Plenty of things have annoyed me this season. Among them:
• Excessive Tim Tebow talk. Yes, it's a big story. But ESPN has gone way overboard in the volume of coverage. The Week 14 pregame show had more than 15 minutes of Tebow talk, much of it repetitive.
How many times, week after week, will Merril Hoge be asked to assess/criticize Tebow's throwing motion? Several minutes were wasted on "SportsCenter" debating whether the Packers or Tebow is the bigger story — the type of meaningless, manufactured story line that ESPN resorts to as a transparent way to fill time. ESPN also delivered an embarrassing Christmas ode to Tebow, narrated by several of the analysts.
• ESPN giving Bill Parcells a pass. Because he's their colleague, ESPN announcers act as if Parcells had nothing to do with the Dolphins' problems that have led to three consecutive losing seasons. Keyshawn Johnson even said that Miami started going downhill when Parcells left — which is patently untrue. Miami was 7-9 the year before Parcells left, then 7-9 with the team he put together. He has been gone from Miami for 16 months, but he brought in more than half of the players on the 2011 roster. We're still waiting for someone at ESPN to ask Parcells why he spent a second-rounder on Pat White and made myriad other mistakes.
• CBS and Fox pregame shows cluttering the screen with tweets from players. Most are rah-rah type messages, relaying no meaningful information.
• CBS awkwardly building segments around sponsorship deals. Announcers must come up with "the Home Depot Tools to Victory" when the same "tools" or "keys" could be used for most games. Rich Gannon noted the Bills "need to protect the football." What team doesn't?
• Daryl Johnston repeatedly repeating himself on Fox. Johnston somehow has maintained his No. 2 analyst post on Fox despite an irritating penchant for saying the same thing two, sometimes three times, after plays, with slightly altered words. "You've got to get something positive going," he said during a 49ers game. "Try to create something positive. You've got to keep getting positive yards."
• NBC's Michele Tafoya asked most players "What were you thinking?" during a particular play. Can't she think of different questions? Bring back Andrea Kremer!
• When your home team plays in the late-afternoon window, CBS switches you away from the early game too soon — even if it's in the dramatic final seconds — to air three or four minutes of ads. That has been a source of exasperation for years. But CBS refuses to stay with the early game until kickoff of the next game, when it could then switch immediately.
AROUND THE DIAL
• Fox's Mike Pereira, on ESPN's Jon Gruden: "I'm not a fan of Gruden's. He was a loudmouth as a coach who constantly disrespected officials, and he's a blowhard in the broadcast booth who spouts off when he doesn't know what he's talking about." Gruden, incidentally, told The Tampa Tribune that he will return to ESPN next season instead of taking a coaching job. Fox's Brian Billick is open to listening to coaching offers.
• Fox has every right to be irritated after not getting either Cowboys-Giants game this year (both went to NBC) and having only two of Dallas' six NFC East games.