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NBC jinxed Drew Brees, CBS criticized for tasteless Alex Smith joke

Brees had a decent Thanksgiving despite being jinxed by NBC's broadcast, which featured Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, and Rodney Harrison.

NBC gave normal broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth the night off, replacing them with (from left to right) Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Tirico.
NBC gave normal broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth the night off, replacing them with (from left to right) Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Tirico.Read moreNBC

Drew Brees had a pretty decent Thanksgiving, throwing four touchdowns in the New Orleans Saints' dominating 31-17 win over the disappointing Atlanta Falcons Thursday night. And that was despite being jinxed by NBC.

In the first quarter, the broadcast displayed a graphic showcasing the fact that Brees had thrown just one interception on the season compared to 26 touchdown passes. As play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico explained, "No one's ever thrown that many touchdowns in the history of the league — 99 years — with one or fewer interception."

Seconds later, as if on cue, Brees dropped back and threw an interception to Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee.

Earlier this season, the Saints benefited from a broadcasting jinx. Back on Oct. 21, during the Saints 24-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens, Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Chris Myers couldn't stop bringing up the fact that Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (no relation) had never missed an extra point during his 11-year career.

"And a kicker who has never missed an extra point in his career," Myers said just before a shocked Tucker missed an extra point with 0:24 remaining that would have sent the game into overtime.

CBS’s joke about Alex Smith’s broken leg didn’t go over well

Last week, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith's season ended after he broke two bones in his lower right leg, a gruesome injury during a game they lost to the Houston Texans. The ugly injury was immediately compared to the season-ending injury former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffered at the hands of Hall Famer Lawrence Taylor 33 years ago.

"It was I think the 166th game for Alex. Mine was 167. Basically, the same place on the field. Heck, I have a nephew named Alex Smith who's 33 years old … the whole thing is crazy," Theismann told TMZ earlier this week. "For the first time in my life, I couldn't really get to sleep. … I didn't really think this thing had bothered me as much as it did, and I think it probably got to me a little bit more."

So how did CBS handle Smith's injury in their pun-heavy introduction of the Redskins 31-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving? By referring to his leg as a "drumstick."

"Adrian Peterson is most thankful for his health this year," the promo read as it cut to footage of Smith in agony after his leg was broken. "But the same can't be said for the Skins' centerpiece, who broke his drumstick last week."

The joke didn't go over well on social media, where viewers called the promo "insensitive," "tasteless" and "repugnantly disrespectful."

It also appeared to bother CBS studio analyst Boomer Esiason, who basically apologized for the network's misplaced attempt at humor and empathized with Smith and his family.

The long-term ramifications of Smith's injury remain unclear. The most optimistic appraisal of the 34-year-old quarterback's injury would still require 6-8 months of recovery time, and that's assuming there are no complications along the way.

The Eagles play the Redskins on Monday Night Football on Dec 3.

CBS may have dropped the ball on its Thanksgiving opening, but it deserves credit for a well-done piece on Aaron Maybin, the ex-Penn State standout and 2009 first round draft pick who spends his days as an elementary school teacher and activist in his hometown of Baltimore.

Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison were solid in NFL booth debut

NBC gave play-callers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth the night off on Thanksgiving. Filling in for them during last night's Falcons-Saints game were the network's Football Night in America studio hosts — Tirico, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison.

Tirico had plenty of experience handling play calling, but it was the first NFL game called in the booth by Dungy and Harrison (though Dungy has worked the second half of the Hall of Fame game for the past few seasons), and by all accounts, the trio called a pretty solid game and weren't shy about calling out the Falcons' mistake-filled offensive performance.

In fact, the only time fans really mocked the broadcast was when Harrison revealed his favorite Thanksgiving dish is… potato salad.