Let me start by getting this out of the way: I love sports. I might not be good at playing, except for bowling (those who know me know that I am a serious bowler) but I love athletics so much, you’d be surprised that I haven’t made a career somewhere in the sports field. Nope, I’m just a soulless employee of bureaucracy sitting in a cubicle somewhere. Guys like me, you’d think I would love nothing more to come home from a soul crushing day at work, plunk myself in front of a TV, and watch whatever sport is on television. However, you’d be wrong about that. I love sports but I can barely watch it on television. Why?
For one I have the attention span of a gnat. I love the New York Jets. I watch maybe a quarter of their games every week. I love football as a sport but the only game I watch in full is the Super Bowl, and that’s because of the commercials. Last year’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers? I fell asleep. Yes, the second the electrical outage took place at the New Orleans Superdome, I closed my eyes. When did I wake up? Just in time to see Joe Flacco raise the Super Bowl trophy. I love soccer. Manchester United supporter till the day I die. However, I slept during yesterday’s Champions League matchup against Real Sociedad. Basketball? While it’s the liveliest sport I watch, I barely make it through a whole game. I’m a Lakers fan. Love my team since the days of Magic and Kareem but due to living in New York, I hardly get to see them play. The Lakers might be on TV 20 to 30 times a year, but I cannot stay awake long enough for those 10:30 PM (Eastern) tip-off times. Can’t do it. Not that I want to anyway. I do not have a DVR and do not want one. I’m more than content with the highlights on SportsCenter, and reading recaps of the game online. Thanks to over exposure, and the ability to watch or follow games online, I think that there is far too much sports on television.
Let me explain. I’m a product of the 1980s. Although, I had cable in my household I still remember the days where there was a specific day a week for sports on network television. Whether it was the NFL on Sundays (and Monday night), College Football on Saturdays, or the NBA on Saturday/Sunday afternoons, I remember a time where you looked forward to sports on television. Now, just turn on your TV. Sports are everywhere. College Football is on television at least 4 to 5 days a week. Whatever happened to fall Saturdays, or the bowl season where you were spoiled with games almost every day of the week? The NFL went from a Sunday/Monday affair to a Thursday, Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday night game. Basketball? On every day on either ESPN, NBA TV, TNT, or your local providers. The same goes for hockey and baseball. At least soccer still sticks to a weekend schedule, for the most part (with the exception of America’s league Major League Soccer which is a couple days a week affair). The anticipation of looking forward to seeing your team in a spotlight game is just about gone.
What’s left now is watered down. Case in point, the NFL Network is airing a Thursday night game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Combined record? 3 wins and 9 losses. Who’s going to watch a game between two bad teams except local fans, or football diehards? Not me. That’s for sure. The Sunday night game on NBC? The Green Bay Packers versus the Minnesota Vikings. Combined record? 5 wins and 7 losses, and the Vikings are coming off a stinker on national television this past Monday against the then winless New York Giants. The Monday night game on ESPN? The Seattle Seahawks versus the St. Louis Rams. Combined record? A bit better at 9 wins and 5 losses but St. Louis comes into this game starting a new quarterback, Kellen Clemens who was god awful as a New York Jet a few seasons ago. Who wants to watch these games? Not me and I make no apologies for it. I love sports, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch it being poorly executed. I’d rather watch paint dry then to watch something just for the sake of watching something.
Now, admittedly schedules are made out months before the season starts and the NFL (as well as the NBA, NHL, and MLB) try to pair together teams that are expected to do well so to bring in ratings, but often fans are left with clunkers and lemons. It’s my belief that if the leagues and their providers scaled back on the amount of what they air, we as fans would have better matchups to watch on television. However, there is 0% chance of that happening. Not when television contracts bring in millions, if not billions, in revenue for the leagues, and team owners. The way sports and television is advancing we are approaching an era where they might put even more sports on television. The NFL is reportedly looking at adding a second game on Thursday night. Why? To boost the ratings of their own network, The NFL Network. The NFL risks diluting their own product even further for more eyeballs and more money and I for one am sick of it.
Too much of a good thing is still too much. I know blogging this on a sports website will come across as highly hypocritical but mark me down as the guy who’ll follow along with the score on his tablet while preferring to watch some movie, or some “reality” show over another boring game. I’d rather laugh over the ignorance that is “reality” TV, then watch two bad teams, or two teams I don’t care about. I’m not knocking those who love sports on TV, and want more of it, but I do question those of us out there who’ll watch something bad just because it’s on. Nah, it’s time to dial it back guys. It might be a good thing but too much is truly too much.
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