This morning, ESPN announced it had reached an eight-year extension of its broadcasting agreement with the NFL. As a result, the Worldwide Leader will retain rights to “Monday Night Football” through 2021, all for the low, low supersaver price of $1.9 billion a year. Just what the owners need to lock the players out all over again in a few years. At least we know we’re guaranteed to have two or three more horrible experiments with the third announcer after someone finally, mercifully gives Gruden another coaching job.
Of course, ESPN doesn’t just pour money into a sports league without ensuring that their completely even-handed coverage priorities match their investment. Which is why several already bloated ESPN NFL shows are getting expanded, while others will be created new out of whole terrible cloth. As many as 12! 12 GODDAMN NEW SHOWS!
How exactly does the network intend to fill 500 (500!) new hours of NFL-related programming each year? Even less coherence? You bet!
ESPN Senior NFL Reporter Adam Schefter accompanies various NFL players to lavish nightlife spots throughout the year. While the players focus on groupies and occasionally get arrested, Schefter mostly busies himself in the background updating his Twitter feed. In one notable episode, Kenny Britt is unsuccessful in getting Schefter laid.
Expanding what was a tedious segment on pregame shows into a full-blown spinoff, producers soon discover that the concept wears a little thin as a 60-minute daily feature. They compensate for this by having Cris Carter draw out his “MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN” as long as possible. Carter dies of oxygen deprivation by the third week. Antonio Pierce assumes his role as co-host.
Designed as a transparent rip-off of Tosh.0, host Trent Dilfer is supposed to highlight and poke fun at wacky YouTube video posted by NFL fans. Instead, every show becomes a stream of highlight clips of the five quarterbacks in the league he considers to be “elite”. Three of them are Matt Ryan.
With an impressive roster of former players turned analysts, the network decides to form its own league of retired NFLers. The plan goes awry when Tedy Bruschi keeps all the really good steroids for himself.
Herm Edwards, Mike Golic, Mark Schlereth and Merrill Hoge take turns having one-on-one discussions on weighty issues. First and final episode: “What is more important: guts or heart?” Internal organs are regretably removed on air to settle debate. ESPN slapped with massive FCC fines. Replaces original format with this on loop:
In a rare act of defiance, ESPN brings back “Jacked Up!”, only this time as an entire show. When the NFL complains that the network is celebrating the kinds of hits that lead to troubling injuries and bad publicity, ESPN agrees to cancel “Outside The Lines” if the program does one show on broken down former stars.
Merrill Hoge puts NFL running backs through a series of unsettling challenges to determine whether they are or are not a factorback. At no point does Hoge ever explain how completing said tasks makes them a factorback or even what a factorback is. Knowshon Moreno is never the same after Hoge dares him to let spiders lay eggs in his urethra.
Roger Ebert presents At The Movies
Traditional format of the show is kept, except the odd twist that reviewers have to switch the titles of movies with names of NFL teams. When test groups find Ebert’s face too frightening, he is replaced by John Clayton. Ebert regains job shortly thereafter.
Untitled Simmons Project
Placed on hiatus when ESPN attempts to name it “Grange” and forbids Simmons from ranting about how Tom Brady would make a better movie star than Ryan Reynolds.
Initially planned as a reality show following Michelle Tafoya’s working life and interactions at home, the idea was scrapped in the spring when Tafoya was hired away by NBC. Rather than come up with an entire new idea, the show will now be comprised entirely of Wendi Nix doing amateurish and insulting impressions of the former ESPN sideline reporter. Quickly becomes ESPN’s most popular studio show.
Hosted by Eric Allen. Two NFL players, either current or former, are welcomed to the show each day. The one with more Super Bowl rings is found to be correct in all of his opinions, no matter how seemingly illogical. The other is outwardly mocked and usually has his mike cut a quarter of the way into the show. Charles Haley becomes a regular guest.