Festivus vent of media gripes
Gather around the unadorned aluminum pole, it’s Festivus time again.
Since 1997, when the TV show “Seinfeld” introduced the secular holiday to the nation at large, Dec. 23 has been marked by feats of strength, celebrations of Festivus miracles and, of course, the annual airing of grievances. In that holiday spirit, your neighborhood sports media columnist summons his inner Frank Costanza to share his gripes for the year.
Thanks to TV in general and especially ESPN, which owns and operates 14 bowls, college football has way too many postseason games. What for close to 100 years was a reward for an exceptional season now is often the equivalent of a participation ribbon, thanks to a glut of 40 FBS bowl games and 80 postseason berths. To fill out the 2019-20 bowl field, 13 teams — including Illinois — don’t have winning records. The world doesn’t need the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl that much.
On a similar note, as long as the NHL is cool with letting more than half its teams into the postseason, why not let all of them in? What difference would it make?
If a sports radio talk show can’t make discussions of wagering and fantasy football interesting for non-bettors as well as investors, best to rethink the approach — or the content.
Just because a TV commercial isn’t filling the entire screen, don’t think for a moment we don’t consider it a full-on commercial.
We all know Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is incredibly influential when it comes to NFL TV contracts. But unless he’s having a fit in his suite because his team is imploding on the field yet again, we don’t need to see him during a game.
Stop referring to former coaches who are now TV analysts as “Coach.” It’s a job, not an elected office or cabinet position.
The worst part of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” is how much almost everyone on ESPN talks it up. The second worst part is Joe Tessitore, who’s a much better play-by-play fit for the outsized miniature golf show he does for ABC.
More baseball teams should follow the Dodgers’
lead in refusing to grant special access for network TV analysts who double-dip as front-office employees for rival teams. Pick a job, people.
If the team you lead is below .500, your ads should not be on national TV. Yeah, we’re looking at you, Baker Mayfield.
Rather than getting fill-in play-by-play announcers on most Bulls road games in place of the retiring Neil Funk, we would greatly prefer fill-in Bulls.
Extra time in soccer makes no sense. Why can’t the refs just stop the clock and start it again? The guessing game at the end of matches is silly. We all know it’s not over till it’s over, but everyone should know when it’s going to be over.
Those who complain about their cable bill subsidizing the White Sox, Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks need to be reminded their cable bill probably already subsidizes Skip Bayless and Rutgers athletics.
Fox has assigned three of its nine Bears games so far this season to announcer Dick Stockton. We all know that the Bears have been a disappointment this season, but really? Imagine if Chicago weren’t the No. 3 television market in the country.
NBC Sports Chicago keeps using technology to make ads appear on the glass that aren’t really there during Blackhawks games. Not even that sort of special effect can make it appear as though the Hawks are any good.
If sports leagues are going to keep relying on replay review, they should open it up and let TV viewers see and hear the review in progress. Better than having rules experts guess what verdicts are based upon, especially when the verdicts are wrong.
Late-season football replay reviews in northern climates at outdoor stadiums should include a timer, temperature and wind chill factor graphic just to remind everyone how unpleasant these things are for ticket buyers, players and others in attendance.
ESPN really ought to offer alternate feeds for “Sunday Night Baseball” and “Monday Night Football” the way it does for college football playoff games. Statcasts, gambling-centric coverage and feeds tailored to fans of participating teams all are worth exploring on sister channels and streams.
There needs to be a restriction on how often advertisers can repeat the same commercial during sports events in a given day or week. That’s especially true during the NCAA tournament, when AT&T had our ears ringing and spots for Orange Vanilla Coke left a taste in our mouth almost as bad Orange Vanilla Coke.
If NBC Sports Chicago’s “The Daily Line” doesn’t improve, we’ll settle for infomercials. Or more Bulls and Blackhawks reruns — which is saying something.
Frank Costanza, played by actor Jerry Stiller, left, explains the meaning of Festivus in a scene from the 1997 “Seinfeld” episode “The Strike.”