Keller: Mothership got carried away by win over Brazil

July 13, 2011
  • Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor
Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor

In the world of the 24-hour news cycle, it can be difficult to avoid becoming a prisoner of the moment.

ESPN is not immune. In fact, in can be argued that ESPN has done more to further the cause of being a prisoner of the moment than any other sports entity.

The moment happens. It’s repeated on SportsCenter 13 times. It’s analyzed and debated by Mike and Mike, Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon and the gang on Around The Horn.

Just to name a few.

And if it’s a great enough moment, the network will revise its “Top 10 Most Dramatic Moments In Sports History.”

Such was the case Sunday, following the United States’ dramatic win over Brazil in the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament.

That night, the self-monikered Worldwide Leader In Sports (although I like former ESPNer Dan Patrick’s name for the network: The Mothership) carted out the aforementioned Top 10 list and inserted the goal that occurred just hours earlier right in the middle.

Your No. 5 most dramatic sports moment. Of all time.

Come on.

Full disclosure: I didn’t watch the match, and I only saw Abby Wambach’s header that tied the score on the endless highlight loop that night. Sure, it was a great goal.

And I understand that if you’re invested in the match that the moment will be more dramatic for you than for me.

But No. 5? In a quarterfinal match?

Would it still seem as dramatic if the U.S. had lost its semifinal match Wednesday against France?

I can think of 10 moments from baseball and a handful each from football and basketball that I would put in front of this goal.

Tennis, swimming, track ... yes, something from all of those sports, too.

Jesse Owens showing up Adolf Hitler doesn’t make the list?

For me, it’s no better than the third-most dramatic soccer moment. You’ve heard of Brandi Chastain and Landon Donovan? They aren’t in ESPN’s Top 10.

This is not a swipe at soccer — as some friends have accused me of taking in the past — and it is certainly not a swipe at women’s sports.

It is a swipe at ESPN — again, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports — for overhyping this goal for one simple reason: It has the broadcast rights.

Need proof of that? Look no further than the NHL.

How often is it said that the most dramatic playoff games in professional sports happen in the NHL?

Well, ESPN didn’t get the memo, or the network lost the memo when it didn’t renew its broadcast rights for the NHL during its season-long lockout in 2004-05.

If you turned on SportsCenter during the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, you’d have to wait as much as 45 minutes in an hour-long show for NHL highlights. But you get all the lockout coverage of the NFL (which the network DOES have the rights to) you could ever want.

“Let’s go to Ed Werder in the lobby of a hotel where the owners and players are NOT meeting today.”

It’s shameless self-promotion, and The Mothership has forced it on all of us.

So when you finish reading this, go to to see my list of the “Top 10 Most Dramatic Moments In Sports History.”

You know you’re wondering.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7728 or by email at

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