(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.