It was pretty clear that after listening to last night's Monday Night Football broadcast that ESPN, in particular schmuck-extraordinare Tony Kornheiser, did not care that the Colts, who had won five in a row, were playing the Jaguars, who had won five in a row. All Kornheiser and the ESPN crew wanted to talk about was Tom Brady and his team. From the 9:55 mark in the first quarter to the end of the game, Kornheiser mentioned Tom Brady and his team more than twenty times even though neither Brady or his Boston brothers were within 2,000 miles of the game in Jacksonville. Tony's slurp job was so bad, Kornheiser-apologist Mike Florio could not help but take a shot:
We thought that the Pats were in the house because the Cecil B. DeMille production (who knew the "B" stood for "Bristol"?) that covered the game for ESPN was endlessly talking about the team from New England.
CBS, as was pointed out in our Live Blog of the game, was surely thrilled with all of the hype for the looming showdown between the last two undefeated teams in the league.
Still, it was at times a pathetic display. A league source contacted PFT headquarters during the game and complained loudly about the fixation on a team that wasn't in the building, and suggested that more NFL types should follow Peyton Manning's lead and hit the mute button during MNF broadcasts.
It's now gone beyond the realm of the absurd. When Manning the Colts started 13-0 in 2005, you didn't have announcers like Kornheiser talking about them while they were covering a Broncos v. Chargers game. When Manning threw 49 TDs in 2004, announcers weren't mentioning his name 20 or more times during a Cowboys v. Redskins game.
Like the rest of us, Florio will join Peyton Manning in muting MNF when he watches it. The irony of this is Florio was making fun of Manning for doing this earlier. I really don't think I'm going to watch it the rest of the year. This was the only Colts game on MNF this year. MNF is now worse than it was when Dennis Miller was in the booth. Kornhesier could care less what happens on the field, and neither could his employer. Russell Crowe's interview in the booth was about as interesting as sex with Laura Bush. Does anyone really care about Crowe's rugby team (whose team logo is a bouncing rabbit) playing in Jacksonville in January. If Jacksonville can barely sell out an NFL game, who the f**k cares about a rugby game there? Yet, there they are interviewing an actor whose talking about a rugby team he owns while Dwight Freeney is sacking Quinn Gray for a safety.
For some reason, ESPN thinks the game itself just isn't interesting enough. So, they "spice it up" by adding numb-nutted idiots like Kornheiser comment on games and having useless, dull celebrity interviews while game action is going on. The more I look at it, the more the NFL is looking like a pioneering league with its NFL Network. Why allow crappy networks like ESPN to dilute their product with these cheap, silly sideshows?
The game itself is the entertainment. Anything that distracts from the game itself is just that: A distraction. If the game is dull, I will switch the channel. There is nothing (save Lisa Guerrero going down on Melissa Stark while someone hoses them down) that will get me to stick around if the game sucks. Adding these extras to a game that needs no extras will not get me to stay and watch the game. If anything, it will drive me away from it. MNF is now a program I will avoid since they have no more Colts games this season. Just show the damn game and talk about ONLY the damn game.