Two of the top high school football teams in Georgia and the United States squared off on Friday night when Mill Creek hosted Buford. The game had a thrilling finish. With Buford down by seven points, Dylan Raiola, Buford’s Georgia-bound quarterback, tried to lead his team to a game-tying or even game-winning score.
But while the game was broadcast on ESPN2, the finish was not.
The football game ran a little longer than expected. So, as the game was nearing its end, viewers were told to switch over to the ESPN app to watch the conclusion as ESPN2 switched over to the start of the preseason game between the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.
Friday's High School football game between Georgia powerhouses Buford and Mill Creek was nationally televised.
But with Buford down 7 and driving, ESPN2 had to cut away with less than 30 seconds left.
The reason? Preseason NBA action. pic.twitter.com/lMjA8bgOHy
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 14, 2023
JJ Watt, the recently retired NFL superstar, was watching the game and took to Twitter to ask for an update.
Need someone to update me on what happened at the end of Buford vs. Mill Creek.
Cutting away from the game coverage with 20 seconds left on a game-winning drive for a preseason bball game was wild ?
Anyone in Georgia got an update for me?
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) October 14, 2023
ESPN cutting off Buford for NBA preseason on the final drive was brutal
— Graham Coffey (@GrahamCoffeyDC) October 14, 2023
Why even air the game if you’re going to do this
— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) October 14, 2023
Buford driving for a potential game-tying TD against Mill Creek and ESPN cuts the game for preseason NBA basketball.
— Jon Tweets Sports (@jontweetssports) October 14, 2023
Dying seconds of a huge GA HS football game on ESPN2 as #1 prospect and UGA commit Dylan Raiola drives Buford, trailing by 7, down the field vs Mill Creek—and they cut away to beginning of a preseason NBA game. Egregiously awful.
— Robert Weintraub (@robwein) October 14, 2023
There’s obviously a tough balance here. ESPN and the NBA have a partnership that is quite lucrative for both. Even if it’s only a preseason game, LeBron James and Steph Curry are going to generate a lot of interest.
That said, once the decision is made to broadcast a game, there should be an obligation to show it through the conclusion. If the game was a blowout or Mill Creek got a turnover and was in victory formation, there’d be more of an understanding. But getting your audience invested in a game for more than two hours and then not showing its end doesn’t make a lot of sense.
And for anyone still unaware, Raiola and Buford got to inside of the 10-yard line. From there, though, Mill Creek’s defense stood firm and forced a fourth down incompletion to seal the victory.
After back to back timeouts, Raiola snaps the final play with an empty backfield, rolled out and threw while being tackled and INCOMPLETE! Mill Creek upsets #1 Buford! https://t.co/xUsTJhuDu2 pic.twitter.com/QqjPnGLiFl
— Evil Dynasty – B2B (@EvilUGADynasty) October 14, 2023
[Photo Credit: ESPN2]