Friday, May 16, 2008

Bad Sports

When it comes to sports radio, I mostly listen to ESPN radio and WGR550 out of Buffalo. ESPN has a mix of personalities on the air who seem to mostly favor the big three of MLB, NFL and NBA. WGR's hosts focus mostly on Sabres hockey and Buffalo Bills football. The emphasis at ESPN seems to be on the personality and the power of any given host to offer his/her opinion on what's going on in the sporting world and occassionally talk about pop culture. In Colin Cowherd's case, we find a host who makes a lot of analogies between sports and what a "normal" person might experience. He repeats a lot of his points within minutes of offering them (supposedly in case a new listener tunes in) and makes sure everyone knows he's a guy's guy. Whatever that means. Basically he treats his audience like two year olds. He does have one thing going for him over Jim Rome (the closest sports radio guy to him in terms of personality) and that is a lack of dead air. I applaud you for that Colin. Jim, do more thinking before the show, write it down and then perform. Just a tip.

The guys at WGR are mostly easy on the ears. They are informed fans, passionate about their local teams and do not toe the line when it comes to respecting a franchise or league. They truly air it out when broadcasting. I love them for it. Which brings me to this...

What the hell is going on with coverage of Spygate? This scandal centers around the New England Patriots videotaping opposing teams' defensive signals. Allegations came out at the beginning of the season with a former Patriot employee singing to the media. I'm not entirely sure of the timeline of who said what, but this drama popped up its head throughout the season, but had little effect on the Patriots. The folks at ESPN seemed to want to quash the story there and then, with various personalities saying, essentially, "If the tapes mattered so much, why are the Patriots dominating their games?".

As most of you know, the Pats almost went undefeated and had a stellar season. The Pats were fined and lost a first round draft pick. Walsh, the former Pats employee, spoke with the head of the NFL. Arlen Spector (sp?) demanded answers from the NFL. What bugs the guys at WGR (and me, the more I think about it), is that the Pats taped other teams from 2000 to the fall of 2007. Seems to me that 3 super bowl wins and several winning seasons might have benefited from having those tapes. My beloved Bills haven't had the greatest teams since I've moved to their region. However, I gotta believe that the Pats cheating ways may have had a little to do with the Bills losing to them 14 out of the last 15 matchups. But ESPN hosts don't seem to want to talk about this. Like the worst politicians and tv talk show hosts, they'd rather attack the whistleblower and Senator than the issue. One of my favorite ESPN guys, Tony Kornheiser intimated that both should sit down and shut up.

I'm not sure if the U.S. Government should get involved here, but I sure wish the NFL would do more. My gut feeling? More teams have been doing this and the Pats have taken the fall for the league. If that isn't the case, I think there is more to this story.

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