I know, it's already Wednesday. And if you really want to get technical about it, I didn't see a single minute of the final ABC Monday Night Football game between the Jets and the Patriots. No big deal—football isn't my first love, and I had no desire to watch the limping Jets get pounded again (although, to their credit, they did wind up making it a game. Sort of). But I still wanted to weigh in a little as MNF moves to cable.
In short, I think it sucks. What's next, Saturday Night Live switching to HBO? (Although that would probably be a decided improvement.) 60 Minutes to CNN? Howard Stern to satellite radio (oh wait).
On one level, it doesn't affect me at all. I've got my 500 channels, and can find ESPN as easily as I can ABC. And NBC is getting the Sunday night games, so ESPN isn't getting any MORE games. But there are still a few things that bother me:
1) Despite what you may have heard, not EVERYONE has cable. And some companies don't include ESPN in their basic package (which is ridiculous). So you get the Sunday night game. That's great, but after watching the two afternoon games, how many people settle in for the third? I know I don't. But Monday night, that's traditionally the marquee matchup, the one everybody watches. Not anymore.
2) MNF on ABC is a tradition. A staple. And it gets switched—to the cable partner of the network, no less—over money? As a follower of pro sports for damn near three decades, I KNOW it's all just business, but you can only have your nose rubbed in it so many times.
3) ESPN is taking over the world. They've hired every columnist and commentator, gotten the NBA, now added MNF. They want you to think they invented sports, despite the fact that they're not much older than the Orlando Magic and they got their start showing log rolling and lawn darts. Admittedly, SportsCenter WAS the center of the sports universe for a time, but it's pretty much been all style over substance for the past half-decade or so. No one I know in the industry watches SportsCenter anymore—ESPN News is much better. ESPN doesn't want to report the story, they want to BE the story, and it's painful to watch. Chris Berman hasn't been funny since 1990, and Stuart Scott hasn't been funny since ever. And now this is who I have to turn to for Monday Night Football? No thanks.