For the second time this month, one of CBS’ marquee NFL broadcasts will be missing a commentator due to COVID health and safety protocols. Play-by-play voice Jim Nantz missed the Jan. 9 Week 18 regular season Carolina Panthers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game over those protocols, with Tom McCarthy stepping in for him alongside Tony Romo in the top booth, and now, analyst Charles Davis will miss the Cincinnati Bengals-Tennessee Titans divisional round playoff game Saturday, with Trent Green filling in for him alongside Ian Eagle. Here’s more from CBS’ release:
THE NFL ON CBS will feature two high-powered matchups as part of its NFL Divisional Round coverage this weekend. First, the Cincinnati Bengals take on the AFC’s top-seeded Tennessee Titans on Saturday at 4:30 PM, ET. Then, following dominant performances by both teams in the Wild Card round, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs face off on Sunday at 6:30 PM, ET.
…Due to Covid protocols, Trent Green will fill in for Charles Davis, calling Cincinnati at Tennessee alongside Ian Eagle, Evan Washburn and Gene Steratore.
This is yet another case where it’s useful having announcer depth. Previously, around Nantz’s absence, CBS was able to pull in veteran announcer McCarthy, who works selected games for them. That meant that they had a capable replacement ready to go, and they didn’t need to adjust their other teams on a regular-season day where they had a lot of games. Now in the playoffs, with fewer games, it makes more sense to bump up the next analyst available (as they only have two games this weekend). But Green is a capable replacement; he’s called NFL games since 2009 and worked at CBS since 2014, and has been on the network’s third team with Kevin Harlan the past few years. However, this is unfortunate for Davis, who joined CBS in 2020 on the #2 team and spoke then about how excited he was to be on that team and get playoff opportunities.
There were a couple of cases of announcers missing games over COVID protocols during the 2020-21 NFL season, including Fox’s Adam Amin and NBC’s Al Michaels. This season, however, with vaccines much more available (and with many networks mandating them), there have been many fewer absences on NFL broadcasts. The more-contagious Omicron variant is changing that a bit, though, and this may not be the last change we see during the NFL playoffs.