The decline and fall of ESPN




Like many of you, I took in quite a bit of televised sports over the Thanksgiving weekend.  One night, while watching my beloved Tar Heels on ESPN, I had a spit-out-my-drink-in-disbelief moments.  (I think they call those ‘spit-takes’ in Hollywood.)

During a Sports Center update, the announcer was narrating some highlights of previous games, and tossing out lame one-liners like someone thinks he’s funny.  THIS ONE was what caught my attention:

“So, the Harvard Crimson knock off the ACC’s Florida State Seminoles, giving the men from Cambridge a chance to say ‘We’re better than you, and SMARTER.’  Speaking of SMART, President Obama was in the house for Oregon State-Towson State. … ”

Really, Mr. snarky metrosexual?  You look at Mr.” 57-states-Hawaii-is-in-Asia-can’t-put-three-coherent-sentences-together-without-a-teleprompter” and you think ‘Smart’ ?  RIGHT. 

If I had the chance to do Sports Center following the Heels’ loss to UNLV, here is what I would have done:

“So, you can sum up the Heels’ night in the championship game in two words: POOR PERFORMANCE.  Speaking of poor performance, BarryO is our president … “

ESPN has given us Keith Olbermann, those empty headed sideline bimbos interviewing the point guard’s mom while important stuff is happening on court, and the incessant yammering and screaming of Dick Vitale.  They chased Rush Limbaugh off of their NFL pregame for speaking the truth: Donovan McNabb is overrated as a quarterback, and is being propped up by a liberal media eager to see a black quarterback succeed.  (I was on the treadmill at the gym the other day, watching ESPN.  The guys on-camera were all talking about how overrated McNabb is and how he need to quit.   THOSE GUYS are still on the air with ESPN.)

Remember Don Meredith and Cosell doing Monday Night Football?  Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf and Al Michaels?  John Madden and Pat Summerall?  The team of Jim Nantz and Brent Musberger ran circles around ANYONE ESPN has doing college basketball.  I once watched an entire basketball game played by Clemson and Virginia Tech.  I don’t have a dog in that fight.  What made it so neat was that Bobby Knight and Brent Musberger were calling the game for the regional ACC Network.  That was an amazing amount of talent and knowledge behind the mike that day.

It drives me nuts to watch one of my favorite teams on ESPN, and have to listen to two blow-dried metrosexuals talk about everything BUT what’s happening on the court or on-field.  I often find myself straining to hear the P.A. announcer at the stadium announce what the call was or who the foul was on, or how many fouls player X has.  I have tried muting the TV sound and turning on the radio play-by-play.  (Those radio guys STILL know how to call a game.)  The delay between the video of the TV and the radio’s audio can be frustrating, but at least I don’t have to listen to the yammering of those ESPN idiots.  At least I can find out what the call was, or why so-and-so is not in the game.

It’s frustrating that ESPN has cornered the market for coverage of so many games.  They have quantity down pat.  How about QUALITY?  Lay off the BarryO-smooching, the Coach K worshipping, the political correctness, and the overall yammering.  Focus more on letting those of us who could not get tickets to this game know the vitals: Like how many fouls Tyler Zeller has, or who made that shot, or why Harrison Barnes is not in the game.