Is ESPN the New MTV?

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Is ESPN the New MTV?

Does everyone remember when MTV used to actually show music videos?

Everyone used to love them, 24 hours a day of non-stop music video action. Look at the channel now, and where do you find the videos? In a large nocturnal block, and wedged between useless teen drivel on Total Request Live. MTV has become a home for some pretty bad original network programming.

Now I know you’re asking yourself, "Why in the hell is he ranting about MTV in a column in the sports section?" Well, because I want you to ask yourself another question:

Remember when ESPN used to show sports?

Now I know that ESPN hasn’t gotten nearly as bad as MTV, but just step back and take a look at some of the stuff ESPN has been showing in the past few years: poker, dominoes, Scrabble, PTI, Around the Horn, Tilt, The Bronx is Burning.

Now I like some of these programs just as much as the next guy, but sometimes I want pure unadulterated sports action. I don’t want to have to listen to four sports writers argue topics all afternoon, I don’t want actors pretending to play sports, I don’t want pseudo-sports, I want the real deal.

Sure ESPN still has plenty of sports on in prime time, that is always going to be the network's bread and butter, but the same can also be said for it's almost obsessive coverage of the World Series of Poker.

It’s our afternoon block of ESPN that’s really been corrupted. I’d much rather watch an NFL yearbook from 1998 on the Chiefs, or how the Bulls took apart the Suns in the 1993 NBA playoffs, then to listen to Jim Rome find someway to say the same thing 15 different times while using different “witty” phrases. Or to have to hear anything that comes out of the mouth of Jay Mariotti.

Maybe I’m just paranoid, or maybe I’m just not ready for a change. But I also remember when I was a kid and could sit down and watch ESPN all afternoon and absorb almost an encyclopedic knowledge of great players and teams from the past. I just don’t get that opportunity anymore outside of ESPN Classic.

On the other hand, maybe I’m not paranoid—maybe ten years from now you’ll be calling me a prophet when we’re forced to watch Rome interview the hippest new athletes about the hottest new styles while we catch just a glimpse of the latest highlights on Sports Request Live.

Well I won’t subject myself to that kind of crap; I’ll be one of the purists watching Duke-North Carolina play at two o'clock in the morning.

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