CBS has finally come to their senses and dropped Billy Packer as their lead college basketball analyst, meaning that for the first time in 27 years, someone other than the pompous curmudgeon will be calling the Final Four. Reportedly, CBS is moving Clark Kellogg from the studio to team him with Jim Nantz as the lead color commentator, and are trying to work out a deal with Greg Anthony to have him replace Kellogg.
Personally, I cannot be any happier that someone else will be announcing the Final Four in 2009 (although, I'm sure CBS will air some type of remembrance to him that will make me want to vomit). I despise Billy Packer, as does about 95% of the world. He is an surly, senile old man that has completely lost touch with the game and actually hates everyone. He thinks he is much more important to basketball (and to every game he covers) than he actually is. But what I hate the most about him is that he doesn't seem to care about the game he is watching (because he is not a sports fan?).
When I watch a game, I want the announcers to be as into the game as I am (I wrote about this here in March). I love college basketball. Every game, especially when conference plays starts up, is so important, and everyone, from the fans watching in the arena or on tv to the players to the coaches, brings so much energy to the game. Why not have an announcer that does the same thing? When something happens that makes me jump up, or say "What a move!! How did he do that?", I want to feel like the announcer is just as impressed. When a fan base, a viewing audience, and the players have so much passion and emotion for a game, why shouldn't the announcers?
Guys like Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery (and if you can get past the "dipsy-doos", Dick Vitale) do this incredibly well. Billy Packer never did. Every time I watched a game that he was calling, he gave me the feeling that he thought he was too good for the game - that he had seen everything before and regardless of what happened, he was such a college basketball institution nothing could impress him. Packer was so negative that, at one point or another, every fan could have (correctly) believed that he hated their team.
So, as a farewell, here are some of the best and most notorious Billy Packer moments (or at least the ones that made youtube).
This is my personal favorite: