If you’re not aware of the phrase, “jump the shark” then go here and here. Now that you’re knowledgeable, here goes my top 10 list of things that need to jump the shark.
So as I immerse myself into the sports world on a daily basis, who am I to criticize people who become irrationally obsessed with the exposure of celebrities? Because celebrities don’t matter. Yes, there are many celebs who use their elevated position in life to speak out against injustices, but most bring absolutely nothing to the table. Unfortunately, it’s a sad statement on our society that TMZ and other tabloid sensationalism, in whichever form of media, attracts the eyes of our nation and the world. TMZ disgusts me. They do nothing but concentrate on the negative and joyously invade the privacy of others. Has this disease infiltrated the sports world and it’s media coverage? Sure it has. But athletic competition is much more important to a productive society than Hollywood and its irresponsible celebrities. Besides, the virus of sensationalism knows no bounds. Unfortunately, since TMZ and it’s low-brow equivalents will most likely never jump the shark, I had to rank it at 10. This clip best sums up how I feel about TMZ:
When was the tipping point for the resurgence of the mohawk hairstyle? Can Malcolm Galdwell provide us with a column on this? Now, it seems like the mohawk is unfortunately becoming too fashionable….when it’s “soooo” late 2007. Every time I see someone with their fresh ‘hawk cut, I want to say: “Really? Can I see yesterday’s receipt for your barb wire tattoo and puka shell necklace?”
#8 Homer Replays
Not all home arenas do this, but a majority of those that I’ve been too are guilty. Simply put, when arenas do not show all replays of crucial moments in a game, even if the call is against the home team, they are doing a disservice to the fan. We should be afforded the ability to review and judge plays for ourselves. Selective replays amount to biased propaganda.
#7 Distaste for Bloggers
Caught Costas Now on HBO last night….it was a town hall meeting to discuss the media and sports on a range of platforms. Essentially, with the snowballing availability of information, outlets for sports are increasingly concentrating on sensationalism and quick hits of information in next to real time. Is this a good thing? A bad thing? You can debate both sides. The town hall meeting concentrated mostly on the negative side-effects. While not all outlets can be considered guilty, there are certainly no innocents.
Specifically focusing on the internet segment (since this is a blog and the segment mostly concentrated on blogs)….featuring journalist Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights), blogger Will Leitch (Deadspin [preview here]) and player Braylon Edwards (Cleveland Browns): The problem I have with those who have a severe distaste for bloggers is that they group all blogs together with their own stereotypically negative connotations. Bissinger came across indignant, aggressive and vulgar towards bloggers…ironic that he criticizes all bloggers for doing the same to athletes and main stream journalists. Buzz admittedly expressed that a basis for his anger comes from the fact that blogs are part of our future media experience….and that his son will be exposed to the glib tone and quick nature of blogs. Leitch didn’t do the best job of defending blogs, but who can blame him as he was essentially ambushed. I doubt I could have done much better. Braylon Edwards actually came across as the most composed and honest voice. Read follow-ups from Deadspin here and here. And a follow up from the Big Lead here. Update: more follow-ups: Awful Announcing and another from The Big Lead.
Costas unfairly read some comments from Deadspin and attributed those as being indicative of the bloggers themselves. Sure, writer and reader may share the same nature, but I don’t see much of a difference between those who comment on main-stream-media outlets and those who comment on blogs. For example, the comment contributors on Wizards Insider tend to be much more critical and irrational than those who participate in the community on Bullets Forever.
Yes, blogs run the gambit from
glorified paparazzi, to opinion (biased as it may be) from a fan’s perspective (usually focusing on a team because as we know, many team beat reporters have no intrinsic ties to the teams which they cover), to satire, to comedy, to fan community, to there are a ton a different blogs out which are as diverse as the components or our nation.
To group all blogs together would be just as insulting as grouping all main-stream-media outlets as one (or even worse, as bad as holding a person responsible for a despicable act committed by someone else of the same race). The microscope over athletes is growing exponentially as a result of blogging and the internet age, but blogs are not what cultivated this growth, they are just apart of it. Braylon Edwards was right, athletes of today are doing very similar things as athletes in the 60s, 70s, and even further back (read this). And yes, it’s a fine line between invading their privacy with a dose of over-criticism and holding them accountable for reckless actions in public. ESPN has certainly been guilty a TMZ-esque hype.
