Caution: sports post ahead.
The last few Mondays have been weird in that I am no longer found on the couch in front of the TV watching the duration of Monday Night Football. That may seem like no big deal, but I’m talking about a show that’s easily been on of my favorite never-miss television programs for most of my adult life. At least it was until ABC moved the landmark program to ESPN, which is now in its second season of ruining it.
The last time I watched a full broadcast was the Cowboys/Bills game when Dallas managed to somehow pull a 25-24 victory out at the last minute. Exciting stuff. But since then I’ve tuned in only to tune out shortly thereafter, put off by the forgetable booth announcing team as a whole almost as much as I am by ESPN icons Stuart Scott and Chris Berman who’ve both become stock parodies of themselves.
How did my love wane so quickly? Well for one, the show simply lost a lot of its tradition and cachet when it left the network for cable. ESPN may be a sports powerhouse, but “Monday Night Football on ESPN” just doesn’t pack the same historical punch as “Monday Night Football on ABC,” which I began watching as a kid with Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell and Dandy Don Meredith.
Second, it didn’t bring the booth team of Al Michaels and John Madden with it. That duo lateraled to NBC where they steere that ship’sÂ “Sunday Night Football in America,” which coincidentallyÂ is rapidly becoming the new Monday Night Football.
Third, with the exception of the unexpected excitement of the above-mentioned Cowboys/Bills battle, the games have mostly been the suck. I mean, Patriots/Bengals? Yawn. Giants/Falcons? Feh. Ravens/Steelers? Pffft. Whose idea is it that these are marquee match-ups? And then this past Mondays 49ers/Seahawks dance? Please. It’s embarrassing to see a television franchise being put out to pasture so painfully.
It’s as if ABC and ESPN really don’t give a crap. That they’re taking some sort of perverse joy in felling a champion. I got home this past Monday night and turned on the San Francisco/Seattle game just as it went to halftime. After Berman’s “fastest three minutes” shtick and Stuart Scott showing how badass he is with his left brow cocked and loaded about a foot above his eye, then we’re treated to an endless interview with NASCAR teammates Jimmie Smith and Jeff Gordon speaking from some studio in cliches about how they’re competitors but friends too with the utmost in respect for one another and combined have one goal and that’s to do the best they can for the team irregardless of who crosses the finish line first and blahbity blah blah blahbity blah blahzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
NASCAR!? Seriously ESPN, you barely will give three minutes to an NFL weekend wrap-up but you’ll let these two perpetual left-turners blab on and on and on and on about themselves and the cars they drive? You’re trying to make me turn it off, aren’t you!?
And in answer, with Gordon in mid-drone about needing to put together a good race in order to top his bestest buddy Jimmie I switched off to the infinitely enjoyable HGTV.Â Never to return? I wouldn’t be surprised.