Kevin’s Blog: The English Premier League Review Show

On my Twitter feed Monday I saw a bunch of tweets about a fantastic goal that was scored by Pajtim Kasami during the Fulham at Crystal Palace soccer match. I looked forward to seeing it since I have the English Premier League Review Show set on my DVR. I don’t care if you like soccer or not. If you don’t like the athleticism displayed in the video clip, do me a favor and cease watching sports. After watching the goal last night, I knew I needed to write a post that I’ve wanted to write about this show.

The first order of business is the fact that you never, ever see the announcers. I’d be fine with seeing them as they came in and out of segments but it’s really not necessary. I want to see highlights of the sports that I enjoy. Not Bob Ley. Or Kenny Mayne. Or even a super short skirted Hannah Storm. The EPL Review show delivers by having a voice over guy do the work. He is recognizable and does well transitioning from game to game.

The main point of this article though is the dismal state of highlights show in the US. I used to watch CNN for the highlights at :28 & :58 on the hour. Then I moved on to Sportscenter for a long time. For the last several years, I’ve been looking at recaps online because Sportscenter decided that interviews and behind the scenes pieces were more important. I had some hope that when NBC re-branded Versus into NBCSports that I’d have some luck. I did for about three months when they aired “The ‘Lights” but it hasn’t aired since the Stanley Cup Finals. “The ‘Lights” did employ the unseen host which made me mourn it’s possibly temporary demise. I had some hope earlier this year when Fox Sports 1 was launched. My thought process as always “Let’s give Fox Sports Live” a chance. Unfortunately, they didn’t even give me three months of pleasure.

Hannah Storm

The EPL Review Show fills the void that is left by the sports world in the US. I don’t feel like getting into who’s the blame for this phenomenon, whether it’s the mother ship ESPN (chicken) or the people who clicked out of what I enjoy (egg). So the show doesn’t have a host and shockingly enough, shows highlights for the 46-52 minutes of programming that are left after commercials. I love it. They show highlights of every game in the league that week but they’re smart enough to air less highlights if the game was a snoozfest even if one of the teams is a marquee name like Manchester United. If two teams like Fulham and Crystal Palace, near the bottom (Fulham) or at the bottom (Palace) of the table, end up having a highlight worthy match, they get 10 minutes of match highlights like they did on last night’s show.

I know people might refer me to Red Zone for the NFL as a comparative show but I don’t like just seeing the scoring. These highlights show slick plays that may have resulted in a shanked kick that should have been a goal. Or a good move at midfield that may not have had an impact on the score line at all. I like to think of it in a similar vein as what the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Gregg Easterbrook calls “Hidden Plays” which are “Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives”. Well, some of those plays do make the highlight reels in the EPL Review Show because they dedicate the proper amount of time to the game they are covering, not the people in the game they are covering.

I can praise this show all I want, but I get an odd feeling that TV executives at NBC, ESPN or Fox aren’t going to be listening to my carping. That’s okay because I’m a glass half full guy. What I’ll do is sit down every week and enjoy highlights from the most fantastic soccer league in the world. I’ll also get to see a second highlight goal from Steve Sidwell in Fulham, not long after Kasami’s goal of the year candidate. – Kevin

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

Clint Dempsey is the best US soccer player. He is a midfielder and sometimes striker for the London based Fulham Football Club. I root for them in the English Premier League because they’ve had a nice stream of American players dating back to Brian McBride who played for the Columbus Crew. Dempsey broke McBride’s record earlier this year for most goals scored by an American in the EPL. He has tallied 16 goals in the EPL and 22 in all competitions for Fulham. I had to feature him with Raw being in London. Let’s roll.

