Sunday, December 14, 2008

Somehow, ESPN Has Messed Up the SportsCenter Formula

As I continue to live out my dream of one day studying law, I happen to be stuck in the middle of finals right now. Thus I have not been posting much. But I thought I would take a brief study break to bitch and moan for just a second.

Sunday nights in December are big for SportsCenter. The NFL is America's most popular sport, and there were 14 NFL games today and not much else going on in the world of sports. Many of these games were exciting and important. I have been watching tonight's SportsCenter for 26 minutes now- do you know how many games I've seen highlights from? Two. 2. The integer between 1 and 3. FUCKING TWO. (Dallas/New York and Indy/Detroit.) And why is that? What has ESPN been showing, instead of highlights from any of the twelve other games that happened today (including Pittsburgh/Baltimore, Buffalo/New York, and Atlanta/Tampa Bay, all of which had cool endings and playoff implications)? Because apparently it's absolutely critical that we watch each and every single fucking minute of Wade Phillips, TO, and Tony Romo's postgame press coferences. Of the (now) 28 minutes I've wasted watching this, about 16 of them have been spent watching reporters lob softball at those idiots, and then watching the idiots lob cliches right back. How compelling.

Fuck. This.

As far as I can tell, ESPN's line of thinking is as follows: there are two types of people who may watch SC. Those that are general sports fans, and those who are only fans of a certain team (relevant to their concerns, we're talking specifically about the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cowboys, Lakers, Notre Dame, and maybe a couple others). Now, granted, that first group would be happiest if we spread our coverage around and actually showed highlights from a large variety of games. But the second group will lose interest unless we're talking about their teams. So here's the key: if we devote a painfully disproportionate amount of time to those "chosen" teams, we'll pick up a ton of viewers from that second group. And while that's happening... viewers from the first group will begrudgingly stick around. After all, they're sports fans! Even if they hate the Yankees, they'd rather watch 10 minutes of John Kruk talking about how C.C. Sabathia is a good pitcher who will help New York than change the channel. And you know what? At least in my case, they're right. I hate to admit it, but I'm a member of that first group and they have my preferences absolutely pegged. Good for them.

It's pretty sad, really. If my TV had a Nielsen ratings box, I'd have to change my viewing habits and stop playing along with their games. As things stand, I'll just have to get the anger out of my system by posting stuff like this on teh blogoblogs. Hopefully it's as therapeutic for you as it is for me.

Before I go- We're now at 35 minutes and counting. Still no new highlights, just four minutes of Trent Dilfer telling me why this game showed what kind of a football team the Cowboys are, for going out with all their football players and making football plays on the football field to win this football game. Oh, and I wish I were making this up, but they're also now showing the Cowboys/Giants highlights again... and... wait for it... recapping the TO interview footage.

Fuck you with the useful end of a rake, SportsCenter producers.


Anonymous said...

Like you, Larry B, I would consider myself a part of the "general sports fans" group and I most certainly share your frustration. Ironically, being a Notre Dame fan as well as a Cubbies fan, I am ostensibly confirming your postulation because of my concordance--especially tonight--what with neither of my teams being involved in the main discussions and not being satisfied (Cubs and Notre Dame, both of which you so graciously applied to Group #B). In all honesty though, I could give a shit and a half (and i do...sometimes) about Charlie Weis and the exhausted topic of his eventual firing after 2009's painfully easy season or the over-evaluated and long-winded "analysis" of the Peavy deal (or lack thereof)and would much rather prefer revisiting a game with actual NFL or athletic/competitive importance. Cowboys-Giants? TO is too much of a bitch to gratify his over-inflated ego, but they do it anyway. And Indy-Detroit? I just think it's pathetic a team is 0-14 and could care less about how Peyton seems to have shrugged off early season jitters and off-timings and is now "starting to see the benefit" of relying on tide end Dallas Clark. Please. The only things I see more every single day are the 400+ pound behemoths going to clinic every day wondering why they're short of breath and have high blood pressures. At least this late at night they have the Girls Gone Wild infomercials on Comedy Central....

Anonymous said...

O. And awesome job guys!!!! Pnoles, some beer pongings are in order. And your mom's VORP is higher than yours (remember that one game with the umpire hitting on her?? ahh good times)

yournamehere said...

