There's no denying that ESPN is a big reason why we, as a country, love sports. I mean seriously, would there even be a single superstar like there is today without it?
Larger-than-life athletes are as such because we can see their heroics on a daily highlight reel. That's just something a newspaper cannot compensate for.
But are we really content the way ESPN gives us, as men, our fundamental need for sports? I understand that no company is perfect,especially one that employs Skip Bayless (though it tries to compensate by banishing him to ESPN2) but ESPN really doesn't come close. There's a lot of room for improvement with the world wide leader in sports.
Part of the problem lies in its lack of competition.
ESPN has a monopoly on sports channels in America. The only other sports channels are regional or Versus, which nobody watches. Canada has several sports channels such as TSN, The Score and Rogers Sportsnet.
If a country that really only has one true love when it comes to sports can have several sports channels, why can a country 10 times the size have a few more?
The following is a list of the irks and bothers that ESPN has bestowed on to me. For some, this list may be smaller than the odds that John Clayton would ever be chosen first in a pickup football game, but I like to think that there's room for improvement.
It makes sense that ESPN plays favorites. It's a business so it's only natural that the big market teams are the ones featured prominently on the network. But that doesn't make it right.
The Yankees, Red Sox, Heat, Patriots, Celtics, Lakers, Cowboys, Cubs, Mets, Giants and many others like them now have regional coverage supplied by ESPN.
Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago all have full teams dedicated to the sole coverage of teams in those cities. If you don't fall under that jurisdiction and don't have a superstar like Lebron James, good luck. ESPN doesn't like you.
The system is fundamentally biased against cinderella stories. Events like Sunday Night Baseball and Monday Night Football are planned before the season.
If you're not a perenial contender and you aren't located in a big market, then you're not going to get much national coverage.
If I ever get to ask ESPN President George Bodenheimer one question, it'll be about the top 10. There has never been a time where I thought they got the order even remotely correct, excluding the not top 10.
It's usually a complete joke especially in the summer. Routine ground balls make up seven of the 10, soccer counts for two and some other sport squeezes in with one.
But what are the credentials for the ranking system? What decides which plays is the sixth best vs. the fifth best? Who makes these lists? ESPN doesn't tell anyone.
It's a fallacy that no one seems to have a problem with. But I'm tired of seeing the same routine top 10 day after day.
The top 10 is only good during football season. Football is the only sport that regularly features both offense and defense in the top 10.
Was anybody else really not that impressed with the Blake Griffin dunk? It was cool the first time I saw it, but I mean seriously. What business does a scripted dunk have in any "Play of the Year" discussion?
There was a poll on SportCenter asking if it was better than Wade Rooney's bicycle kick goal. I want to fire/strangle whoever thought there was even a debate there.
One was scripted, one was not. Comparable? I don't think so.
If something as set up as that is a contender for play of the year, I wonder why ESPN doesn't include professional wrestling highlights.
It wasn't even that great of a dunk. Had he not jumped over the hood of a car, a height that's not that impressive in any other context, no one would've cared.
At least afford Rooney the opportunity to bicycle kick the soccer ball through the window of a car to even the playing field.
Or permit the use of cars on the basketball court. Though that would mirror the movie Rollerball, which I'm sure no one wants..
Equality in the workplace is important for most professions. There are a few where exceptions are made. Woman firefighters have a tough time getting work and female SportsCenter anchors suffer similar uphill battles.
But men will tolerate a girl's opinion on sports. The first round of Around the Horn occasionally includes Jackie MacMullan before she is eliminated. Everything in moderation.
Except Erin Andrews. ESPN needs to indulge in more of her. Perhaps maybe banish Hannah Storm to ESPN2 to spice up morning SportsCenter with a little more of Erin.
As a Red Sox fan, I'm spoiled to have the stunning Heidi Klum on TV between innings. This can be compensated for by giving Erin Andrews more time on the air.
Maybe co-host a show with Terrell Owens? I'd watch...
Why does Jim Rome get to speak on national television five days a week? The man is literally everything that is wrong with the world.
Who likes a guy that will talk smack about an athlete one day and then suck up to him or her in an interview the next day? He takes brown noser to an extreme comparable to the Cubs World Series drought.
For a guy who markets himself as a badass, Jim Rome is one of the biggest pansies on the network.
Maybe Erin Andrews should be given his show and Jim Rome and his douche bag goatee can find employment in other fields.
That's why I'm burning...
Tony Reali pollutes two perfectly good shows. Around the Horn is a great combination of competition and sports anaylsis. Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon have great chemistry. But Reali puts a damper on the whole hour of television.
His point system makes no sense and makes decisions based on what he personally believes rather than quality of the argument. His jokes aren't funny. His haircut makes him look like a tool and so does his slick attitude.
I'm glad I don't host PTI because if I had to put up with that man telling me the mistakes I made on a daily basis, I would be in jail for murder.
Jay Mariotti probably would've too if they weren't separated by TVs. Reali should be charged as an accesory for driving Jay insane.
Let's make a decision. Let's give the biggest ego in sports his own primetime special to tell the world where he wants to play basketball.
The Decision may be the lowest point that ESPN has ever sunk to.
Everyone knows that ESPN loves the big teams but never in its history has it loved an athlete quite like LeBron James.
Look at the recent NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitski and the Mavericks took their talents to both Dallas and South Beach, yet all ESPN really cared about was how LeBron was going to perform. It was a truly disgusting case of nepotism.
Did ESPN ever really care that The King acted like a baby during and after the finals? No.
I guess love is blind...
This is where the business element really plays in. ESPN makes its money from its coverage of the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA football and basketball.
But that doesn't stop ESPN from trying to give the impression that its regular commentators know anything about hockey, soccer, horse racing or any another sport.
The top 10 in the summer always includes at least two soccer plays. Does the rest of the broadcast include soccer? Maybe one or two matchups. Why even bother...
Who even tunes into ESPN to see soccer? No one. They watch something else. This one foot in the door, one foot out attitude that ESPN has needs to end. It's helping no one.
It's no wonder that everyone makes a big deal when Barry Melrose is on. He's the only one in the building that can name all 30 NHL teams.
It's not as though ESPN can't dedicate more of its broadcast to other sports. It's afternoon lineup mostly includes shows where people talk about the exact same issues for hours on end. Why not give out more specialty shows.
Oh right, ratings...
I doubt Brett Favre would play all his games if it wasn't for ESPN. You can hardly blame him, who wouldn't want to stay in the spotlight when a network will air highlight reels of you every time you post something on twitter.
Brett Favre loves attention. Who gives him more attention than anyone?
I guarantee Brett Favre would stop jerking the world around if ESPN just stopped talking about him. Divas can't be Divas if no one gives them attention.
Though Brett Favre has non football highlight reels that he likes to show people...
The ESPYs are a joke. There's nothing quite like watching a few hours of inside jokes hosted by one of the unfunniest Weekend Update anchors in recent memory.
Has a single athlete ever been proud of his or her ESPY win? Can anyone name more than five ESPY winners?
There's a reason the ESPYs don't play a factor in Hall of Fame voting. No one cares about them. It's even less legitimate than the Golden Globes...
Justin Bieber was featured prominently, need I say more?
At least they sacked Olbermann. Though employing him in the first place was grounds for another slide.
Hope you enjoyed my 10 biggest gripes with ESPN.
If you've got your own, please post it in the comment section.
Thanks for reading.