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The lowlight of the highlight

September 16, 2013 - Shaunna Dunder Hershberger
It's been nearly eight years, but I'm still mourning the loss of ESPN's NFL Primetime. For years, I knew I had a fantastic go-to highlight show complete with catchy background music and Chris Berman's wacky nicknames and sound effects. Where else could you hear "Whoooop! Whooop!" or "Rumblin' bumblin' stumblin'" or "He could ... go ... all ... the ... way!" on a Sunday evening -- getting yourself a good laugh while also indulging in game highlights and interesting statistics to boot?

Well, the answer to that question now is NOWHERE!

Because the Sunday night game is now on NBC, the network also negotiated exclusive rights to show "extended highlights" prior to the Sunday night game. I used quotation marks around "extended highlights" because there is nothing extended or highlight-y (yup, just made that word up) about NBC's Football Night in America. In fact, as far as highlights go, it's quite abysmal.

Game "highlights" consist of showing one - ONE! - play from a game and cutting to the scoreboard and fantasy stats. Unless it's one of those big games from the weekend, then we actually get something that constitutes more of a "highlight package" by getting to see MAYBE three plays if we're lucky. Oh come on! Even the bad teams have fans that want to see highlights. At least on NFL Primetime, you could count on seeing several highlights of ALL the games - even the bad ones. At least the bad games were made comical by Chris Berman's sound effects drawing attention to teams' miscues.

ESPN has tried to combat the lack of an NFL highlight show by incorporating a mini-show into Sunday night's Sportscenter. That just doesn't cut it for me. I want to see NFL highlights. Not baseball. Not NASCAR. Not hockey or basketball. Football! I'm sorry, but I can't sit through one more boring LeBron James "will-he-win-another-title" interview while waiting for more NFL highlights.

Last night during the San Francisco-Seattle game delay, I happened to find a promising highlight show on the NFL Network. They were showing actual game highlights (yes, more than one play per game - really!) and then talking about all the games after the highlights package concluded. THEY DID THIS FOR ALL THE GAMES. I'm sorry I had to shout that, but I found it monumental that a show would have the gall to include more than one play from the Jacksonville game or the Browns game. Gasp!

News flash: there are 32 teams in the NFL, and on Sunday nights at 7 p.m., 14 of them have already been played. The Thursday night game highlights are ancient history, so that leaves only 13 games we need to see highlights for. Football Night in America has a running time of 80 minutes. Let's slash 20 minutes for commercials. Even with 60 minutes of airtime, for 13 games, you can spend a little over 4 minutes talking about each game. Can they wake up their film editing crew to perhaps slap together two minutes worth of highlights? Even one minute - I'll take ONE MINUTE of highlights, because that at least is more than one play (in theory)!

So is there a good highlight show out there? I'm starting to think they're non-existent, much like leprechauns, elves and Browns Super Bowls.....


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