Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Mayan Apocalypse: ESPN's coverage of the Jets

Okay, let's see a show of hands.

Who, outside of people who live in North Florida or in Bristol, Connecticut is tired of hearing non-stop endless stories about Tim Tebow?

And, if you aren't tired of it, I'd love to hear an explanation why....

For those of us who used to enjoy watching Sports on TV, this has now become a topic of conversation. And for the life of me, I have no idea why....

Sports has gone from a business of talking about the wins and losses, the big stories and crazy stories to ones that are now largely irrelevant to anyone outside a major TV market. Like a backup QB who is confused because he's still on the bench. Or the daily soap opera of a 5-8 NFL Team that nobody really cares about.

And there is one entity to blame for it all


No, I'll be critical of them, because at my age, I have no chance of them ever offering me a job. Plus, considering their fascination with things that don't fascinate fans outside of (a) New York, (b) Boston, (c) Los Angeles, (d) Chicago, (e) Miami or (f) Philadelphia, I'd probably be out of place.

What I'm having a hard time understanding is actually rather simple. Why do they KEEP talking about Tim Tebow or...The New York Jets. I turned on SportsCenter Thursday morning, and got 10-plus minutes worth of both.

Mind you, they were babbling on and making every analyst talk about a backup QB who is not of the ability to be a successful NFL QB and a team that is NOT in the playoff picture and is...well...just plain horrible.

But yet it tops Oklahoma City's NBA team winning 12 straight games. It tops the wind down of the NFL season. It tops Notre Dame's head coach winning coach of the year. It tops an ESPN analyst accusing Robert Griffin III of being too white.

Really, I guess you can't blame them for pandering.

Oh wait, yes I can.

Because that's exactly what they are doing. They are assuming that most of the audience is in New York or in the Northeast and will buy whatever they sell them. They also are well aware that when people like me get pissed and post rants such as this, it's free publicity. They know very well when Rob Parker or Skip Bayless make asinine statements on an obscure TV show, it's free publicity. And they know even if they don't source stories that came from someone else, nobody outside Twitter will care. And if they do and post something---again---free publicity.

When you are an "All-Powerful" entity who is basically unchallenged in the business, you get to dictate what is or isn't news. You get to dictate who is a "Big-Time" team and who isn't. You go to the teams or players where you believe "The Ratings" are. Or "The Advertisers".

Which is all well and good if it were something all of America was interested in. But lately, with them, it's not. You'll have to show me the research that says "Tebow" means ratings. I don't totally blame Tebow for this, but ESPN seems to have anointed him as some sort of "God-Like" figure even though he hasn't actually done anything.

Just ask now CBS radio host Doug Gottlieb about that.

And it isn't just ESPN. I know that. Heck, I get pissed off because Good Morning America (owned by same company) is 2 hours long and does 15-minutes of News before we get the latest on Lindsay Lohan. Or whatever other celebrity they deem "Newsworthy".

And, yeah, before you say it, I know I'm being unrealistic.

But am I?

I just don't understand how somebody who hasn't actually done anything warrants the attention that ESPN pays to Tebow? They had (forced) their NFL analysts to sing "Happy Birthday" to the guy. Seriously, it was on NFL Live, they did it. It was the first block of SportsCenter.

Am I being too harsh or cynical here?

Do you really care that much about who the starting QB is for the New York Jets this week? Do you want to know that badly why Jets owner Woody Johnson signed Tebow to a contract? Do you really want to listen to douche-bag extrordinaire Skip Bayless troll on-and-on about how great Tebow is? Is it worth mentioning at all? Arguably. But no more so than any other story of changes on any other football team.

Oh, and I forgot the daily live Sal Palantonio report during training camp. Because by god--the Jets were going to the "Playoffs". That worked out real well, didn't it?

Somehow I've missed the lead story on the collapse of the Bears. Or how the Chiefs are recovering from the Jovan Belcher incident. Or how the Cowboys are handling the Jerry Brent story.

Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am that "Out of Touch". Maybe I am too "Old-School". Or maybe I have a vendetta? Or maybe I just "Don't get it?" After all, TV can't report on stories that interest everyone, right?

It's just really hard for me to get past the "We're ESPN, we'll tell you what you like" mentality. As much as I don't want to watch them, there's nowhere to turn. They own the BCS. All of it. They own NBA hoops, a percentage of it anyway. Thank god I don't have to watch them for NFL or baseball coverage.

Oh, did we mention they are behind all the college football teams changing conferences? Eh...that is another rant for another day....

((NOTE---I'm a 24-year veteran of the TV business. I was a Sports Producer and Photographer for 12 of those years. Just in case you were wondering))

No comments:

Post a Comment