One of the reasons Packer shines on the air is that he doesn't bother counting the cost of his comments. Take last spring's NCAA championship game between Villanova and Georgetown, which may have been Packer's finest hour as a broadcaster. In the last minute of the first half he criticized John Thompson for not pressing Villanova, which was holding the ball while Ed Pinckney was on the bench. In the second half he accused Georgetown's Horace Broadnax of "dirty play" for pulling down Harold Pressley on an inbounds pass in an attempt to draw a charging foul. Sometime later, Thompson half jokingly told Packer that he had made the coach's spit list.
McGuire says that "we're living in the Betamax era of coaches." Translation: Coaches need only go to the videotape to find out what broadcasters said about them. At last spring's meeting of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Packer found himself defending his outspokenness behind the mike. "Look, if I'm doing my job," he said, "there's always going to be resentment."
But neither praise nor criticism affects Packer. His next deal is the thing. He sometimes makes a buck by arranging the CBS basketball unit's travel plans through Time Out Airways, Inc., of which Packer is the sole officer. Once the CBS crew checked into a hotel in Champaign, Ill., only to discover it was partly owned by you-know-who.
He may have the mind of a coach. But he has the heart of a capitalist.