As you have probably noticed, footballmania is upon us. While college football season will end tonight with Auburn’s starting cheater and quarterback Cam Newton running all over Oregon and still losing, the NFL playoffs have just started. Since Christmas, it has been difficult to turn on the boob tube (not an accurate description of what is normally on television but for some reason my grandpa always called it that) and not see a game. Unless you’re lady-BONE, this for the most part is AWESOME.
After watching all of these games I have confirmed in my mind that sideline reporting falls into two categories: hot and useless and just useless. I don’t understand why every network has bought into the concept of having some know-nothing hottie or waste of space ex -player (I’m looking at your Siragusa) provide reports from the sidelines. It makes no sense. Most of the information they provide to the fans adds nothing to the broadcast. The information they provide that has some value, injury reports and coach/player scuffles mostly, can easily be called up to the booth by an intern and provided by the regular announcers who are for the most part solid. The guys calling the Missouri basketball games this season on ESPN3 does not fall into the solid category by the way, but that is discussion for another time.
My best guess is that network executives think that sideline reporting provides some additional entertainment (through either hottness or comedy) that keeps the fans tuned in. t-BONE thinks that if that’s what’s keeping people tuned in they shouldn’t be watching in the first place. Sports are entertaining on their own; I don’t need to see Inez Sainz right before the break to keep me in my seat through the commercial. In fact, I think she might cause me to hit the bathroom for a few minutes. HEY-O! INAPPROPRIATE!
Anyway, what I also don’t need to see are pre-game bits about tailgating, local watering holes or Jillian Barberieesque weather reports. I can live with the player profiles, I actually enjoy them quite a bit. Mostly the ones conducted by Erin Andrews, because she is smart, funny and good-looking, like me. I can also certainly go without another bit involving Frank Caliendo as John Madden or Howie Long or anyone else. Sports are about the game, the players, the coaches, the strategies involved. They are not about the distractions that come with watching the game on modern television.
t-BONE tunes in because he wants to watch the game and the pre/post-game to get some expert analysis that he can’t come up with on his own. Sports are entertaining on their own. If you need some other form of entertainment incorporated into your sports watching experience, you should really stop lying to yourself about your “love” of sports (and your manliness) and just tune into Glee or Dancing with the Stars.