Seriously, who thought this shit up? It is the single biggest fucking waste of space i’ve ever seen on television, narrowly beating out psychic detectives and criminal Kevin Trudeau’s infomercials.
Not only is the whole premise of the show—rating sports stars based on their on-field performance and off-field notoriety—completely idiotic, the way in which they go about making the choices, and the choices they make, are also ridiculous.
Poor old Stuart Scott is trotted out to lead the discussion, and is generally accompanied by two or three other people, ranging from sports figures to journalists to movie actors flogging their latest film. Today, it was Adam Sandler and Kevin James whoring their awful-looking flick about straight guys pretending to be gay. The panel then tries to determine who is most “now,” based on an apparently completely random set of criteria loosely related to their sporting performance and their “wow” or “Q” factor (seriously, these terms have been used by the panel). The panel vote is then combined, in some mystical way, with the votes from viewers, to determine which sports personality is more “now.” The loser in each pairing is eliminated; the winner moves on.
As if sports stars’ off-field antics are not dissected enough by the media in general, and ESPN in particular, we now have to put up with large segments of Sports Center devoted to a twelve-year-old level of discussion about which sports star is currently the biggest deal. It really is a competition to see who the biggest sports personality is. In evaluating the “now” factor of Barry Bonds versus Jeff Gordon, Stuart Scott literally asked which one of them would draw the most amazed double-takes if they walked into a party. This is what passes for sports analysis now?
And even if we take the exercise seriously, some of the decisions they reach are mind-blowing. How Barry Bonds was eliminated in the first round is completely beyond me. Like him or not, the fact is that he’s one of the greatest baseball players EVER to step onto the field. Also, you almost literally cannot open a sports section of a newspaper, or a sports-related website, or ESP-fucking-N, without seeing something about Barry Bonds and his chase of Hank Aaron’s home run record, and/or about his possible use of steroids. If being “now” is about being in the public eye even when you’re not on the field, Barry Bonds is surely the definition of “now,” right now. Yet he was beaten out by Jeff Gordon. I know NASCAR is big, but seriously, is Jeff Gordon’s combined on-track performance and off-track exposure at the moment even close to that of Bonds?
Hell, Bonds was only seeded 5th in his section of the pool, behind LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Reggie Bush, and Gordon.
Anyway, maybe this whole rant belongs in the Pit, and if the Mods want to move it there, that’s fine with me. I just wish ESPN would piss off with this bullshit, and actually cover the sports.