The Onion is known for its outlandish stories and cheeky headlines. So when you see a title such as “Why does most modern sports broadcasting suck so hard?,” you expect to read, laugh, throwaway.
Except then you realize the column is in the AV Club section. You read closer. You nod. You smile. Noel Murray understands:
Watching a Saturday baseball game on Fox is like tuning into an especially lame daytime talk show, interrupted by the occasional play in the field. This most recent Thanksgiving weekend, while gorging on football, I grew exhausted by the frequent breaks to show the broadcast crews of the respective games enjoying their holiday dinners. A little bit of that is fine, but on one game, an announcer went to commercial teasing more footage of the staff’s touch-football outing. (Because surely that’s why we we were all watching.)
The writer spends almost 2,000 words ripping apart the current state of sports broadcasting, landing blow after blow. It’s probably not anything you haven’t heard before, but it’s an excellent collection of points that combine to demonstrate the dumbing down, broadcasters-as-stars phenomenon.
We have but one quibble.Murray fails to note that networks are trying to land a wider audience. They want to appeal to non-traditional sports fans, who may enjoy segments about turkey dinners and flag football games mixed in with an explanation of their third-and-seven play call. The problem with broadcasting isn’t entirely that the hosts and play-by-play guys aren’t focused entirely on the game; it’s that they are talking about such stupid stuff.
There has to be some line between tasteful, intelligent conversation and Lee Corso wearing a Redskins hat.