Tag Archives: ESPN

The Legend of the Backup Quarterback, by ESPN

(I know I recently scheduled myself to write a post about the absurdity of Erik Karlsson winning the Norris Trophy, but that’s going to have to be put on hold for this most recent outrage.)

So I was at the gym today staring at the cuties actually working out, and for some reason I felt compelled to check out the TV that regularly airs ESPN (Sportscenter in the mornings) all day. Normally, when I spend the energy to twist my neck to see a television screen, I do it because I’m expecting something with substance, but I was feeling adventurous. From the distance, I could see a football field with players in unorganized formations. Ugh, training camp. Then my mind took it a step further. “Oh, god, please not Tim Tebow and the Jets.” Obviously, it was the Tim Tebow and the Jets, because I’m really starting to question whether or not ESPN actually knows that other teams actually do stuff during the offseason. So they decided to show the live feed for about five minutes, with the focus on Tebow and his inaccurate throwing arm. Whatever. Ten minutes go by; it’s 9:00, and a “new” Sportscenter airs. What do they open with? Jets training camp. And they showed it for, legitimately, ten minutes, maybe closer to 15 (I kind of blacked out from the rage). And that’s what they showed. It was just Tebow and the Jets running drills. That’s it. That’s what they call news.

I had no sound, but the audio probably sounded something like this: “OH and Tim Tebow! Tebowtime! Tebowmania, even! Look at Tim! *mumble mumble the Jets mumble mumble* but the Tebow offense! Tebow at the goal line! Tebow with his shirt off! Rex Ryan and his Tebow offense! And here are some players nobody should ever care about oh but there’s Tebow! It’s pandemonium, so much Tebow Tebow to talk about! More Tebow after the break! Just kidding, more Tebow right now! AHHHHH HAHAHAH!!!”

 

Let me tell you something about ESPN you probably already know, especially if you’ve read my previous ESPN rant: they can throw whatever garbage they want on the TV, and the masses will watch it. I’m serious, they could start regularly airing competitive elderly crocheting (as much of a sport as poker, which they aired) during prime time, and I swear to God, it would become the newest big craze sweeping the nation. Go ahead, prove me wrong, ESPN. You would market the s*** out of that. You could even have some neat-o “needle cams” (or whatever the hell they use to do the crocheting), and people would be like “Ooohh, technology!”

Still don’t think it would generate as much attention as a backup quarterback all day? No problem! You could just find the most interesting, provocative, controversial, or sexy elderly lady (I really don’t know what your qualifications for picking new sensations are), follow the crap out of her all day, and just air raw footage (don’t bother editing or adding a narrative, nobody wants to see quality TV) of the boring junk she did all day. Oh, and don’t forget to make the story bigger than it really is. “Whoa, this lady is walking around barefoot? Ah ha! News!”

 

For the record, I have nothing against Tebow – in fact I think he’s a pretty good guy and a solid role model – nor do I have an extreme hate towards the Jets. However, much like the root of my hate for Sidney Crosby (among many, many other things), the excessive amount of coverage that he gets just forces me to hate him. It’s like ESPN wants everyone to hate Tebow and the Jets.

The problem is that ESPN essentially has a stranglehold on sports media. There’s not really a competitor that gets nearly as many viewers. Seriously, name one other cable network channel that [supposedly] covers every sport and every important sporting event. People tune to ESPN because they don’t know anything else is out there, and there’s really not, unless you’re looking for selective coverage of a particular sport or market. It’s a similar case for the Web, too. As I write this post from work (uh, just kidding, boss who may or may not be reading this), ESPN.com is basically the only sports Web site that isn’t blocked here. For what reason, I’ll never know, but that’s what my coworkers and I are limited to on our computers (thank God for smart phones).

