ESPN Comes Up With The Novel Idea Of Focusing On "Football" During MNF Games

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In its first year on ESPN, MNF decided that it would be smart to cross promote ABC shows all while the game was going on. The likes of Emmitt Smith (only talking DWTS), Hank Williams Jr talked about nothing while Christian Slater and James Denton battled to see who could piss off the audience more. While they did a much better job of keeping the guests in tune with the game in 2007 (Deanna Favre was amazing in October and the return of Jimmy Kimmel was hilarious), we still had to endure the likes of Drew Caray talking Soccer, Jimmy Johnson & Jeff Gordon talking nonsense, Russell Crowe talking Rugby, John C. Reilly talking "Dewey Cox" and my personal favorite Vince Vaughn talking about nothing.

The whole idea reeked of forcing reality shows and crappy movies down our throats. People could smell it from a mile away and weren't happy about it. Every mainstream site and blog hammered them for it and rightfully so.

Fast forward to today....After hearing accounts from people who attended the ESPN Monday Night Football Luncheon that took place in New York on Monday, (yes AA was invited, yes AA thought it was a trap so he didn't go) it seems to me that ESPN is attempting a re-branding of sorts for Monday Night Football. And, according to multiple sources, including Neil Best of Newsday, ESPN might not have any guests at all this season!

But here's a snippet that might even be newsworthy: When I asked producer Jay Rothman for his best guess about the number of booth guests this season, now that Brett Favre will be unavailable for the opener at Lambeau, he said, "Zero."

Then he added, "We may pull something off the eve of the election, but if we do we’ll do so at halftime."

Umm . . . the election? Was he referring to the President of the United States, perhaps?

"I don't know," Rothman said.

Umm . . . where is the game the night before the election?

Rothman: "Washington, D.C."
ZERO?!?! Well how about that? ESPN has been hammered over the past few years for being stubborn and not listening to their fans, but I think that's somewhat changing. Obviously not everyone can have what they want, but it's good that they understand how distracting and pointless a lot of those guests were and that they're (theoretically) making a change.

I also don't really have problems with guests as long as they are somehow linked to the game at hand. It would also be understandable to have the President on as well before the election. But inviting "Desperate Housewives" actor James Denton on, when he clearly knows nothing about Football, might have possibly been the worst decision in the history of Sports Television. I'm just saying.

President Bush to visit 'MNF' booth Nov. 3? (Newsday)


Maybe it's just because I don't have a blog that criticizes ESPN, but I would have jumped on the chance to attend the ESPN MNF luncheon.

jfein said...
Aug 21, 2008, 2:24:00 PM  

Fearing an elderly Chinese protester-esque "one year forced re-education" in Bristol, maybe?

Tainted Alligator Souffle said...
Aug 21, 2008, 2:36:00 PM  

AA didn't want to see AA Hates ESPN face to face. Of course, the guy who refreshes the croissants Daulerio was talking about isn't supposed to make eye contact with the guests.

Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 2:55:00 PM  

I am impressed.

First they get rid of the two sideline "eye candy" and now this...

It's amazing, they have this compelling sport that sells itself with the games, and they felt the need to try to sell other shit and maybe get more viewers on MNF while they could have just sold the game.

It would be smarter with the bad games to have Jaws get into an actual football discussion, because we guys who watch the ENTIRE game, like that kind of stuff.

The game sells itself ferchissakes.

Plus, as an added bonus at no cost to us, more Tony Korny!

hollywood wags said...
Aug 21, 2008, 3:47:00 PM  

You write a blog about TV. A network invites you to talk to its executives, so they can explain how they do things. You decline--in the third person!--because you "thought it was a trap so he didn't go." Weak. I understand not wanting to go to keep from being spun. But believing it's a "trap"--whatever that means--is about the most ridiculous thing you've written all week. What possible trap did ESPN have in store for the big, bad AA?

AA Hates ESPN said...
Aug 21, 2008, 4:05:00 PM  

aa hates espn, remember those Charlie Brown cartoons when Lucy keeps moving the football right before he's ready to kick it and thus falls on his ass? Berman and Emmitt had the same prank ready for AA.

GMoney said...
Aug 21, 2008, 4:10:00 PM  

aa hates espn......

Go away.

ssreporters said...
Aug 21, 2008, 4:17:00 PM  

Jesus AAHE....calm down. It was a joke my man. Is humor just entirely wasted on you?

I couldn't make it up to New York that day, so I respectfully declined to go. ESPN knows I appreciated the offer and I asked them to keep them coming. Would I really have had a live-chat with a Sports Center anchor if I was denying ESPN their chance to get their side of story out to the world?

Let's have you sit out a few plays, take some deep breaths and save the fire for when I say something "sexist", "again".

Aug 21, 2008, 4:24:00 PM  

"Sit out a few plays?" Isn't there some "Practice Squad" blog AA Hates ESPN can blather at for a few weeks?

Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 4:34:00 PM  


Deadspin is nominating people for their Hall of Fame this week. What about taking a page out of their play book and doing the same on your site in the near future?

If you decide to do so, I'd like to nominate AA Hates ESPN. He/She certainly blathers with the best of 'em. Do I hear a second?

shawn kemp said...
Aug 21, 2008, 5:18:00 PM  

A nice idea, shawn kemp, but AA Hates ESPN should be put on the Physically-Unable-to-Post List with Multiple Broken Arguments & Cracked Logic.

Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 5:35:00 PM  

I like him: not 'cause I agree with his posts, but he makes for a good villian. He's like AA's version of The Joker.

Kyle said...
Aug 21, 2008, 5:43:00 PM  

Does focusing on the game mean Kornheiser can't go off on a tangent talking about something completely unrelated to the action on the field?

I certainly hope so.

Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 6:03:00 PM  

Yeah, now Tony can really have a good chance to make more people annoyed.

Not sure that's a bad thing, it could be funny.

AAHE takes steroids...for his brain.

hollywood wags said...
Aug 21, 2008, 6:21:00 PM  

I like that PUP list idea, Anon 5:35!

AA Hates ESPN: please consider yourself on the PUP list for the next six weeks. By the way, I like you for the same reason as Kyle. However, I'm not sure about the comparison to The Joker. You remind me of someone...I'm just not sure who (or what) it is right now.

shawn kemp said...
Aug 21, 2008, 6:29:00 PM  

I'd rather hear James Denton-- I'd rather hear ANYBODY -- than those 3 in the booth. ESPN couldn't have screwed up the MNF franchise anymore than they have. It's an unpleasant, annoying, ruinous experience every week.

Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 7:33:00 PM  

I know my example isn't a 'villain' per se, Kyle & Shawn Kemp but:

AA Hates ESPN = The Giant Chicken from Family Guy?

Hear me out...
-Usually pops up out of nowhere
-Long dragged out battle ensues
-Winds up getting beat up, only to return to continue the fight at some other random time


Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 7:43:00 PM  

That's outstanding. My only question, did AAHE give AA an expired coupon to start this whole fiasco?

Kyle said...
Aug 21, 2008, 7:48:00 PM  

Spot On, Anon! I just couldn't put my finger on it before.


shawn kemp said...
Aug 21, 2008, 7:56:00 PM  


Aug 21, 2008, 8:04:00 PM  

the production is still going to blow until they dump Tony Kornheiser. ESPN has singlehandedly ruined MNF with this garbage.

For the record, Christian Slater was the worst one EVER. I remember him saying, "whoa, just look at them running around down there, like... whoa". No kidding.

Anonymous said...
Aug 21, 2008, 11:52:00 PM  

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