Sports media needs to stop its tunnel vision

By John Tveter, sports writer

The Seattle Seahawks much publicized 2013 season has ceased, but sports media insists on giving the team, and the NFL, exponentially more coverage than they give any other team in any other league.

Are people really that interested in knowing what team a defensive backup is visiting for a new contract?  Is the NFL’s offseason more important and more interesting than March Madness or Major League Baseball’s spring training? The answer is no.

In the world of American professional sports, ESPN refers to four professional leagues as “The Big 4.”  These leagues are the NFL (Football), NBA (Basketball), MLB (Baseball), and NHL (Hockey).  Those of us in the Pacific Northwest tend to consider the MLS (Soccer) as a “major” sports league as well. It’s no secret that although baseball is America’s “national pastime”, football is king.

An estimated 111.5 million people watched Super Bowl XLVIII, making it the most watched television program in America’s history.  To put that number in context, the 2012 census estimated that there are slightly less than 314 million people in the USA.  That means that the experts estimate that about 1 in 3 people in the United States watched the Super Bowl this season.  With that kind of popularity, it’s a no-brainer to give the NFL an inordinate amount of airtime during the season.

However, now that the current NFL season has ceased, analysts are still talking about the offseason.  NFL analysts are discussing possible teams for free agents to join, potential draft picks, jersey changes, and other nonsense that should not receive more broadcast time than highlights from a current season, regardless of what sport.  It doesn’t make sense for the NFL to receive more attention when their season is nearly six months away.

Some people disagree.

“I want all the Seahawks coverage possible,” senior Greg Bishop said. “They just won the Super Bowl!  The Mariners are so bad, and have been so bad for years, that I don’t even care anymore.  I’ll start paying attention again when they win a few games.”

Seattle fans have grown apathetic over the constant failure of the Seattle Mariners, and yes, there have been a lot of failures. However, the Mariners arguably have the best pitcher in baseball in Felix Hernandez.  The team created a buzz when they signed perennial All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, and there are is glut of young, exciting prospects coming up in the minor league system.

The Seattle Sounders also pose as an exciting franchise. The team is a recurrent playoff team and MLS Cup contender.  The Sounders feature exciting stars such as Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins alongside stellar homegrown local players including DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle), Lamar Neagle (Federal Way), Cam Weaver (Renton), and Sean Okoli (Federal Way).  Local sports fans can surely get behind a perpetual winning team featuring exciting stars and productive local players.

“I love football, but soccer is exciting too,” senior Trevor Hamilton said. “I learned to be a huge Sounders fan.”

Now is the time for local sports media to stop their tunnel vision by focusing on the NFL and the Seahawks. They need to wake up and see the other exciting teams that the Pacific Northwest region boasts.

Don’t settle for the status quo.  Don’t settle for another Seahawks segment discussing which players the team should sign come Draft Day.  Instead, go the extra mile and learn about the Sounders and their season, which has just begun.  Absorb some information about the Mariners — could this year finally be the year?

There is a lot happening in the Pacific Northwest in the world of sports.  The Seahawks are Super Bowl champs — now wake up and take a look at the other exciting teams in our region. 🅼

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