A Day in the Life of Cable Sports Programming

Here’s the deal. I’m sick. One of those nasty cold things that just floors you. But yesterday I dragged myself from my bed to the couch. And I turned on the TV. I figured I’d check out the Super Bowl hysteria on the cable. Here’s what I found...

11:00: Flip to the NFL Network. It’s Total Access from the Giants hotel. What, are they going to the rooms and showing us which working girl slipped into which player’s room? No, just Alex Flanagan and Jim Mora standing in a big banquet room waiting for the Giants to come down for media opportunities. If there’s not some chick from TV Azteca wearing a bridal dress asking Eli Manning to marry her, I’m flipping the channel…. And I don’t see any chick from TV Azteca, so…

11:02: Hey, it’s the late night SportsCenter on its one millionth replay. Some actual analysis. Peter Gammons is discussing the Johan Santana trade. I’m somehow thinking the Twins got burned on this deal, especially considering that the Yankees had, at one point, offered Phil Hughes and the Red Sox had offered up Jon Lester and Coco Crisp.

Now this is funny. Stuart Scott is bitching about the so-called reporters at Media Day (like Ms. Azteca). Since when did Mr. Catchphrase become a real reporter? Where’s my remote?

11:10: I’ve settled on ESPN2’s First Take. That shows how desperate I am. Wow, did I just hear that? Someone’s criticizing Tom Brady and wanting to know why he never gets pressed on things like his bastard son. Ah, Skip Bayless to the rescue. Says it’s not like Brady is Travis Henry so give him a break. He also says that since Giselle Bundchen isn’t a media whore like Eva Longoria or Jessica Simpson we should leave him alone.

Hey, Dana Jacobson’s off of suspension. Or is she? She’s still in Bristol while the rest of the crew is in Phoenix. I remember way back when Keith Olbermann was still with ESPN and he got suspended for bitching about Bristol in a magazine interview. So maybe she is still on suspension.

Now they’re discussing the Santana trade. Skip Bayless is on about how the Twins just got robbed. Wait a minute…I’m agreeing with Bayless? Damn, I am sick.

Speaking of sick, back in a minute….

11:32: Dana Jacobson is making fun of the Boston Globe’s book on the Patriots perfect season which has just been pulled from Amazon’s presale. Then talks to Greg Anthony who is happy to remind everyone that his UNLV basketball team was perfect until Duke got the upset over them in the NCAA title game.

Commercial. Let’s go back to NFL Total Access.

11:39: There’s some guy asking Michael Strahan about how much the gap in his tooth is worth. Where’s the TV Azteca chick?

Back to First Take…

11:47: Bayless: Brady is Michael Jordan. Does this mean Brady has a gambling problem? I think I’m going to be sick. Back in a few…

12:01: What? Mike Tirico’s got a radio show? And ESPN2 is simulcasting it? Hey, is that Scott Van Pelt? What’s on elsewhere? SportsCenter repeat on ESPN. Again. NFL Network still at the hotel.

I think I’m going to do some of that work I brought home from the office. If I hear anything exceptional, I’ll let you know.

12:34: Mike Tirico talking about golf. God, this is boring. What’s going on with the news?

12:36: On MSNBC: crap. John Edwards is dropping out. Crap. That’s the guy I wanted to vote for. Crap. But he’s not endorsing anyone. Doesn’t MSNBC have someone besides Chris Matthews working? Please. I check the internets. Wow, Rudy Giu911ani has dropped out. Who is Fox News going to adopt now?

Speaking of Fox News…really, is anybody going to watch the Fox News Super Tuesday pregame special on Fox’s Super Bowl pregame special? First, if Fox is that desperate for pregame programming, maybe this is that sign from Heaven that there is already too much pregame programming. Second, if you’re going to do this, why not get Terry and Howie and Jimmy to give some political commentary. It would be a definite improvement over the crap that the Fox News Channel heads spit out every night.

12:40: Fred Hickman is doing the sports updates on Tirico’s show. Remember back when the cool show was CNN’s Sports Tonight and they had the Play of the Day to end the show? It went up head to head with SportsCenter. Hickman hosted that one. And Hannah Storm did the late night version. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Vince Cellini?

Back to work. Check in later…

12:59: Fred Hickman is telling me that Tom Brady is offended by Plaxico Burress predicting a 23-17 Giants victory in the Super Bowl. Burress could have predicted a 42-7 Patriots victory and Brady would still be offended. Michael Strahan is asked about this from the hotel presser: Strahan’s puzzled. He wants to know if the media wanted Burress to pick the Giants to lose.

1:46: Apparently it’s cold in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m shocked. That will teach Van Pelt to bitch about the temperature in Phoenix.

