I’ve been a New York sports fan for my entire life, and I could never imagine anything else. It’s all about big hype, big spotlight and big stars—and subsequent big failure, big scapegoating and big controversy. You’ll find similar behavior everywhere, but only a few select markets have their happenings strewn about the country for all to witness.
Normally, this is all good news. I like that my favorite teams and players get the camera time and in-depth analysis. I like that, even when anyone with an eye or two can tell that our team is hopeless and overrated, some television personality feels obligated to chime in, “Hey, they could make a run!” And when things do proceed to go horribly wrong, I just need to turn on my TV to find someone with whom I can share my discontent.
But, like all of life's pleasures, you can have too much of a good thing.
The Jets may not have signed on for another season of Hard Knocks, but ESPN has adopted the belief that, without unrelenting attention, millions of people will be rushing out for green nicotine patches.
First Take might as well be called First, Second and Third Tebow. The Numbers Never Lie must have made some seriously complicated calculations to deduce that exclusive Jets coverage will earn them more viewers. I’d argue they miscalculated, but alas…
Not that the talking heads/maidens and their mid-day shows are ever an interesting source of sports happenings, but they aren’t even trying anymore.
Luckily for me, the only time I see this debauchery of sports journalism is while I am at the gym, a place where I can exchange the mind-numbingly redundant commentary with my iPhone playlist of choice. Things have become so bad that I actually spend more time following the closed caption of Dr. Oz and the commercials of attractive-middle-aged-women-eating-125-calorie-granola-bars that come with his riveting program.
For most frequenters of sports news outlets, mocking the likes of Skip Bayless has become as stale as his shtick, so I won’t proceed any further. The real tragedy though, is that this fixation on the Jets has smothered legitimate reporters. Training camp is always going to be busy for someone who covers the Giants, Jets and Eagles, but poor Sal Paolantonio might as well be chained to Woody’s Johnson. Can someone please get him a goddamn snack?
When New York acquired Tebow this past spring, many media members wondered if the move was made for the sole purpose of reeling attention away from their Super Bowl Champion neighbors. The great irony is that they are the ones who hold the answer. They are the ones who decide who will get the front page and who will get thrown aside.
It has to take a sledgehammering effort to make me repulsed by the mere mention of the team I love so dearly. Allow me to express my deepest sympathies to fans of any other American sports team. If I am uninterested in Tebow’s rain-soaked abs, Rex Ryan’s lap band or whether or not Antonio Cromartie is the second best wide receiver on the team, surely you could not possibly care less.
Many of the offseasons’s best stories have been buried underneath this pile of dreck. How is Baltimore recovering after losing the Defensive Player of the Year? Has San Francisco done enough to win one more game than they did last year? Can the AFC even come close to competing with the NFC? I’d gladly exchange 10 hours of Jets coverage with 10 hours of Andrew Luck.
Of course, this green plastering is only going to get worse. If Tim Tebow can dominate national headlines in Denver and the Jets organization can make the front page without any actual news, just image what is going to happen when the regular season starts.
I would advise you to stop imagining (I don’t want you to hurt yourself), but maybe we should all just start preparing ourselves for what is sure to be the most redundant of NFL seasons. Regardless of whether the Jets’ 2012 campaign proves to be a turnaround or a disaster, I will be sure to limit my viewing of them to Sundays and Mondays.