The fact is that blogs are here to stay. There is a wide range of information available on every topic in the world. Buzz Bissinger should be teaching his son to not solely rely on one source, such as blogs, for information just as one should not solely rely on Wikipedia as the end all be all of references.
#6 The Horseshoe/Comb-over
t the hair styles. Unfortunately, many men have to deal with male-pattern baldness. Fingers crossed that I will not be among this group as my family history has predicted that I will have a full head of gray. Regardless, my friends and I have discussed this possibility many times and each conversation ends with the conclusion of going out Andre Agassi Style (shaving the whole damn thing or cutting it really, really short). I really don’t blame people for holding on at the onset of a slightly receding forehead, or even keeping the surroundings of a thinning soft spot, Manu Ginobili Style. At those points, medical advancements can still help. But when you get to the point where you’ve got more scalp than hair, you need to cut your losses. I don’t think there’s another conveyance of external appearance which displays such desperation as holding on to a few strands. Big ups to Dan Steinberg and Mike Wise for doing what needs to be done by taking the razor to the whole dome.
#5 The Possession Arrow in College Basketball
This is probably the only issue that I’ve ever agreed on with Dick Vitale….yet, it still doesn’t make his annoying tirades any less tolerable. We are no longer in the 1940s when there were about two dozen non-athletic tie ups per game. The alternative possession rule was implemented in the NCAA in 1981. Some argue that the elimination of the jump ball “saved basketball” by eliminating stoppages in play; others say that thrown balls by refs can be too inconsistent, thus causing controversy. I call B.S. – For one, there aren’t that many jump balls in today’s game, at least not enough to slow down the game. Two, most subjective referee judgments can be considered controversial…..learn how to toss the damn ball. How hard can it really be? Simply put, the use of the possession arrow penalizes teams for playing good defense. Jump ball articles: USAToday (2004), New York Times (2006)
#4 NFL Overtime Rules
Look, I know that special teams play is a huge part of today’s game, and that people have the desire for them to be a factor when an NFL game is in the balance. But NFL overtime rules amount to a coin flip. No other major sport implements a sudden death overtime when one team might not have a chance to touch the ball. NFL OT rules need to be more like college. If you want special teams to factor in, have each team kick off for the first round or two of OT. After that, you can exchange starting the possession from the 25 yard line.
#3 Douche Bags
This is pretty self-explanatory…but unfortunately, I doubt douche-bags will ever jump the shark since most douche bags are not aware that they are, in fact, douche bags. D-bags are too wrapped up in themselves to know otherwise. Now, most all of us can admit to d-bagish behavior at one point in our lives…after all, we all went to college and high school (ok, not all of us). But some provide people such a consistent display of douche-baggery throughout their lives that they should be shunned by normal society. A prime example of how to spot a douche bag can be found on Cracked.com: 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science and via this Saturday Night Live skit: The 2007 Douchebag Awards. Note: While the preceding links outline guys who are douche bags, this does not preclude females from falling in the d-bag category as well. Also, a more extreme version of a douche bag is a douche nozzle.
#2 College Football Championship
Computer rankings and the BCS are a good thing….completely necessary in terms of leveling the playing ground of the college football landscape featuring so many diverse conferences. But sports craves the do-or-die nature of a playoff system. By not having one, it’s an injustice to the fans, the coaches, the players and the true reason to why we watch sports….for the entertainment and drama of competition. I’ve yet to hear a halfway decent reason as to why we should not implement a hybrid of computer rankings determining seeding and at least a four team playoff system. With computers there will always be controversy, but at least with a playoff system there will be a means for satisfaction.
#1 The Geico Cavemen
I’ve never found the cavemen commercials funny. Perhaps little kids do, but they don’t buy car insurance, do they? The Geico Cavemen can be considered the LeBron James of the Cro-Magnon world: whiny dicks. The most effective portrayal of a caveman in a modern world was and will always be Phil Hartman as the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer on Saturday Night Live. The worst portrayal? Easily Brendan Fraser in Encino Man….until now. The Geico Cavemen are a homeless man’s version of Link, the caveman in that tragically horrendous Pauly Shore movie.