2:00: Back to the NFL Network and the update from the hotel. So apparently Plaxico Burress said something yesterday. And Tom Coughlin’s no longer a prick. I’m glad there’s another day of full-time nonsense media coverage. But it is funny watching Jim Mora talk about tightly wound football coaches.

2:02: Four and half hours of NFL Network from the media center. Are the people watching this nonstop the same people who watch the NFL Combine on the NFL Network?

2:08: Outside the Lines and Bob Ley are on ESPN. How come Bob Ley doesn’t get more SportsCenter time? I remember a Sports Illustrated story from several years ago on about how Ley almost quit ESPN because it was no longer journalism and was now just catchphrases. So we get 30 minutes of journalism, then the rest of the day is Stuart Scott, Skip Bayless, and Stephen A. Smith.

So he’s going to talk about religion in sports. I think I’m going back to work.

2:21: Okay, Lions wide receiver Roy Williams is going to Hell. He just dared to question God’s commitment to Lions QB Jon Kitna. He still doesn’t understand why God intervened on Kitna’s behalf after Kitna got a concussion and did not intervene on behalf of the other players in the NFL.

Kitna says God is everywhere. This doesn’t exactly answer Williams’ question.

2:30: Just a note, three and a half hours, and still no one has mentioned Rodney Harrison and the HGH suspension, or Bill Belichick and the cheating. Why does football get such damn different treatment than baseball? Could you see the outrage if the World Series was coming up with a team that had been nailed with cheaters?

Instead, the outrage is about Plaxico Burress. I just don’t get it.

Excuse me. I don’t feel so good.

3:01: CNN’s The Situation Room. John Edwards bowing up. I saw that on MSNBC several hours ago. Let’s update that situation.

3:03: ESPN’s NFL Live: Hey, did you hear what Plaxico Burress did? I’ve got some news. Rodney Harrison used performance enhancing substances. Bill Belichick got nailed cheating. How about something on that.

3:05: 2007 World Series of Poker on ESPN2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

3:07: ESPN is repeating Tom Brady’s statements about Plaxico Burress. Hey, why doesn’t someone ask him about the last time he saw his bastard child? Oh, yeah. My bad. I forgot. He’s Tom Brady.

3:08: Hey, here’s something. Classic Albums on VH1 Classic. Hey, how in the hell does a Def Leppard album qualify as classic?

3:09: Poker Superstars Invitational on Fox Sports Houston. If these guys are superstars, shouldn’t they be over there on ESPN2 and the World Series of Poker? Just asking.

I’m going back to work.

3:53: Jim Rome Is Burning on ESPN. Not. Can’t these shows get someone besides jocks pimping products? And whoever thought Matt Hasselbeck was a good spokesman thought wrong.

4:00: Hey, there’s NHL hockey on Versus. Screw you guys. I’m out of here.

5:01: ESPN News can’t find any original programming, you know, like news. They’re replaying Around the Horn. Four untalented sportswriters arguing about nothing and sounding like idiots. Shouldn’t Richard Justice be a regular on this thing? Is Versus back from commercial?

5:23: Hey, does Andy Pettitte know something about Roger Clemens? Wow. I’m glad ESPN finally got away from the Super Bowl to discuss something else. Not defending the Rocket here, but just a reminder, Pettitte lied about his HGH use for over a year, so why is he suddenly the great truth teller? Well, there is the fact that he did finally admit to his HGH use. Have a nice visit with Congress, Rocket.

5:31: ESPN News rerunning Pardon the Interruption. Dan Le Batard says that those criticizing the Santana trade and saying the Twins got nothing should shut up since just because they don’t know who the players traded for Santana are. That would make sense, except some of those speaking the loudest about how the Twins got robbed are those who do know who the players are. Like Peter Gammons and the guys at the great baseball site Baseball Musings, all of who I think know more about baseball than Dan Le Batard.

5:43: Hey, Patriot cheating talk on Pardon the Interruption. Howie Long says the Patriots aren’t the only team who cheated. He says that if we are morally outraged by the Patriots Spygate, then you should look at the whole damn league, because other teams are doing it. I’ve got no problem with that. I want the NFL to have to deal with the same scrutiny as Major League Baseball. I can just imagine the outrage we’d be hearing right now if this was the World Series and one of the teams had been nailed cheating.

6:08: More hockey on Versus. It’s the Aeros parent club, the Minnesota Wild, going up against the San Jose Sharks. I wish this was in hi-def. Hi-def makes all of the difference with hockey. I should also get back to my real work.

7:03: Screw work. Screw hockey. I just saw Paula Abdul. It’s Idol time. God, I’m watching American Idol. I really am sick. Then does that mean I imagined that whole Def Leppard classic album thing? No. The last time I was sick and thought I imagined something, that something was Janet Jackson’s nipple at the Super Bowl. Man, do I wish I had just imagined that.

I can’t take another day of this. I don’t care how sick I am, but I’m going back to my office. – John Royal

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