Thursday, November 6, 2008

ESPN = One big blog

Following the ESPN mandate of "Don't report bad things about Brett Favre" and their eventual "caving in" on the subject when Favre himself finally came forth, I made a decision. I wiped ESPN and ESPN2 (the only ones I get) from my channel list on my TV. Tony Kornheiser has become insufferable on PTI (and MNF, but I'll get to that in a second) and OpinionCenter -- I mean, CowboysCenter -- I mean, FavreCenterButOnlyWhenWeWantTo -- I mean, SportsCenter -- has only been vaguely watchable for some time. I can get my NFL coverage from the web or other networks on Sunday morning, so, really, what's left to watch? What am I missing?

The answer: not much. And I'm OK with it, after two weeks and counting.

And really, that's the only thing that will work. I'm not hooked up to a Nielsen box or anything, and I don't expect everyone else to shut out ESPN from their lives, but as long as people keep watching to see how Terrell Owens feels about Brad Johnson as his quarterback or what Woody Paige or Skip Bayless (two of the biggest wastes of air time on the whole network -- and if you don't believe me, read this) think about, well, anything, they'll keep shoving it down our throats.

So I don't watch it any more. I don't need half-educated opinions spouted at me from someone who claims to be an "expert." I can get just as good commentary from the web (especially some of the spectacular blogs I frequent). I have allowed myself, though, to watch actual sporting events, such as Monday Night Football and some college games. But all the noise and clutter and "to win in the NFL all you have to do is run the ball and stop the run" -- yeah, I don't need that.

In effect, ESPN has become a blog. It's full of people offering up their opinions on whatever the heck they feel like, only occasionally supported by facts and research, which is about the same level of quality "journalism" you get on the web. Let's face it: There's a lot of crap out there on the Internet. When you give people an essentially unfiltered platform to say whatever they want, they will, and a lot of it won't be very good. Unfortunately, ESPN has essentially given that same platform to many of its "personalities" (as long as they don't talk bad about Brett Favre) and the quality of their programming has likewise suffered for it.

I like to think that, as ESPN continues, people my age or younger, who actually understand the Internet and that the wide percentage of sports journalism is actually do-able by more people than the professionals would like us to believe, will eventually move into positions of power at the network and present more capable, more rational coverage that actually uses facts instead of opinions to push their stories. Heck, I could even live with feel-good, human interest stuff, like on E60. Because, you know, that actually resembles journalism. I can't go to a pro athlete and ask him about the car accident he was in when he was a kid and how it changed his life. When two guys are arguing about whether Kerry Collins will lead the Titans to the Super Bowl, using whatever flimsy arguments they feel like at the time, that's something you or I or any of those "uneducated masses" on the Internet could do.

And why should I watch on TV something I can get just as easily from the Internet or, even better, do up myself? Since I can't play football myself, I'll watch football on the station. And sometimes the actual anaysis (like what Ron Jaworski used to do in breaking down plays -- does he still do that ever?) is really good. But I don't need four weeks of how the Cowboys will be affected by Tony Romo's thumb injury, especially when every analyst -- every damn one I heard -- said Brad Johnson, who was 40 years old and hadn't been good in three years -- would do just fine. Guess what? He's 40 years old and hasn't been good in three years. He wasn't fine. Can't wait to hear all the talk this weekend about how Daunte Culpepper (who hasn't been good in four years) will be just what the Lions need. (He won't.)

And see? I can tell you that without you paying the cable company. Unless you go through them for your Internet, that is.

1 comment:

Cortney said...

Hah, you're completely right. And their hockey coverage is CRAP. And yet they continue to be one of the top sports coverage franchises in the world.

p.s. thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I added you to mine, too :-)