>Titans 30, Jags 3

>The Titan’s made their lone appearance on Monday Night Football this season last night as they clobbered division rival the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-3.

Watching the game, I was a lot happier than one of the last times the team was showcased on Monday Night Football when then-host Tony Kornheiser couldn’t insult and demean Nashville and Tennessee fast enough.

And while the commentators for the game (still not my favorite broadcast group, but still a damn sight better than Gus “Every play makes me shout” Johnson) were fair in their assessment of praise and criticisms of the Titans, I still found the bias that ESPN has against the Titans to rear its ugly head during the post-game coverage, specifically on SportsCenter.

I understand that baseball is in its post-season and will be for the next six to eight weeks. And that there was a game involving Cliff Lee single-handedly playing all nine positions on the field against the New York Yankees last night. But come on, ESPN! Pushing the highlights of the game down until close to twenty minutes from the top of the hour is just absurd. It’s made worse by the fact that we get five minutes of dithering on the leading with your helmet controversy that has reared its ugly head in the past 24 hours. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s important but surely there must be other sports stories going on somewhere. You know it’s bad when I find myself almost wishing for a pre-season NBA highlight or soccer highlights).

And then the bias showed itself again in the commentary made by Steve Young about the game. He called it an ugly one at one point, saying that a highlight being shown was only because the game was “so bad.” You can bet your sweet bippie if it had been highlights say of the Cowboys doing something or the Vikings, they couldn’t have praised it fast enough.

Speaking of the Cowboys, as anyone else sick and tired of hearing about this year’s edition? I pull against them at every chance I get and I despite them just on principle, but many the absurd amounts of coverage for this team are making me hate them that much more. I get that they’re underachieving, but I also get annoyed that every team that beats them only does it because the Cowboys let them. I’ve heard that for the Titans and Redskins this year…it wasn’t so much that we won so much as the Cowboys lost. I’ll admit the Redskins weren’t spectacular on opening night against the Cowboys, but we still did enough to get more points that they did. And last week, the Titans came out and punched the Cowboys in the mouth and then beat them my taking advantage of their mistakes. We turned them into points and came up with big plays at critical times.

As I said before, I hate the Cowboys anyway. Always have. I will admit that watching that team play this year, I’m struck by how self-aggrandizing the team is. Every first down is cause for a major celebration. Few teams in the NFL celebrate every minor play as much as the Cowboys. I keep muttering, “Act like you’ve been there” as I see the game or highlights on ESPN or the NFL Network. I understand that football is an emotional sport and there are times when it’s appropriate to be excited and to pump your chest. But not when you convert a third and short for a first down. I think the problem in Dallas is similar to the one the Redskins have faced in the past couple of years–you can’t assemble a fantasy football team in real life and expect it to win. You’ve got to have a team and not just a collection of players.

Anyway, back to my original point. You know, I can understand the NFL throwing the city of Jacksonville a bone by giving them a Monday night showcase. But you’d think the city and fans would respond by at least filling most of the stadium for kick-off. I saw so many empty, lower-bowl seats in the stadium last night that it was laughable. Given that the team beat Indy a few weeks ago and then won against the Bills last week and is taking on a huge division rival, you’d think some fans would show up for the game. Apparently not.

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