the referees shortchanged the Bengals on another couple of important calls.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Chiefs were allowed a redo on 3rd-and-9, and Bengals defensive back Mike Hilton was whistled for a phantom press interference penalty. Even CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore, who rarely goes against his zebra brethren, acknowledged it “wasn’t a big foul.”
With that in mind, it was unnecessary for CBS to continually shift its cameras back to Ossai. We got it: he was crying. Keeping him in the spotlight was overkill. CBS made it appear as if Ossai single-handedly cost the Bengals a trip to the Super Bowl, which just wasn’t the case.
There’s nothing enjoyable about unnecessarily watching somebody go through the worst moment of their professional life — especially when contrasted with a raucous on-field party.
Ossai will almost certainly live with that play for a long time. Viewers didn’t need to see keep seeing a broken 22 year old crying on the bench.