Each week prior to every NFL game, the broadcast crew has a chance to sit down with key members of each team to gain insight into what they'll seeing and talking about during the telecast. Longtime CBS play-by-play announcer Greg Gumbel will be calling the Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field alongside Trent Green tomorrow.
As the Raiders begin the ascension back to a place among the top teams in the NFL, Gumbel says that the NFL is a much better league when the Raiders are good.
"There are certain teams that have National hold on fans, the Dallas Cowboys are one. The two that have really hurt us at CBS because of their decline have been the Raiders and the Miami Dolphins," Gumbel said. "We have always said it, mostly behind closed doors, some times publicly, that we really need the Raiders to be strong again. They have a dynamic reputation, they have a dynamic logo, they have a dynamic feel about them. They always have. The fact that they are showing some spark, is good not just for Raiders fans and not just for us at CBS, but it's good for the National Football League. We need those old time powers to be powers again."
Gumbel has been with the NFL on CBS for the better part of 20 years and he has covered Jack Del Rio coached teams as CBS carries the AFC package. He says that there are several hallmarks of a Del Rio-coached team.
"As to be expected from not just an ex-linebacker but a really good linebacker – defense. More than anything else, if you go in to play a Jack Del Rio coached team, even if you don't get any offense out of them, you're going to get a determined defensive effort. They were always competitive," Gumbel said. "Defensive players react to their head coach if their head coach was a defensive guy because he understands them. I think that's what Jack brings."
Some, including yours truly, have suggested that this is a trap game with the Bears at 0-3, the Raiders at 2-1 and the Denver Broncos coming to Oakland in eight days. Gumbel, a Chicago-native, is quick to point out that the Bears are not a team to be overlooked.
"They've lost to the Green Bay Packers, they've lost to the Arizona Cardinals and they've lost to the Seattle Seahawks, it's hardly been a cakewalk," Gumbel said. "Are they still trying to find their way? Sure they are. They've a got a proven coach and they do have some components. Bears defense in this town is a legendary thing."
As he gets ready to call tomorrow's game, Gumbel is excited to see the weapons the Raiders have assembled as they face that vaunted Bears defense.
"I don't think there wasn't anybody who wasn't impressed by Derek Carr's rookie year and now you give him quality receivers on both sides," Gumbel said. "The fact that [Amari Cooper] has [Michael] Crabtree on the other side, means that can't overload one side of the field which is great for Derek Carr. Any quarterback loves a running game to add to it. I think they have all the ingredients."
The Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears kick off at 10:00 a.m. PT tomorrow with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green on the call on the NFL on CBS.