I saw a rather balanced article on the possible demise of ESPN here. To recap, competitors of ESPN and right-leaning news outlets have been signaling the demise of ESPN due to falling subscriber rates and the network being on the hook for lots of money for future sporting events with a bunch of money (and trouble) coming due in 2021 for ESPN. The right-leaning news outlets are claiming the falling subscriber rates are probably due in large part to ESPN injecting left-leaning politics into their shows. In the article, I came across this section:

As a former ESPN subscriber who has not fully cut the cord, I believe I’m in a unique position to give some insight as to why I dropped ESPN. I used to watch ESPN primarily for two reasons:

1. To watch sporting events, and
2. To watch sporting events’ highlights or lowlights.

My ESPN viewing started dropping in the last half of the 2000s because the network became more and more talk heavy. SportsCenter, where I previously could see highlights, transitioned to mostly talk. I still watched ESPN, though, but not as much. By the early 2010s, I was watching ESPN for some shows with sports personalities that I liked, mainly Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon and SportsNation with Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd. But, I wasn’t watching sports or the sports highlights shows because,

1. There was little actual sporting events on ESPN, and
2. The sports highlights shows showed few highlights.

Then Michelle Beadle left SportsNation and Pardon the Interruption became too political. I stopped watching PTI at some point in the summer of 2013 when Kornheiser and Wilbon were on one of their extended breaks from the show and I looked up on the internet where the hell they were and I found that they were golfing with then-POTUS Barack Obama. Honestly, this really annoyed me for two reasons:

1. I was finding Obama’s and the left’s politics to be increasingly annoying at the time, and
2. PTI golfing with the POTUS confirmed to me that PTI would continue to inject politics into the show and that injection of politics would continue to annoy me.

After that, I didn’t watch ESPN or its sister channels anymore. It wasn’t a boycott, there just wasn’t anything on the channel that I was interested in. If I didn’t have kids, I would have cut the cord several years ago, but my kids love some of the shows on the kids channels and basic cable. A couple of years ago, Verizon FiOS (which I have and like the service) made an option where you could subscribe to two channel packs for a low price. I got on the offer to reduce my bill and chose the kids channels and stupidly, sports. After almost a year, I found that I never watched ESPN at all and when I went to watch a game that I wanted to see, it was on a channel that was not in the sports channel pack. So, I switched it to kids and basic cable channels and have never looked back, as I don’t watch cable TV anymore (only my kids do).

As for politics, I’m politically interested and those on the left would consider me right-leaning now, even though I don’t consider myself to be. I stopped watching any news channel towards the beginning of the 2000s because they’re the worst channels on TV beyond QVC and I got higher speed internet then. The author’s assumption that I would have to do away with my news channels is wrong, because my political news has come exclusively from the internet for 15 years.

So, several factors have gone into my dropping of ESPN. While my dropping of ESPN was not exclusively due to it becoming left-leaning, it can’t be denied that I was watching ESPN when it used to show sports and the final nail in its coffin occurred when it became too political for me. Perhaps if its politics were a little more balanced I might have watched more, but I doubt it – I wanted to watch sports, not listen to talk. While this article I read had some valid points, the ones predicting ESPN’s collapse (here’s one the original article was referring to here and another one here) have some valid points too. It’s never wise to alienate potentially half of your viewership, either intentionally or unintentionally, and it’s something that ESPN seems to want to admit to having done here, although they recently denied it here. It will be interesting to see how it plays out through 2021.

I hated Tom Brady. I really did. My big beef with Brady really started when the NFL changed the way the entire game was played simply to protect Brady. This occurred after his season ending injury in 2008. In a game against the Ravens in 2009, Brady went on to turn around and direct the officials to throw a personal foul flag on a member of the Ravens defense for…brushing by Brady’s feet…and the officials threw it. That was the game where afterwards Rodney Harrison said Brady should take off his skirt. Then there’s head coach Belichick of the Patriots, who for reasons unknown, has always been allowed to dress like he’s homeless in a league that regulates everything down to shoe lace length. Oh yea and he’s also a cheater. Then there’s the billionaire owner of the Patriots, Kraft, who is undoubtedly the real person in control of the NFL. So I’ve always rooted against Brady and the Patriots and they’re the only team that I’ve taken this attitude with. With all the other teams, I’ve said let the best team win.

But that changed in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI last night. While the Falcons were busy standing around assuming they were going to win, I watched Brady bust his ass in the trenches to give the Patriots a chance. When the score became 28-20, I decided I was going to go to bed when it inevitably went to overtime. But then, I had a change of heart and decided that when the score inevitably became 28-28 that I would stay up and hope that the Patriots won in overtime. Brady’s remarkable leadership on the field was responsible for my change of heart. It also didn’t hurt that while he was intensely contemplating the game over on the sideline his hair looked normal for a change and he didn’t look like a giant douche. In effect, it appeared that Brady had indeed taken off the skirt. Brady and the Patriots went on to win the game, of course, and I’m still undecided if it was the greatest comeback of all time in a Super Bowl or if it was the greatest choke of all time in a Super Bowl, or both – comebacks and chokes are intertwined, so they’re not exclusive of one another, but they’re not entirely dependent on one another either. Obviously from a purely statistical perspective, both are true. Regardless, Brady won me over in the comeback.

Another thing was that I didn’t mind the Lady GaGa half time show all that much. Given this, I have to ask myself have I become a big old softie? Am I the one wearing a skirt now?

Nah, I think it’s just coincidence that I happened to be ok with the half time show during the game I started liking Brady. The rendition of America the Beautiful before the game was crap, the commercials were crap (yea! more politics!), Belichick can kiss my ass, and so can Kraft, right after I make some mac and cheese for my kids. Goodell blows too, even though him and Kraft are now mortal enemies. The NFL still has its problems of being the No Fun League and now protects the quarterback at any cost resulting in wildly inflated offense. This protection of the quarterback is what allowed for this type of comeback to be possible in the first place. It also should be noted that choke jobs by the other team are now a factor in the past two Patriots Super Bowl victories. The fact that a game can be won in overtime without each team receiving the ball once is lame too.

Also, the NFL caved to the concussion warriors as if professional football players weren’t aware of that risk to begin with. And the NFL has the biggest douche in all of sports and of 2016 – Colin Kaepernick. (What is it with people named Colin?) I’ve continued to not watch as much NFL as I used to as a result of all of this and I feel that’s likely to continue.

Anyway, congrats to Brady on becoming a man again. If he was still a she, he would be getting paid 21% less according to Audi.