When I was a kid my ideal Saturday went like this: wake up, watch the first half of a basketball game, shoot hoops in the driveway at halftime, watch the second half of the game, eat, then repeat the whole thing in the afternoon. I used to love watching college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, and hockey if I got the chance. I thought that when I had my own place the coolest thing ever would be to get the cable package that allows you to watch all the NBA games and watch as many games as I could. Now of course I could do that even without cable via Direct Pass, which allows you to watch all the games on your mobile device, PC, etc. But now that I could I don’t want to; I only watch 2 or 3 sporting events a year now, although I do still follow the sporting news oddly enough. I’m probably more well-versed than most fans that actually watch the games :p I don’t watch anymore for a variety of reasons, and I thought I’d talk about a few of them.
Coverage - Probably the most annoying thing about modern sports is the network coverage. They have so much crap on the screen (scores from other games, stats, score, logos, etc.) that the visual of the game becomes almost an afterthought. I like the “Fox box” that shows you the score, time left, and other important info, but that’s all that should be there; all that other stuff is just visual clutter. And I want to throw something through the screen when they’re interviewing some random idiot celebrity in the crowd during the freaking game. Sometimes they’ll have the interview on the main screen (with the audio) and have the actual game in a small box in the corner (with no sound). Unbelievably annoying.
I would love to be able to mute the announcers and all the other crap the network makes you listen to, but I really like hearing the ambient noise of the game: the squeaking shoes, bouncing of the ball, hits in football, the crack of the bat, the crowd noise, etc. If they would broadcast separate audio feeds so you could listen to the actual game noises without the network noise I would be tempted to sign up.
Replays - Ugh, these drive me nuts. I remember when the NFL first started doing instant replays, and one of the arguments was the slippery slope: once they started doing them it would lead to an endless number of replays in every game. And now that day has arrived. I don’t mind looking at a replay of a critical call: a touchdown, a close play on the sideline, etc. But even then only if it’s really in doubt, and not some insignificant thing that won’t affect the outcome. But now they look at stuff that doesn’t make any difference; does it really matter if the guy ran for 3 yards or 4 yards on 1st down in the 2nd quarter? And of course now all the other sports have been polluted by “instant” replays (they’re hardly instant). Baseball now has replays for home runs and fair/foul calls and is talking about adding more. Basketball has various situations the refs can look at too, as does hockey. Even MMA is talking about adding some instant replays.
Basketball has a particularly bad rule about instant replay where any game-ending basket (a go-ahead shot with no time left) has to be reviewed by the officials, even if it’s obvious it was good. So whenever anyone hits a game-winner nowadays instead of the team and (home) crowd starting to raucously celebrate you get everyone waiting around for the refs to verify it. It really takes the excitement and momentum out of game-winning shots. They managed to screw up the most exciting shot in hoops.
To be continued…