Hey, I'm a Cowboys fan and I didn't want to see those news conferences. I wanted to see highlights of all the games so I turned over to the NFL Network.

Larry B said...

Nicely done, YourName. I wish my cable package included NFLN. I guess there's always ESPNews, but they go through stuff so quickly. Plus they don't use the "Blitz" soundtrack.

Martin said...

I think that huge amounts of people fall into the "B" category for one team or another, like our Cubs fan above, who end up being an "A" category fan for all other sports. I'm a Laker fan, but don't have a dog in the hunt for the NFL, so to speak. I want to wach highlights of all the games. 14 games, man give me 3 minutes of highlights of each, a couple basketball scores, and I'm happy with that hour.

I think that for as much as ESPN has pushed fantasy the last couple years, they'd realize people want to know what THEIR players did. Single team loyalty is not strong at this time of the year for all the fans whose teams are dead in teh water, or like me, live in a city with no team. (Kiss my ass NFL, Los Angeles ain't paying for your stadium...bring on the doubleheaders!) I'm getting a TIVO this year, and Sunday Sportscener is gonna be forward to The something else when it's done.

Jack M said...

Aside from the lack of a "Paradise Lost" tag, I agree with everything this post elucidated.

I'd like to add that about 8 years ago, Inside the NFL was one of my favorite shows. Now it is one of the most intolerable shows on television due to the infusion of non-stop discussions over trivial bullshit.

Not to sound all elitist, but if you want to see what SportCenter used to resemble, watch ESPN's Champions League Review show, or Fox Soccer Channels reproduction of Sky Sport's Premiere League Review show. Here's the crazy thing about these shows, they show every exciting moment from every played that week in 30 and 60 minutes respectively. How do they manage that? By not filling it with bullshit. Also, they hype the games based not on who played in them, but how well they were played. Insane, right?


You might think that getting that TIVO will make ESPN as sweet as some sort of Oreo McFlurry combined with a BJ, but in reality it will not. It'll only further highlight just how beyond stupid the recap shows on ESPN are. Example:

This past summer, the Orioles, beat up on the Yankees or Sawx(I can't remember), and I was all happy about it. Later, I sat down and fast forwarded through SportsCenter hoping to find some highlights...nothing except the Sawx scoring their 2 runs. "No problem," said I, I'll just watch my Tivo'ed Baseball Tonight. They show 1 good Orioles play before immediately jumping into a discussion about what needs to be done to fix the Yankees/Sawx.

Angelo said...

I started watching sportscenter (this morning, so I was guided by the what's next menu) and turned it off after 5 minutes of cowboys-giants shit. Jack- I would agree with the CL Review if they didn't have Tommy on it, because he's an annoying jackass, and I wish I had FSC. CL pairings this week Larry- it's my year (maybe)

Chris W said...

I haven't read this whole post yet, although I'm sure I'll agree with it 100% but can I just say Littman pwned the shit out of you?

"Though Bailey sells mattresses on Craigslist, he hopes to one day study law."

At that moment of our respective lives, I was relatively uninformed about your life situation. I was legitimately worried you turned out to be a FAILURE. All because of Littman. Imagine if your fambly had seen that!

Chris W said...

Ok. Just read it, and predictably, I agree 100%.

Fuck man, even when I was in South Bend watching Comcast Sports Net spend 20 minutes with bullshit interviews of Ozzie and Paul Konerko (shudder), I was bored to tears. I want highlights and results. I don't want some dumb fuckface waving his soft-lob pap smear of a microphone in some dumb jock with nothing to say's face.

Press conferences suck.

Analysis by dumb jocks (read: Anyone but John Clayton, Ron Jaworski, Chris Fowler, Tim Kirkjaan, or Peter Gammons) sucks.

Budweiser Hot Seats and Coors Light Six Packs suck.

The Sunday Conversation sucks unless Keyshawn's interviewing CJ.

Sportscenter's a fucking goof up. I have literally stopped watching it. There's nothing to see there. Even when they do show non SNF highlights it's like two plays taken more or less out of context that tell you nothing about the game at hand, and some analysts watching even more out of context game film to try to establish that Joe Flacco's a brilliant QB rather than the hit or miss rookie he is.

Piss on Old Time Sports Journalism. Piss on Eddie Shore

Jarrett said...