 

As I alluded to earlier, last week, there was apparently some uproar about Tebow running out onto the field without his shirt. SCANDALOUS! Come on, people do stuff with their shirts off all the time. Seriously, that’s news? Some ripped guy working out topless? Show me a young, ripped jock-guy who doesn’t show off his guns and pecs all the time. That might be news.

Try to convince me that this coverage isn’t exactly what E! Entertainment Television, Access Hollywood, or some other bougie celeb news medium would do. You’ve become the paparazzi; worse, maybe. I can’t wait five years for when Tebow inevitably develops a bit of a gut as all QBs eventually do, and then have to listen to you talk about how fat he’s gotten for 47 minutes straight. Complete, of course, with the expert (lol) analyses of both Steven A. Smith yelling about something irrelevant like Harry Potter and Skip Bayless condemning LeBron James for not helping Tebow keep his beauty form, as well as an ESPN-Axis breakdown of where he’s lost some of his allure.

Is there really nothing else to cover? To steal a little bit of rhetoric from WFAN’s Boomer and Carton in the Morning show, what about Peyton Manning and his new team in Denver? Or the guy that ultimately forced his exit from Indy and who is also supposed to be the next big thing in Andrew Luck? How about RG3 in Washington? Or even Cam Newtown trying to repeat his rookie-season success? Or – and this is probably a bit crazy – what about the recent Super Bowl Champion New York … umm…I’m sure they have a team name in there somewhere. But no, we have to see what a backup quarterback and his controversial team is doing in their spare time; because the reality is – and no offense to Tebow – he’s a backup. Nothing more, despite how ESPN wants to try to spin it. Maybe there’s a tiny bit of QB controversy between he and Sanchez, but could you imagine if every single backup in the league got that much coverage? There would literally be no time to talk about anything else. What makes Tim Tebow so special? (And again, no offense), Nothing really. And the previously mentioned topics are just for football. What about everything else going on in the world? Wasn’t there some giant event or something with every nation competing against each other for medals and stuff?

 

All I can do here is point out how foolish EPN (not a typo) is and how they really couldn’t care less about the actual content/spots news their network and its affiliates air. They’re dumbing down the nation. ESPN, like all businesses, sadly, is a ratings- and profit-driven medium that has lost its way. The sad reality is that they find the easy story that typically lacks substance and force it down the throats of Americans. I can encourage as many of you as I can to avoid ESPN altogether (as I am doing) or even simply to change the station when they start talking about Tebow, Jeremy Lin, or whatever the latest synthesized sensation is that really shouldn’t garner that much attention. If they see their ratings drop, they will make a change. And even if they don’t, at the very least, you’ll be able to sleep better at night, knowing that you don’t support something that is having its way with the intellectual minds of the youth.

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Just want to give a shout out to ESPN…

I’m done with you. You guys have become the second-worst “news” network on television (a close second to Fox News). I can’t believe you claim to be a sports news medium. You don’t cover sports. You cover entertainment. You cover the easiest thing that will draw ratings, which is usually a product of your own design.

Let’s start by mentioning your hypocrisy, because it probably is one of your biggest weakness (or strengths, not sure how it works in the corporate world). And what better example than the Lions/49ers “handshake” incident:

One week. You talked about the handshake that, even by your own admitting, “didn’t matter”, for an entire week. And I don’t mean just lightly mentioned it; you guys took it to the extreme, and it became THE issue of the week. The event that every single “analyst” on your network, including Skip Bayless, who I’m pretty sure is exclusively told to take the minority side of every issue (in addition to making an ass out of himself), simply passed aside as an incident in which two coaches let the emotions get the better of them after a hard-fought game. It happens. Worth mentioning, but nothing worth getting invested in.

