I used to watch ESPN religiously.
In fact, back in the day it was tough for me to turn it off.
These days, it's rare for me to turn the dial to the four-letter network. No longer do I make an effort to watch SportsCenter. My daily dose of Baseball Tonight during the summer is no more.
I can't stand it. I hate everything about ESPN. From its me-first anchors like Stuart Scott to its Eastern seaboard bias and its willingness to make seemingly every single story a bigger deal than it actually is.
Listen, anchors aren't supposed to be the story. You report the news. Nobody cares about your opinion. But, people like Stuart Scott see it differently. As do the suits at ESPN, saying they have done nothing about his dumb antics since he came on the air.
Scott tries to make the show about himself with catch phrases like "boo yah!" Yawn. Nobody cares, Stuart. Just do your job and promote the story, not yourself.
The thing is, Scott's amateur workings don't come close to another anchor at ESPN. This guy is the king of the blowhard sports anchors.
Of course, I'm talking about good ole Chris Berman. The guy that makes ESPN's coverage of the NFL Draft nearly unwatchable. When I see Berman on the TV, I promptly turn the channel.
He's awful. Everything from his stupid catch phrases to awful nicknames make any show he's on a pain to watch.
Sayings like "Back, back, back, back, back" just make me sick. Sadly, the suits at ESPN probably love this stuff since he's been there since basically the network's inception.
ESPN's bad anchors are just one reason that a station that used to be so good has fell so far.
East coast bias is a common word associated with the four-letter network.
Now, you're going to expect it. Cities like New York and Boston are two of the largest TV markets in the country. On top of that, Bristol, Conn., where ESPN's main studio is located, is smack dab in between New York and Boston.
You expect some east coast bias. ESPN has taken it to a new level. Seemingly every baseball game the network shows includes one of these teams — Yankees, Mets, Red Sox or Phillies. Add in the Cubs, because, well, they are the Cubs.
In ESPN's eyes, teams west of the Mississippi River might as well not even exist. When the Red Sox and Yankees hook up, you might as well give up any chance of seeing any other legit highlights on Baseball Tonight.
ESPN will just shove the Yankees and Red Sox down your throat. Just like ESPN shoves everything down your throat.
Why talk about a good number of subjects when you can talk about Tim Tebow for half of your broadcast?
Speaking of that, it's unreal how much ESPN mentions that very mediocre quarterback on SportsCenter.
Deadspin.com had a feature earlier this week called "Bristolmetrics." Basically, Deadspin breaks down what SportsCenter consists of.
In the latest Bristolmetrics feature, Deadspin broke down what was mentioned in the 10 p.m. edition of Sportscenter from Jan. 7-18.
The athlete that was mentioned the most during that period was, of course, Tebow. He got 154 mentions on the program, almost three times as much as Aaron Rodgers (54) and LeBron James (52).
Now, does Tebow really deserve that much airtime? Of course not. But, ESPN just doesn't care. They cater to the lowest common denominator.
Another thing ESPN doesn't care about is hockey. Now, don't get me wrong. Hockey is a niche sport in the United States, and it always will be.
That being said, it still deserves more than 13 1/2 minutes of coverage, which is what it got during that edition of Sportscenter from Jan. 7-18. Thirteen minutes of coverage in an 11-day period. Just 2.4 percent of ESPN's coverage over that time span was devoted to hockey.
I knew ESPN didn't care about the sport. But their lack of hockey coverage is astounding. When ESPN lost its NHL rights after the 2004 season, it was almost like the league didn't exist anymore.
According to Deadspin's report, events that were broadcast on ESPN or one of its sister networks preceding SportsCenter were the top highlight on half the shows Deadspin reviewed. With the NHL on a different network, it's just not going to get the coverage it deserves.
Thankfully, there are other options for us hardcore sports fans these days. I have no problem shelling out an extra $5 a month or so to get the MLB, NFL and NHL Networks.
MLB Network actually gives coverage of all 30 teams, not just the cities on the Eastern seaboard. While NFL Network has its share of clowns as analysts (Michael Irvin, Steve Mariucci), its highlight shows are superior to ESPN's NFL Primetime, which features Berman.
If I want to watch the NHL I'll turn on either NHL Overtime on the NBC Sports Network or tune into the NHL Network.
I'd encourage other sports fans to do the same. ESPN isn't the only dog out there. I'm not much of an NBA fan, yet if I was, I would tune into NBA TV instead of dealing with the clowns on ESPN.
There are other options besides ESPN if you're a sports fan.
I'd suggest using them.