8.31.2005

espn quick hits

1) i've been meaning to do this for a while, but i wanted to weigh in on espn's 50 states in 50 days that they've been running nightly on sportscenter and on espn.com. every day they've been profiling a different state in terms of its sports culture. usually this consists of going to a small town or an obscure sporting event held in the state and talking to the yokels about how sports affects their life. it completely sucks. for the past month, the life force has been completely sucked out of me as i watch some toothless hick talk about how if he didn't have the local minor league team, he wouldn't know what to do with himself. i understand that sports media outlets have to try and expand their markets by running these kinds of human interest stories, but i'm sick of it. as i've argued before, i think people don't watch sports because of the trite stories about how sports mirror real life and i don't give a crap about people overcoming hardships in other parts of their lives to excel at sports. i, and most other people watch it for the spectacle of the body. we want to see athletes excel in ways we could never imagine. and yes, for dudes, it is also a homoerotic thing where we can admire male bodies without being gay. i don't care about the turkey races in b.f.e. or how some small town raised money for a hockey rink. and as if that wasn't bad enough, sports illustrated already did this a couple of years ago. most people who watch espn already saw this and was as equally whipped by it, and i think espn is just completely alienating its core audience. show me michael vick throwing a ball 50 yards in the air off of his back foot over the cow chip tossing contest in oklahoma any day.

2) in their football preview, espn is also running a series of lists regarding franchises. so far, they've published a list for the top 10 efficient franchises, the top 10 stable franchises, and today the top 10 franchises that have the best chemistry. here are their rankings so far.

rankmost efficientmost stablebest chemistry
1NENENE
2PHIPHIPIT
3PITPITIND
4INDINDBAL
5BALDENCAR
6NYJBALPHI
7GBGBATL
8DENSEAKC
9KCKCGB
10CARCARDEN

now i know that as with all lists, that there is a certain amount of subjectivity on the part of the author. but usually, there is some kind of objective criteria for ranking as well. however, in this case, all espn did was poll its five football writers. so the result of course is a list that basically a list of the ten best teams. i find this extremely problematic, because why don't they just give us a list of the ten best franchises and forego making distinctions between completely subjective concepts such as efficiency and stability.

for example, they could have easily counted something like the number of low draft picks that play at least 30% of the snaps at their position. for stability, they could have have counted the number of front office personnel or coaches with a tenure of 5 or more years. for chemistry, they could have measured the length of the quarterback-wide reciever tenure. it's really not that hard to come up with different more objective measures of these concepts. by just asking writers who they think is the most efficient team or who the most stable team is they will always answer the most winningest teams (re: NE asskissing fest), which really doesn't tell us anything interesting about how winning football franchises are put together. even worse, there are some extremely questionable choices on the list. for example, even with all of the crap going on in philly with T.O. and the rest of the team, you're gonna tell me that there's no bad blood in the lockerroom. i don't think so.

now i'm not against these kinds of lists as their always somewhat informative. for example, before baseball season they polled scouts about who had the best outfield arm, who threw the best fastball, who was the best base stealer, and things like that. i would have love to have read people's opinions on which qb had the strongest arm, which running back had the best juke, etc. lastly, i also would have liked to have seen a list with a bunch of worsts. who is the worst franchise? which franchise is the worst to work for? who has the worst drafts? these are things that ESPN could answer, but because they are too lazy to try to put together any real information, they give us pablum like this.

besides, i think we all know what the single greatest sports franchise in professional sports history is....

3) after bashing espn for a while, i'm gonna defend them now. in the new NFL television contract which starts in 2006, the sunday night game is now going to be televised on NBC. part of the deal that NBC and the NFL made, is that no one except NBC can televise anything NFL related. and when i say no one, that includes espn's NFL primetime. now if you're a football fan, then for the past umpteen years, you've watched football during the day and then after the sunday night game, you watched NFL primetime for the basically the most complete and best wrap up of the days games. now we have to wait until monday to get that. and i don't know about you, but that drives me completely crazy. true sportscenter and the local news will give us some highlights, but no other show breaks down every game as well as this show does. i really don't know what i'm going to do without it. even if you hate chris berman, the highlights package and the analysis is always good to have on sunday night. kinduva last gasp of leisure before your workweek starts. i imagine that NBC will try to come up with their own version of the show, but i can't imagine that it will be as good.

4) on a completely unrelated note, like everyone else, i'm blown away by the destruction of hurrican katrina. not to kick them while their down, but those people and that area is screwed in almost every way imaginable. i'm not saying that everyone there is just going to die or something, but i just don't know how it will be possible for that region to ever fully recover. however, that doesn't change the fact that people still need something to eat. i've been reading that money is basically useless to the victims, but instead they need food and clothing. so if you really want to help, don't donate money to relief organizations that already have tons of money, but instead, make a quick trip to your local food bank and drop off some non-perishables. the last i heard, the food banks over there are going to run out of their current supply tomorrow.

UPDATE 9-01-05: today, espn released their list of the franchises that do the best job with strategy for a game. at number five was the mike martz led st. louis rams. they're saying mike martz is a good strategist. that does it. these lists are completely bogus.

3 comments:

Erik said...

1. F the loss of NFL Primetime. But don't worry too much about it, Bob, you live with the greatest football analyst in the state of California.

2. You can gripe about the Cowboys not being on those top 10 lists if they manage to actually win a game this season. Good luck with all that. Julius Jones -- one 100+ yard game, tops. Maybe two if he's lucky.

3. Everything I've read and according to reports given by agencies coordinating the relief efforts says that gifts of nonperishable food or clothing -- while admirable -- are actually not helpful. See a good explanation here.

Bob said...

mea culpa. i heard the food and clothing thing on a texas radio station and the reason why texas needs it is that many of the victims have relocated to texas for the time being. so texas agencies need that kind of stuff to take care of the displaced people. the rest of us not local to the area, send cash. as erik points out in his blog, you can donate here.

Bob said...

also, i don't care about the cowboys not being on any of these lists, they are neither efficient, stable, nor do i think there is any kind of chemistry. it's just that the lists are rather arbitrary.

also, i'll give you a chance to recoup the money lost on the piston series and i'll take you up on the julius jones only having one 100 yd game.

the thing about the NFL primetime is that the money-grubbiness of the NFL is going to result in something that the fans really want to have. and while i do live with the greatest football mind in california (i suppose technically, i live with myself), i still won't be able to get as many highlights as i want.