But that’s not your biggest sin. You condemned media for mentioning the pointless issue because talking about it would “overshadow the great game that was played.” After making that claim, what did you do? Talked about it. For a week. Every day. You analyzed the event to no end, trying to draw something that wasn’t really there. You brought in “experts” to talk about it. You brought up past altercations between coaches, trying to compare the most recent scrum to those in history. You didn’t talk about the “great game” that was played. You talked about the meaningless altercation at the end of the game that really had no relevance or effect on anything, then talked about how the altercation had no relevance or effect on anything. Instead of talking about that game, football in general, or really anything else that actually had any importance, you chose to talk about the handshake that “didn’t matter” and was a “non-issue”. Non-issue, huh? Do you guys listen to yourselves talk?

Let’s continue with your hypocritical nature. You condemned LeBron James for “The Decision.” And rightfully so. We should definitely go after the network that chose to air that self-righteous prick making a big deal about which team he was going to sign with, because clearly, it’s not that big a deal, and we shouldn’t be portraying it as such. Oh, but, which network decided to have a one-hour long segment about the superstar and his decision? To which network should we bring the torches and pitchforks (I got mine for Christmas)? Surely, it couldn’t have been ESPN, the network that criticized him for making such a big deal about his signing…oh, it was? That’s strange. Did you guys know about that?

Also, I never thought a network that supposedly prides itself on bringing up-to-date sports news would rely so heavily Twitter. To be fair, Twitter can be a very useful tool, as it can deliver news as it’s happening to a mass audience, often quicker than any TV or radio network can. But that’s not how you use it. I don’t want to know what LeBron has to say, via Twitter, about the NFL lockout. I don’t want to see what LeBron, via Twitter, has to say about baseball. If I want his, or anyone’s, meaningless, non-expert opinion on an issue unrelated to them, I’ll go to Twitter myself. How does anything an NBA basketball player has to say about any issue outside his own sport, or outside his team for that matter, make news, especially when it’s usually some kind of joke or personal nonsense? How many times am I going to change the channel to ESPN looking for news and find you guys talking about Twitter or airing a minute-long segment of what your anchors are doing “behind the scenes”? I’m glad you guys are having fun out there, but…I don’t care.

I won’t even get into Tim Tebow, because the entire world is sick of hearing about him. But you know what you’ve done, and what you continue to do.

Because you, the “Worldwide leader in sports coverage” (or some other BS like that, I really don’t care what your slogan is), have such a stranglehold on the national sports market, people are going to tune in to you guys and take in whatever garbage is spewing from your mouths.

 

Being unemployed (*hint hint*), there’s not much more for me to do than sit here and rant and watch TV; and let’s be honest, television today is awful, especially in the morning and early afternoon. So during this time, I usually tune to SportsCenter, because I’ve accepted the fact that there’s nothing else on, and I’m curious to see what’s going on in the world of my favorite hobby, sports. But I can’t do that anymore. You guys are phonies. You don’t cover sports news; you cover senseless issues that nobody except you and your wallets, and by proxy, your entire audience, care about. You’re making America stupid. You’ve become Access Hollywood: Sports Edition (please note that I have no idea what Access Hollywood actually talks about, but the name is fitting). Through your “work”, casual sports fans are going to know more about LeBron James’ leg hair than they are about relevant issues going on in the world, such as, oh, let’s say an entire hockey team dying in a fatal plane crash.

What’s that? No idea what I’m talking about? “Hockey?” you say? Yeah, it happened. You don’t remember when, at the end of the year, you listed professional athletes that died in 2011, and neglected to mention a single hockey player? When you forgot about the 26 players (plus 11 staff members) that died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, and the three players who died over the summer? “That happened?” you say? And when that “slip-up” was brought to your attention, as if only to appease those who knew and cared about the deaths, you said you would run an updated segment listing the excluded players. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…the updated segment was only for some — not all — SportsCenters, of course. I guess those athletes were only worthy of mentioning to a few select audiences.

