It surprised many that, according to ESPN's metrics, the most commonly searched term on their site for the month of February was "Greatest Highlight." This registers as a surprise because, well, the "Greatest Highlight" basically consists of our man Berman deux deux deuxing his way through ruining some of the greatest calls of our lifetime. All for the sake of Old Spice and other smiling sponsors. Sports fans like this? Really?
No, no they don't. When you consider that "Greatest Highlight" has been on every "SportsCenter" for a month, it would be a rather resounding failure for it not to show up somewhere. In our view, this is the same reason "Who's Now?" was the top searched term of 2007. We've discussed this before, but it warrants repeating:
ESPN is a corporation. As a corporation, their goal is to grow and make money. There is no crime in this; this is not an art project. But as most sports fans can tell you, even those of us who grow exhausted of the "Greatest Highlight" and "Who's Now" antics watch ESPN all the time. There is no viable competitor; if you're a sports fan who doesn't watch ESPN, you're really not much of a sports fan.
ESPN knows this. They know they have you; you aren't going anywhere. Because of this, they do not need to cater to you. To grow, they must bring in new viewers, people who are more casual sports fans, people who are more drawn in by the shiny objects of "controversy" and Dick Vitale. They're the ones who might think, hey ... I AM curious about how the world of sports intersects with the world of Hollywood! They are the new viewers; they are the people who discovered Nirvana way too late and ruined everything. (Note: We are one of these people, at least when it comes to Nirvana.) They are exactly the type of people who keep Chris Berman in our faces every night. And they're exactly the type of people who love the "Greatest Highlight;" people who, really, don't actually like sports that much.
So that's why, in our humble opinion, "Greatest Highlight" is the most searched term on ESPN.com. That, or the world is fucking collapsing all around us. Could be that.