Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Problem With Monday Night Football (and therefore America)

Television play-by-play is dead. We've skipped the description of the game and gone straight to the analysis. We've replaced the one neutral observer and one color commentator formula with a setup involving three opinionators fighting for mic time. This was painfully evident in last night's Monday Night Football double header as we had three talking heads in the booth of each game, each trying to out-snark and out-opine each other.

For example, during the late 4th quarter of the Green Bay-Minnesota game there was an interception that sealed it for the Packers, and instead of describing what was going on while it was going on we heard commentators chiming in with "just go down, Atari [the players first name, not a game console] nothing good can come from this." All through the first half we were treated to confronting opinions on what should be happening while other things were actually happening, along with constant bickering and laughing when things either worked out of fell apart.

During the Denver-Oakland game I actually heard two different commentators say "nice pass" while the play was going on, no one mentioning the fact that the receiver was still on his feet nearing the goal line.

This is all great for the sports talk shows that make a living on having two or more blowhards argue about meaningless crap. "Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in the league," or "is Brett Favre still Brett Favre or is he Joe Montana on the Chiefs?" What? But if the game is actually going on either tell me what's happening or shut the F up.

You could say that since the game is on t.v. we don't need play by play at all because we can see what's happening, and that's a valid argument. But if so then save the analysis and arguing for the replay and pipe down during the ten seconds while things are actually happening. If I want to hear annoying chatter while the game is going on I'll watch it in a bar with a bunch of drunks (which I do regularly).

Perhaps it's a little silly to be the only one annoyed that for every fact reported on t.v. there are 40 opinions trying to tell me what to think about that fact.

Maybe I'm just cranky thinking it's a problem that in order to get ratings networks replace reporting with arguments and people yelling at cross purposes, taking journalism to the level of the Jerry Springer Show or Jenny Jones.

I mean, what would happen if instead of reporting facts altogether we just put a bunch of people on t.v. who argued and passed off their opinions as relevant?

Oh, that's right, we'd get a lot stupider and the world would go to hell.

Good thing it's only football.

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