What sports are you supposed to cover? All of them, you say? Interesting. I still cannot believe you claim to be the “Super awesome sports network that covers all the important sporting issues of our century! Come see us talk about LeBron James’ underwear and compare Tim Tebow to Abraham Lincoln!” Is that your slogan, ESPN? I truly forget, and I apologize for that. You see, after so long of watching your crap, my mind, too, has turned to crap. I no longer have the ability to perform decent research and understand an entire story before bashing my head on my keyboard and releasing the unfiltered garbage to the world. You aren’t even trying anymore.

The last straw, in accumulation with many other outrages, that triggered my fury was an event that occurred on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. I turned you guys on, hoping to get some balanced coverage about all the important stuff that happened in the past day of sports (heh, I know, stupid, right?). What was I thinking? Anywho (I only use that word when I’m trying to be as condescending as possible), I was hoping to get your take on the biggest hockey event of the season so far: The Winter Classic (oh, I should probably explain what that is…hockey is a sport in which two teams…). I was hoping to see what you guys would say about it, and therefore what opinion would be generated by your zombified masses.

I can’t say that I’m surprised, or disappointed, at your coverage (or lack thereof), but it was pretty embarrassing. I mean, why bother to mention that the event even took place if you’re not even going to explain what happened? Here’s my summary of your guys’ summary of the event:

-Hey, look everyone, hockey is still a sport! And they’re playing….OUTSIDE?????

-OOOOHH, eye black, that’s adorable, they think they’re a real sport, like baseball or football!

-Second period! (that’s where the game starts, right?)

-Ummm this guy has great hands and he scores (by the way, someone scored before that, but we won’t tell/show you, you’ll just have to figure out why the scoreboard already read 1-0)

-Third period! The score is now 3-2! I think one team may have scored three to come back from a 2-goal deficit, but who cares. Oh! And there are just 19 seconds left! Isn’t hockey exciting??? Anywho, it’s total chaos, this guy covers the puck in the crease, and it’s a penalty shot! It’s like a shootout! And since shootouts are so thrilling, and pretty much the only relevant part of hockey, we’re going to show this replay twice (don’t worry about the goals, guys, we’ll show you what’s really important)

-Oh, he made the save and the game is over

-The coach’s post-game comments! Look at how he rips the refs! Why is he ripping the refs, you ask? We have no idea! And neither do you, because we didn’t bother to show any of the controversial calls/non-calls…but I’ll be damned if a coach calling out the refs isn’t entertainment, even if there’s no context!

-The NHL Eastern Conference Standings, blah blah, …we apologize for that brief delay in which we didn’t relay actual sports news to you; we now return you to your regularly schedule programming, the wonderful Miami Heat!

-(I just want to clarify that I am not mocking John Buccigross, who covered the Classic and this segment here, or make him look bad; it’s not about him, and he did a great job with what he was given, and he does a good job covering hockey in the minimal time it’s allotted.)

You spent more time talking about a team (the Heat) that receives more coverage than the sports of hockey and soccer (two of the biggest sports in the world, and, despite your beliefs, both very popular sports in this nation) combined than you did the biggest hockey event of the season so far (it was sort of like the NHL’s Superbowl..they even had an unnecessary fly-over by jets and a crappy intermission musical performance). No, wait, let me clarify…you spent more time talking about an individual player who receives more coverage than the sports of hockey and soccer combined: Dwane Wade. As if LeBron wasn’t enough.

Well, to be fair, I can only assume he got that much coverage; my outrage caused me to immediately change the channel to anything else than your garbage, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. But, with nothing else on TV, what did I change it to, you ask? Looney Tunes. Yes, I would rather watch 50-year-old cartoons that I’ve seen hundreds of times as a child (OK, fine, also as an adult) than what’s supposed to be a live, daily update, complete with invigorating discussions, of what is happening in the great world of sports. Because, quite honestly, EPN (not a typo), finding out and analyzing how Bugs Bunny is going to outsmart Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and other great characters, is much more intellectually stimulating than finding out how LeBron James puts his pants on, which apparently, isn’t one leg at a time like the rest of us.

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