Off the Record (OTR)

6 Things that Suck about Sports

FoxNFLSundayWe’re sports fans here at OTR. Obviously. No reasonable, sane human beings would spend so much time writing about and talking about sports if they didn’t love the subject material. Then again, Skip Bayless seems to hate sports and he talks about them for a living (poorly), but he’s not really sane or reasonable.

But, we digress. Despite our love of most things sports related, there are some aspects that we detest. I mean, really hate. Some are unavoidable and just come with the territory. Others seem to be people trying to reinvent the wheel and change things or add things that don’t need to be changed or added. But, we just realized a seventh thing we hate about sports: When someone makes a list of anything sports related and bloviates in the intro when the only reason you clicked on the damn link is to see their stupid list! So here it is, the Six Things that Suck about Sports (in no particular order as always):

1. NFL Pre-game shows: Boy, it’s tough to accurately convey our utter distaste for any of the four million pre-game shows that air on a particular NFL Sunday. We understand that they are necessary. You have to have them. It’s the morning before a huge jack-off-filled day of NFL games and the anticipation of a game as seemingly innocuous as Titans-Rams is palpable. So, at the very least, we need injury news or else Danario Alexander is going to rot in our starting lineup when his hammy is killing him.

However, we do not need eight different talking heads on each of the networks (ESPN, FOX, CBS, NFLN) breaking down what each team needs to do today.

Shannon Sharpe told me in his unique, tripping-over-his-tongue cadence (and I actually like Shannon) that the Steelers absolutely have to be able to run the ball today. Thank you, Keyshawn Johnson (is he even on their pre-game Sunday shows? I have no idea) for telling me that stopping Tom Brady is going to be the key for the Bengals this afternoon. What’s that, Michael Irvin? If Ryan Tannehill is forced into the role of punter due to an injury, the Dolphins’ offensive line will have to step up? That makes sense. And Michael Strahan just told me that Peyton Manning is good! I’m going to write that down!

It’s nonsense. All of it. Yes, the Vikings are going to throw the ball and catch it. The Raiders are going to need to score points. The Chiefs will flat-out need to stop the Jaguars from getting in the end zone. Thank you for all of this; I am now ready to get some lotion and watch football.

2. Player apologies: This, again, is necessary. It’s completely perfunctory yet pertinent. But, it’s such a waste of everyone’s time. This actually transcends sport, but since we are talking about sports, we’ll keep it confined to this realm. When a player gets a microphone shoved in his face and, say, replies to a question about homosexuals in sports and, say, goes off on how he doesn’t ever want a gay teammate and how they wouldn’t be welcomed in the San Francisco 49ers locker room, it creates a stir.

So then you can probably set your watch by the chain of events that follows. Probably that evening (if the interview came out during the day), the team will release a statement saying that they don’t agree with said player’s comments. The following day, the player will release a statement saying (just about verbatim) how he doesn’t really think that way and he doesn’t know why he said it and his words were taken out of context and how he’s sorry if he offended anyone and he just looks forward to beating the Timberwolves on Friday night and that’s where his focus is.

And what’s funny, is that advocates and groups of people that he offended take it as…”whew! He apologized! All is well again!”

No, it’s not. You people are just as stupid as the player who said the offensive stuff. Apology? Who the hell cares? He said it and said what he meant. What does the apology do? I’d just prefer the didn’t apologize and stick by what they said. You aren’t sorry that you said – and strongly believe – that left-handed Asian homos shouldn’t be allowed in the Navy SEALS. You’re sorry that a bunch of people (including your employer and associated league) got uber pissed and said, “hey douchebag….what is wrong with you?! Why would you say that?!”

So, what is the point of the apology? I, for one, don’t believe that Chris Culliver now would welcome a gay teammate…do you? If you do, you are just as stupid as he is. Don’t get mad at John Rocker; thank him for letting us know who he is. I don’t need an apology.

3. ESPN: There is not enough room in this column for what I think of the network from Bristol, Connecticut. There isn’t enough time in the day for me to tell you about what they have done to sports.

I get it, ESPN is like every business. They are trying to make money. And how do you do that as a “sports leader” or whatever? You cater to the masses. Why? Because the super-hardcore fans are a small portion of the market. That’s why they are labeled as “hardcore.” There are less of them; they are rarer. The average Joe fan is where the money is because there are butt tons of average Joe fans. So, if you are really into sports, you can’t watch 98% of ESPN‘s programming.

Anyone watch “SportsCenter” anymore? It doesn’t even pique my curiosity as I flip through the channel guide. There are several sports-related shows that give me pause as I scroll through. The kind where you think, ‘my wife is going to open her mouth exactly during the few second delay between the time I click the “OK” button on the remote and the time it takes the DVR to produce said programming…but it’s worth it for a quick look.’ NFL Network “Top 10” lists, for example. Those are worth hearing her bitch me out, if only for a few seconds of hearing Mark Madden slurp the 1970’s Steelers defenses and tell me why Mel Blount is the best cornerback to ever put on shoulder pads (for the record, I can’t stand that guy. Madden, not Blount).

LiamNeesonSportscenterIs “SportsCenter” worthy of me hearing, “we’re not watching this! Find something else! Don’t we have a “Restaurant Impossible” on the DVR?!”? Absolutely not. I’m going to get reamed out so I can listen to Snoop Dogg give me the Coors Light Cold Hard Facts on the Canucks-Sharks game? Forget it.