CM Punk gets to defend his title against Mark Henry to start the show. Yep, if they’re going to change a title, it’s going to be a curtain jerker. It struck me as funny when Mitchell Cool told us to remember the Hall of Pain. That’s how much they respect our attention span. If he really meant it, he could have mentioned who Henry hurt. Punk ran entirely too far on the barricade wall for a bulldog. Both men are down at the commercial break. Nice of Henry to lift his arms up so that Punk could chair shot him in the stomach. Tell me who’s in the Hall of Pain! It’s an impressive list. Why are you not selling your own wrestler? I don’t care if he’s going to lose. All the more reason really. Got to love the London crowd already. Punk goes with the chair to the face off the top rope. Good call. The Jeritron comes on. He is at the fakest bar ever. Chicago Street Fight. Jericho shows Punk going into the Pilot Inn. Fish & Chips chant. Hilarious. The joint is 206 years old. How bad ass is that? I’d go there. I’d also drink. Jericho felt like he was taped and couldn’t react to Punk. He stunk for that reason. Brock Lesnar gets a video package too.

Sherlock Truth is going to find Teddy Long a job. Santino has on a number of jerseys but only one of the London based teams, Arsenal. They still got booed. Don’t know which team is in that area of London. David Otunga is taking him on for the US Title. Otunga loses his cool after Santino gets his foot on the ropes. Santino ends up winning the match. Jerry Lawler defending an obvious point. These days Cool would still win that argument. Lord Tensai is serious. Or something. They tease the Lesnar video package again.

It’s kiling me that they’re doing a UFC style video package with Brock Lesnar. Jeremy, the tiny one and myself are going to UFC 145 in Atlanta this week. You’re going to see something on the site about it. I’m no expert but have watched quite regularly since Brock debuted. I’m pumped to see Rashad Evans vs Jon “Bones” Jones. Should be a hell of a main event. We can definitely compare and contrast live experiences. We get a video package of Zack Ryder and Kane who are going to have a match. Of course it makes sense to settle a feud on no notice. Except for the commercial break.

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Kevin’s Blog: Definitely Live & Half Assed Review of Raw

I’m empty for news aside from sports. It’s not a good weekend when the highlight is my alma mater, the Kent State Golden Flashes, wins 24-21 on Friday evening on ESPN2 because of a shanked 20 some odd yard field goal. It was down hill from there. Pitt lost a close one to Cincinnati. Sunday was a train wreck. Fulham (English Premier League soccer) lost 3-1 after several near misses to tie it up late when it would have been 2-2. Fiorentina (Italian Serie A soccer. They are Florence’s team.) lost 1-0. To top off the shit sandwich, the Steelers did their best and bungled up a late lead. The defense being the main culprit since they were on the field last. Yuck. They’re still 6-3 with a fairly easy schedule. Just get into the playoffs. I suppose I did forget about the Penguins winning 3-2 in a shootout Saturday in Los Angeles but it’s too early in the season to start rejoicing about that.

I barely paid attention to Cena‘s pandering and shilling. Miz wakes me out of my slumber. Cena’s new shirt will continue to suck donkey balls. I stopped paying attention to them too. How can you take them seriously when they have nothing and continue to get slapped around? Zack Ryder helps out Cena. Hilarious that the guys are digging Zack but he’s teaming with Cena.

My boy Dolph Ziggler gets to beat John Morrison. Cole mentioned Twitter already. Let’s start a count. I may be wrong already with Cole & Lawler talking about the losing streak. Morrison messed up in the ropes but recovered fairly well. Ziggler gets another commercial break match.

Ziggler is showing some good offense. They really seem to be setting up a Morrison come back trail though since the announcers again are mentioning putting him away. Some fans chanting for Ziggler. Morrison executes the slowest ever tornado DDT. Yep, even the Vickie interference doesn’t work. This seems like a lot of commercial breaks for the beginning of the show.

Wow, they are trying to get me to tune out. Mason Ryan takes on JTG. I’m not sure if showing their Twitter handle counts for my game. The crossword puzzle joke was terrible but at least Lawler was trying. The crowd is bored stiff. The WWE should take notice that’s he’s not evening getting a pop in favorable territory.  More Wrestlemania hype. Look at all these dumb asses waiting in line. It’s called a computer. If you don’t have one, use one at a library. You do know where those are, right? Zack gets a cheese dick spot with the Bella Twins. He needs that on TV for those that don’t watch his show.

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