Friday, March 8, 2013

Embrace debate on "First Take?" No thanks

When ESPN started airing its morning variety show "Cold Pizza" 10 years ago, Skip Bayless and Woody Paige had some entertaining debates during their "1st and 10" segments at intervals during the broadcast.

Even after Paige left and the show became "First Take" in 2007, the "1st and 10" was a key part. Bayless' opponents were bombastic (Stephen A. Smith), calm and reasoned (Greg Anthony) and in between (Doug and Ryan Stewart).

The debates made for a nice break during the show -- or maybe the rest of the show was a breather from the debates?

Not anymore. Under its "Embrace Debate" motto, it's been all arguing all the time for the past 18 months, with Smith and Bayless as permanent adversaries.

It's often a punching bag on Twitter. Even ESPN heavyweight Bill Simmons weighed in.

I used to watch at least part of "First Take" when it was a variety show. But after it switched to all-Bayless all the time, no way. Judging from the way it is criticized, it sounds like I'm not missing anything.

-- Howard Primer


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