And while we’re on that topic of in-show promotions, how many different ways can ESPN make money from us? It’s a cable channel, so we have to pay for it. Not sure whether they are still banging me extra to see it in HD, but there is additional revenue there. Then, a channel that I PAY FOR, still has commercials. Remember when HD Radio was introduced to the market? The question was, “would you pay a monthly fee for radio if there were no commercials?” Apply that to cable television. We pay a monthly fee and they still bang us with commercials (and this isn’t just ESPN, mind you). And as of the last several years, they now get more money to beat us over the head with in-show promos with sponsors of stuff like their stupid Cold Hard Facts and countdowns of the funniest mascot faux assaults of the week.

Should we even talk about what they tried to do to our national treasure known as “Monday Night Football?” Should we even mention how they tried to have some stupid non-sports-related celebrity in the booth to chat with the announcers for the entire second quarter of the games? Jaws doesn’t think that Matt Hasselbeck got enough for the first down, but WHAT DOES MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY THINK?

ESPN should be banned from ever programming sports again, just for that “MNF” move. They should be busted back to their origins of sumo-rodeo and skeet surfing.

4. Expert Predictions: This kind of sort of goes back to my detest of NFL pre-game shows, but it’s permeates our sports landscape much deeper than just that Sunday-morning farce. Sports predictions are about as useful to us as a paper bag would be if you were nailing Nancy Grace (it wouldn’t matter, she would still bitch at you and you’d be able to feel her nasty face through the bag….glaring at you in disdain for your performance).

NancyGraceIf there were any validity at all to people popping off with their prognostications, we wouldn’t play the games, would we? Of course not, because we would know the outcome. You want my prediction? Here’s my prediction: I’m predicting that we’ll all watch the game together and we’ll all know the end result at the same time. But, yet, you still hear people say stuff like, “well, Trent Dilfer says the Eagles can’t lose this week against the Cowboys.” Uh huh….and?

I’m tired of people asking “experts” for their predictions on games. I’m tired of hearing the experts say what they think. I’m tired of people putting any stock whatsoever into their musings. Just stop. Please.

Photo Caption: “You call THAT foreplay? Unacceptable.”

5. Starting times of games: You would think that leagues and sports organizations would be hell bent on getting as many eyeballs on their sporting events as possible. Wouldn’t that be the goal? The only one with an excuse is the World Cup. Somebody is watching the Ivory Coast vs. Vatican City at 3 AM, there is no getting around that. Somewhere, someone is getting screwed. It’s global; it happens.

But, look at the World Series. They start these games at like 9 PM at night. Wouldn’t you want young kids to watch your biggest games in the hopes that they become a lifelong fan and grow up to give your league tons of their hard-earned money? Apparently not. Sure, you would be still fine with the West Coast audience, but you’re still screwing more people than you are helping.

Also, why is it Super Bowl Sunday? That was fine for years, but the Super Bowl is now a huge event. It’s mandatory that people who never watch football all of a sudden care about a game and throw parties. How many people don’t do what they want for the big game because “I have to work tomorrow”? The game starts at like 6:20 PM on a Sunday evening and with a huge halftime (and a blackout or two) and tons of commercial breaks, goes until almost 11 PM.

Since it’s the most-watched show in television every single year, and since we aren’t making the following Monday a national holiday any time soon, why can’t we make it Super Bowl Saturday? The parties will be bigger (not that I go to Super Bowl parties) and people can make a much bigger deal out of the day as a whole. Isn’t what the NFL wants? More people getting involved and enjoying the event? I know football is typically played on a Sunday, but who really cares? Take a poll of who would be all for moving the game to Saturday and you won’t get many “nays.”

6. In-game player/coach interviews:
I know that leagues and networks are trying to give us more access to the game and get us as much insight as possible, but this is not the way to do it. On “Monday Night Football,” they catch the coach running off the field at halftime. “You’re down 35-2, what do you need to do to get back in this game?” Are you serious? Really? That’s what you want to know?

A. He’s never going to really tell you what they are going to do.
B. The answer is obvious: Stop getting run over, make a tackle once in a while, stop throwing the ball to the other team, and catch the ball when we do throw it to you.

WadeReddenThe coach’s answers are always, “Well, we’ve got to start playing better football.” Thanks for that great investigative piece, Michele Tafoya! Hard-hitting and in-depth. Maybe after the game you can interview one of the winning players to find out what was going through their head on that big play, as you invariably do.

And what about the stupid questions that players are obliged to answer, say, in between periods of hockey games? “You scored a goal this last period and it’s the second goal you’ve scored in this arena over the last 10 years, are you just super comfortable here? What is it about this arena that makes you so productive?” Seriously, those are the types of questions they ask, and the players never have a response that’s worthwhile.

And that’s the second part and it’s specific to hockey players. They could not be more boring or give more mundane answers. And they use the word “hockey” all the time, mixed in with the brilliant sentence-to-sentence transition of “and uh.” Think I’m kidding, listen to your next hockey interview and it will drive you nuts how often they say “and uh.” And their nicknames for each other always blow too! Add “y” to the end of the first part of their last name and – bam! – you’ve got a hockey nickname.

This is usually how it goes:

“Well, we were just trying to get some hockey pucks on goal, and uh, Dewey was fightin’ real hard, and uh, Rexy was keepin’ his hockey stick on the ice, and uh, just workin’ hard, and uh, believin’ in each other, and uh, just never givin’ up, you know? We just, uh, have to keep firin’ away, and uh, we know we’re a good hockey team, and uh, we know good things will happen if we do that, and uh, we just, uh, need to take advantage of the opportunities presented to our hockey club.”


They do this is in every interview they do, but it’s more annoying when it’s during a game. I could be watching highlights by now! Who is winning the Islanders game? I DON’T KNOW! We’re listening to Stewy talk about hard work on his hockey team! Please, please, please stop doing this.

NOTE: We may continue to add to this list. You’ll know if the number in the headline keeps changing.

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