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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Never Again Shall I Watch the NFL Draft on ESPN

I wasn’t expecting the best of coverage by ESPN for the NFL Draft, but goodness me did that “coverage” suck. I know it’s hard to fill in 2 days of things to talk about, but everything from Erin Andrews’ pointless interviews, to having a bunch of talking heads, to Todd McShay dying for Seattle to draft BJ Raji (when we already have Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole) was too much to handle. This cannot be possible. For lack of a better phrase, they half-assed one of the biggest days in the NFL that has absolutely nothing to do with playing the game itself. There was nothing positive about this year’s telecast.

I used to like Chris Berman. On Saturday though? Pathetic. His puns are worse than ever “The 4 hour mile”, he constantly strung together incoherent sentences broken up in between more incoherent sentences. It’s like he wanted to set up one of his colleagues before the pick was made but it just came off as awkward. When the highlights of Matthew Stafford were narrated by Boomer I couldn’t bear it. He could not possibly have been prepared. He looks so lost and it’s embarrassing. If I’m ESPN I’m thinking of phasing him out slowly.

Steve Young, Mark Sanchez is “Presidential” in the way he dresses? What the hell are you talking about? He did this again later on with another player. Young is a good analyst but even he was awful. It’s like he was intent on shouting over everybody with insane observations while stressing the importance of the QB position. Frankly I’d rather have Emmitt Smith back than listen to Young again. At least I’m guaranteed entertainment I can laugh at.

The team of Berman, Mel Kiper, Steve Young, and Keyshawn Johnson made my life hell. I had to mute the TV several times because it wasn’t intelligent debating. It was 4 guys shouting over nothing. You may not like Around the Horn, but the mute button is probably the best part of that show.

Todd McShay should be fired because he adds nothing other than arguing with Kiper but you already knew that.

Michael Smith was so awkward over the weekend with his little touch screen draft board thingamajiggy. He couldn’t articulate himself properly much of the time and is not good on TV. Stick to reporting and writing because you do a solid job in that department.

We’re not done yet. The pointless “sideline reporting” has reared its ugly head yet again. Erin Andrews interviewing Matthew Stafford before the official announcement that he would be the #1 overall pick AND after Roger Goodell made it official was unnecessary. Why do we need immediate thoughts from them after they’ve been selected?! It’s just more talking heads that are not needed for a professional broadcast.

Where is ESPN getting these people? An injury analyst? Are you serious?! Pedro Gomez should be banned from television. If he’s going to tell me that Edgerrin James was watching the Heat/Hawks playoff game with his kids then I’m not a happy camper.

Enough picking apart of individual people, let’s go to the production itself. I know they’re at the mercy of advertisers, but going to commercial break 4 minutes before a pick is about to be made is unacceptable! They ended up missing the final pick of the 1st round.

It’s also anticlimactic for the cameras to zoom in on a player who is on the phone smiling, knowing he’s about to be selected by whichever team is on the clock. Can’t you just wait 20 seconds instead of practically giving away the pick? I swear they did this 6 or 7 times in the first 15 picks.

Why do I need these stupid polls on the ticker? They put up one that asked “Will Josh Freeman be the starting QB in week 17?”. Zero percent said yes, and zero percent said no. Come on. It’s bad enough I have a bunch of guys shouting nonsense to me, what’s the purpose of adding reader polls after nearly every pick?

I’m going to leave it there even though I have some more things to say.

That is the last time I’m watching the NFL Draft on ESPN. My tolerance has been pushed off a cliff. It’s like they don’t even care what they do anymore. Since I know you’re scoping blogs ESPN, hear me on this one (and just about every other blog and media outlet there is), your COVERAGE IS BEYOND TERRIBLE.

I’ll watch it online if I have too. I can’t stand it anymore. It’s obvious they aren’t getting any better at what they’re supposed to do. Excess doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. I’m fine with simplicity. ESPN is not capable of understanding that, and I know that I’m not the only one fed up with this.

Check back in June when I end up writing the same thing about the NBA Draft.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Sun Sets on Phoenix's Playoff Hopes

It’s a slow news day and I had to come up with a cheesy title! Bear with me here.

Has there been a more disappointing team than the Phoenix Suns? In their first year since they fired Mike D’Antoni for consistently folding against the Spurs, they won’t even make the playoffs. They beat the New Orleans Hornets last night to temporarily save their playoff chances, only for the Dallas Mavericks to come swarming in and blowing out the Utah Jazz to eliminate them. This all could’ve been prevented on Sunday when they were in Dallas to try and cut their lead on the 8th seed in the Western Conference to 2 games. Instead, they gave up 81 points by halftime and got blown out.

It all started when they hired Terry Porter as head coach. Porter made it to All-Star weekend before getting dumped. The problem? Rumored chemistry issues with the players, and it wasn’t fun to watch Phoenix anymore. They were at times running a half-court offense that paralleled the San Antonio Spurs. Slowing down the game is not what these Suns were meant for.

Alvin Gentry was hired to give the Suns a chance at the playoffs, and he is currently squeaking over the .500 mark as an interim. The fast and exciting team was back, but so was the awful defense of the past that has stopped them from reaching the NBA Finals.

In a year where Shaq has played his best basketball since he won the championship with Miami, Grant Hill has been healthy all year, and Steve Nash continues to put up great numbers, they have the golf clubs ready! Why? Because it was also a year where Amare Stoudemire had a sub-par year and had an eye injury that ended his season. Steve Kerr inexplicably traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell for Jason Richardson of the Charlotte Bobcats. They did nothing to improve their defense and instead threw away one of their best defenders in Diaw.

It really has been a trainwreck season for Phoenix, and I’m not sure the fans are going to be happy with Steve Kerr’s moves. He has caught the Suns dearly. Like the Spurs, the era has ended. The days of cruising to the playoffs is over. The days of being labeled a “serious contender” to win it all is over.

This team is getting older. Nash, Shaq, Hill, all in their 30s. Stoudemire has the knees of a 77 year old. It’s time to rebuild in the desert. Maybe trade away Amare like they had planned to 2 months ago. Hope that the lottery balls bounce their way in the draft. The only question remains is if Steve Kerr is on the hot seat after this failed season.
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