During the “Good Bet or Bad Bet?” segment of the premiere of Fox Sports 1's All Takes Matter, Jason McIntyre asked Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock to debate the following premise: The Denver Broncos will miss the playoffs this season. “That’s a ... decent bet,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock changed his answer to “good bet” after McIntyre called him out for sitting on the fence in a segment where every topic is posed as a binary. Cowherd was more confident in his opinion. “It’s an old roster that peaked, won a title,” he said. “It’s over.” Whitlock changed his mind. “I’m gonna flip-flop,” he repeated, before launching into a loud defense of the Broncos’ ability, essentially changing his answer to “bad bet.”
If Whitlock were to read this, he might claim that the cripster thought police (me, in this case) are suppressing his right to change opinions. That’s fine. But it makes for terrible television.
All Takes Matter has a tough objective. It needs to build a debate-loving audience with two personalities on a relatively new network on a program that runs an hour long. Cowherd and Whitlock—a Laurel and Hardy routine from hell at best—aren’t as important as their takes. On Monday’s premiere, the takes weren’t hot.
The show’s run time may be what brought down the temperature of the takes, but a lot of them just bleed together. I felt like I watched 18 topics about the NBA Finals where all the words and opinions sounded the same. When the USMNT came under discussion, Cowherd, who admitted he didn’t care about soccer, was clearly out of his element and trying to fill his take with enough words so the panel could move on.
“We have advanced now, three of the last four World Cups out of group stage,” he said. “And we have generally had groups that were considered, you know, the Group of Death. So, we are advancing three of the last four World Cups.” He also mentioned “Brooks and Wood,” as positives, possibly referencing U.S. players John Brooks and Bobby Wood. I’m completely guessing here, but it certainly sounded like Cowherd asked McIntyre before the show for some USMNT talking points and then paraphrased them back to him in an authoritative tone.
(Should I talk about Jason McIntyre’s role on the show? He’s positioned as the moderator and, additionally, a punching bag. He’ll lob up takes that Cowherd and Whitlock can easily reject. I’m surprised they weren’t starting their rebuttals with, “McIntyre, you ignorant slut.”)
All Takes Matter seems to be operating in the spirit of a student filling out an essay and changing the margins to reach the minimum number of pages. If the show needs to last an hour, it has to deliver the takes. I don’t need dull opinions about LeBron and Steph Curry. Give me the good shit. I want someone to break the fourth wall and intimidate an NBA superstar. I want scorching thoughts on domestic violence victims. Hell, put Cowherd and Whitlock in a cage match with one broken pool cue between them, and have McIntyre and Clay Travis as the undercard. That might be able to surpass SportsCenter.