Thirty-three years and more than 50,000 episodes on, SportsCenter is less a television show or a convenient way to catch up on the day in sports than a great mechanical contraption gone awry, its parts moving independently not just of one another but of any obvious directing intelligence.
We might like to ignore the unwieldy device as its appendages flail and sparks burst from exposed wires, but its broadcast dictates the narratives of the day. If SportsCenter decides to force Tim Tebow on you, you—or at least the people with whom you talk sports—will be thinking and talking about Tim Tebow. No hockey on SportsCenter? Hockey doesn't exist.