Bristolmetrics: ESPN Covers A Quarterback Controversy Not Involving Tim Tebow

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This is a regular feature breaking down, minute-by-minute, the content that appears on ESPN's 11 p.m. edition of SportsCenter throughout the week.

Total time: 432.5 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 326.5

NFL: 135 minutes (41.4%) (last week: 24.7%)
College football: 79 (24.2%) (last week: 21%)
NBA: 31.75 (9.7%) (last week: 20.5%)
SportsCenter staples*: 33.75 (10.3%) (last week: 12.5%)
College basketball: 23 (7%) (last week: 7.3%)
NASCAR: 20.75 (6.4%) (last week: 4.8%)
Other sports: 1.75 (0.5%) (last week: 0.7%)
MLB: 1.5 (0.5%) (last week: 8.4%)
NHL: 0 (0%) (last week: 0.1%)
Golf: 0 (0%) (last week: 0%)


*-Includes things like the "Top 10," "Encore," "What 2 Watch 4," etc.

San Francisco 49ers (NFL): 47.75 (14.6%)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (college football): 16.25 (5%)
New York Knicks (NBA): 9.25 (2.8%)
Grinnell Pioneers (college basketball): 5 (1.5%)
Toronto Blue Jays (MLB): 1 (0.3%)


Rather than break down the amount of time a specific athlete or figure was covered, we counted how frequently names were mentioned in the transcripts from the week. The 15 most-mentioned sports people for Nov. 16-Nov. 22:

Colin Kaepernick: 67
Alex Smith: 50
Brad Keselowski: 39
Jim Harbaugh: 28
Matt Barkley: 23
Jimmie Johnson: 23
Aldon Smith: 21
Robert Griffin III: 20
Tony Romo: 17
Collin Klein: 15
Carmelo Anthony: 15
Russell Westbrook: 15
Manti Te'o: 14
Lane Kiffin: 11
Jack Taylor: 11


Total time: 20,411.25 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 15,375.75

NFL: 3,204.25 (20.8%)
NBA: 2,899 minutes (18.9%)
MLB: 2,887.75 (18.8%)
SportsCenter staples: 2,057.75 (13.4%)
Other: 1,765.5 (11.6%)
College basketball: 1,114 (7.3%)
College football: 990.25 (6.4%)
NHL: 457.25 (3%)



SportsCenter covers a real quarterback controversy: Colin Kaepernick's impressive performance on Monday Night Football last week produced the typically lavish praise you'll see on the network's postgame show that is SportsCenter in name only. Things got interesting after the network aired some of Jim Harbaugh's press conference, where he dodged questions about who would be named the starter for next week against the Saints. When the network sent it back to the postgame show with Stuart Scott, Steve Young, and Trent Dilfer, you could tell they were in shock, and immediately started talking about what they inferred from Harbaugh's comments (or lack thereof). The tone of the show shifted from praising this young quarterback of the future, who performed at an exceptional level against tough competition, to wondering if Alex Smith had just lost his starting job. It was refreshing to see ESPN talk about a quarterback controversy with no planned segments or canned arguments like we've seen with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, but it's probably not a good sign that they're at their best when they're unscripted.


SportsCenter lost their shit over Jack Taylor's 138-point performance: Yeah, that bullshit scoring record set last week by Jack Taylor? You'd think it would maybe get a passing mention near the end of the broadcast. I mean, it did make national news and all. But ESPN led off Tuesday's SportsCenter with their "BREAKING NEWS" graphics package, gushing over the event. It topped news of Ed Reed's overturned suspension, Lakers and Knicks highlights, and developments in the 49ers quarterback controversy. It made Grinnell College the most covered college basketball team for the week. They even secured a live phone interview with Taylor for five minutes on that SAME show. David Arseneault's plan worked to perfection.


The Knicks aren't missing Jeremy Lin: The Knicks' hot start this season has resulted in them receiving the most airtime for an NBA team this week. Even in a loss, almost all of the highlights were focused on them, a good indicator of what ESPN thinks is newsworthy. And if you're wondering, Jeremy Lin got one mention this week.