About a month or so ago, I was stuck in jury duty with no cell phone. Desperately seeking to pass the time, I moved over to a seat in front of the television tuned to ESPN, and watched Sportscenter for the first time in almost a year.
It. Was. Rough. Highlights of sporting events were far and few between, replaced by the bombastic analysis of human cartoon character Herman Edwards and a made-up debate about whether LeBron James should dunk in preseason games.
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At one point, Sportscenter was one of my favorite shows. I’d wake up early to watch highlights before I left for school, and would rush home to see what I might have missed. But the show I fell in love it, with smart and funny anchors like Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick being funny, is dead.
And what replaced it is the zombie apocalypse of sports shows.
First of all, I don’t buy the argument that people don’t want to watch highlights thanks to the internet. They may not want to watch boring highlights, but give them a good personality to follow and I bet they’ll turn on ESPN no matter how fast their internet speed is. Even if I’ve already seen highlights of Sunday’s football action, I’d still turn in to ESPN “Primetime” just to her Chris Berman and Tom Jackson’s take on all the football action that day.
In a way, it’s no different that following a podcast – it’s all about personality.
But let’s say I did buy that lame argument that the internet killed the enjoyment of watching highlights. I certainly wouldn’t replace it with increasingly-loud talking heads spewing indefensible positions in a desperate attempt to garner ratings.
“The Houston Texans will forever regret it if they do not take Johnny Manziel!” “Women help provoke domestic violence!” “Derek Jeter is a fraud!” I can hear Anchorman’s Brick Tamland off in the background yelling, “Loud noises!”
The hot takes are just one part of the problem. The other is the endless parade of analysts and experts who tell me who parrot talking points about what’s going to happen in a game I’m preparing to watch later tonight. I just want scores, highlights and a quote for to. Take your “QB you’d want to start a team” time fillers and give them to Buzzfeed.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the effort, Trent Dilfer, but I don’t think it needs to be said that, “you can’t lose games in the NFL and still win.”
And for the record, I don’t need to see Kobe Bryant’s stats compared to an actual black mama.
It’s not that difficult, ESPN. Hire smart, funny sports personalities and set them lose. Make Sportscenter great again.
I think I saw that on a hat somewhere. – Rob Tornoe