And to make up for their fucking with SC, they just cram more shit into the ticker. What the fuck is with "The Lead?" Remember when the ticker showed up only at 28/58 and never on Sportscenter? Now it tells you that Jason Elam kicked the GW FG in OT, but only after Matt Bryant kicked a game tying field goal with 44 seconds left after the Bucs blocked a punt. How exciting! I just wish there was a way in this technological age for us to see this happen. Maybe they can find the highlights on YouTube and put it up for us.

dan-bob said...

I'm pretty sure that, while sneaking a glance at ESPN the other day, I saw a score update on the bottom line:




LKJelkvjnakvjn slkjvnlkjnvskjnv

Bengoodfella said...

I could not agree with this post anymore than I do. Where I live there are more Cowboys fans than cockroaches, though they are similar in my opinion, which makes sense because I do live 1,118 miles from Dallas, Texas. I get so tired of ESPN throwing the Cowboys successes and failures down our throats.

I wish ESPN would place an embargo on any extra coverage of Dallas until they win a playoff game this millenium. I don't give a shit about T.O. and who he likes or doesn't like on the team, I don't give a shit about Tony Romo and which retarded ass person he is dating. I wish they could understand this. What makes them so important? They are a borderline playoff team at best and it makes me so happy to know my favorite team can clinch a spot if they lose another game. Please let this happen.

Djmmm said...

Not sure if you're serious about studying law someday. If you are... DON'T DO IT. It is three years of misery.

cs said...

Can you imagine what the two weeks before the Superbowl would be like if the Cowboys won the NFC Championship game this year?

And yes, I know that would require the Cowboys to actually win a playoff game, and then two more.

And, didn't Jerry Jones look a little too excited by that week 15 win last night? That was playoff-caliber celebrating right there, capped by his granddaughters rushing into his arms, like they were just released from a three week hostage situation, and then huge smiles and laughing all around.

Jesus, act like you've been there.

Bengoodfella said...

I can't even fathom what I would do if the Super Bowl was Cowboys v. Patriots or Cowboys v. anyone in the world. I would probably ignore the television for two solid whole weeks, and then watch the game on mute.

I am getting sick thinking about this. I get so sick of the Cowboy love that goes on in America. It is an epidemic.

Djmmm said...

I get so sick of the Cowboy love that goes on in America.

Yeah, I hated Brokeback Mountain, too.

Bengoodfella said...

Pretty good one. I never proofread my comments so I had no idea I typed that. I never saw Brokeback Mountain, but I am going to just say I hate the Cowboys more than the movie.

That maybe the first time ever I have used the words "Cowboy love" as well.

Martin said...

Some fine person pointed out how they don't even get the highlights in order, which I have to agree annoys me to no end. Made up example, they'll show a highlight of Hines Ward making a great catch and run, and the little scoreboard in the background will say

Pittsburgh 7
San Diego 10

And they'll then talk about how it lead up to a field goal to tie the game. The next highlight will be Rivers hitting Gates for a play to the 1 yard line and they go "But the Chargers come right back", while the little scoreboard on teh screen says

Pittsburgh 0
San Diego 3

They do the same thing with baseball, espescially showing strikeouts from early in teh game, when the previous highlight was from, say, the 7th inning.

Games are linear fellas, for fucks sake, quit trying to create more drama and lie about when things took place in the game. Just show me what happened, when it happened, and I'll be happy.

I have to agree that the Fox Soccer round up show is excellent at doing exactly this. A great play in a Fulton vs Stoke City is still a great play, and they treat it as such. If the Liverpool vs Chelsea game is shit, they'll pretty much say so. I jsut can't believe Aston Villa is in 4th right now!

Larry B said...

Gelo- it is never your year. Ever.

Djmmm- That article is from a year ago when I was still a free man. I am now already one semester into the misery. And yes, it is misery. But that's another story.

dan-bob said...


Chris W said...


acknowlede the pwnage handed you in that article.

pnoles said...


First of all, who are you?

Second of all, what are "beer pongings"? I write for a blog and live in a basement and don't have any friends. My mom doesn't let me drink beer. You need to be more specific, or you're not batting leadoff next season.


Anonymous said...

hahahahaha! good one pnoles! ST Elmo's Fiiiirreeee

pnoles said...


Martin said...

Dan-Bob, how the hell did I miss that posting? It's all the crack they put on Frosted Flakes now isn't it?