CBS explains why they showed only one replay of Alex Smith's horrible injury

While we can argue about whether we should be fascinated by horrific sports injuries, we are. We can recall some of the most significant injuries we’ve seen pretty quickly. When Joe Theismann’s name comes up, the first thing you think about probably isn’t Super Bowl XVII or his 1983 MVP season.

That puts television networks in an interesting place. When Alex Smith suffered what has to be one of the most horrific injuries in NFL history, suffering a compound fracture as he broke his tibia and fibula against the Houston Texans on Sunday, it was newsworthy. He’s the quarterback of the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins, a player the Redskins traded for and gave $71 million guaranteed to this past offseason.

CBS had a decision to make. How often would they show the replay of what was a season-ending injury to Smith? They showed it just once, and explained that decision to the Washington Post.

CBS producer: ‘We felt that was enough’

Howard Bryant, senior vice president of production at CBS, explained to the Post why the network didn’t show any more replays of the injury after a commercial break.

“It’s a philosophy thing,” Bryant told the Post. “It’s a horrific injury, and we described it in-depth and documented it, and as a group we felt that was enough. We made a judgment call and felt it was documented properly. You could see the anguish on his face and on the players’ faces.”

Bryant was the executive producer of the game in New York, and the Post said he and the producers on site in Landover, Md. discussed what to do. They decided once was enough. That one replay isn’t hard to find online.

See photos from the gruesome injury: 

11 PHOTOS
Redskins QB Alex Smith suffers horrifying leg injury
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Redskins QB Alex Smith suffers horrifying leg injury
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11), center, is sacked and injured by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99), right, Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) ankle is injured as he is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) and Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: PLEASE CLEAR USE OF THIS IMAGE WITH A PHOTO EDITOR OR MATT VITA OF MATT RENNIE. Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11), center, is sacked and injured by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99), right, Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, bottom, slides under Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) reacts to an injury in the third quarter during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) grimaces as he checks on Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he lays injured on the turf in the third quarter of the game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEx Field on, November 18, 2018. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, bottom, reacts after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is lifted up to be carted off the field in a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEx Field on, November 18, 2018. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) reaches for Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he leaves the field after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is carted off the field in the third quarter at FedEx Field after a bad injury. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Bryant was also the producer of a 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament game in which Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a bad broken leg. CBS showed two quick replays of that injury, the Post wrote.

“It’s something we have discussions about,” Bryant told the Post. “How we’re going to cover these moments, and on Sunday, the preparation kicked into action — unfortunately.”

Joe Theismann’s injury got multiple replays

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times sat down with Theismann in 2005, 20 years after he broke his leg on a sack by Lawrence Taylor, to watch video of the game. Theismann hadn’t seen the replay for 20 years. One of the interesting parts of revisiting that story was Sandomir recounting how ABC handled the replays that night.

While the live shot didn’t show Theismann’s leg, the reverse angle did. ABC showed it three times, including once after halftime. Theismann’s injury came early in the second quarter. ABC also showed a shot of blood on Theismann’s jersey pants.

“That was not something people wanted to see, especially if kids were watching,” Bob Goodrich, who was producing that game, told the Times. 

Gruesome injuries are part of sports, and there’s no use denying many fans are curious about them. There are at least three YouTube clips of Ware’s injury with more than a million views (one has 2.29 million) and a couple more with more than 500,000 views. But that doesn’t mean television producers want to keep showing those replays.

Look back at Theismann's injury: 

10 PHOTOS
Joe Theismann suffers broken leg: November 18, 1985
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Joe Theismann suffers broken leg: November 18, 1985
Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann lies on the ground after being injured on the second play of the second quarter during their game with the New York Giants Monday night Nov 19, 1985 in Washington. Theismann suffered a compound fracture of the lower right leg on the play. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 18: Curtis Jordan (22) weeps over Joe Theismann, lying prone after a sack by Lawrence Taylor resulted in his season ending broken leg. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor (56) in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Joe Theismann #7 of the Washington Redskins is helped by teammate Mark May #73 and others after being injured when sacked by linebacker Lawrence Taylor #56 of the New York Giants during a Monday Night Football game at RFK Stadium on November 18, 1985 in Washington, DC. Theismann suffered a broken leg. Talking with Taylor is defensive lineman Leonard Marshall. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor (56) in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC - NOVEMBER 18, 1985: Quarterback Joe Theismann #7 of the Washington Redskins is taken off of the field after he was injured suffering from a comminuted compound fracture of his right leg while being sacked by New York Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Theismann played for the Redskins from 1974-85. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann gestures as he is carried off the field at R.F.K. Stadium Monday night Nov. 18, 1985 in Washington. Theismann injured his right leg during second quarter action. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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