Is it Just Me, or Does ESPN’s First Take Suck Without Max Kellerman?

I’m a big fan of sports talk shows. My favorite show is Pat McAfee, and I usually have his show on in the background during weekdays.

In the mornings, I like to watch the debate shows. My favorite is First Things First on Fox Sports, especially since they got rid of Brandon Marshall, who was awful. I think First Things First has a really good lineup–and Jenna Wolfe is a great moderator. She’s actually low-key hilarious with her little quips, and she asks really good questions. Nick Wright is awesome, although his Chiefs Fan Smugness is a little annoying. Chris Broussard, I disagree with a lot of his takes but I think he’s good. And Kevin Wildes is truly one of a kind–he’s great.

I like Skip and Shannon as well, although sometimes Skip Bayless is a little much for me. But he’s one of the greatest trolls on the planet and his social media accounts are just hilarious. Shannon Sharpe absolutely kills me, guy is hilarious. And Jenny Taft is a great moderator as well. She understands how to get the best out of Skip and Shannon.

Colin Cowherd is, for my money, probably the best in the business when it comes to sports media personalities. Joy Taylor is really good as well and works perfectly with Cowherd.

All in all, Fox Sports has an excellent lineup of sports talk shows.

And I think at this point, Fox Sports is significantly better than ESPN in terms of daytime content. Leaps and bounds better, honestly.

In my opinion, this has been the case for a few years now. But the gap between Fox Sports and ESPN got way, way bigger after Stephen A. Smith forced Max Kellerman off of First Take.

Now, I still think Skip and Shannon are better than Stephen A. and Max were, but First Take was pretty good with those two. Max sometimes says stupid things and fires off ridiculous takes, but he was a good counter-balance to Stephen A.

But now First Take is just Stephen A., and I think the show has gotten worse. Stephen A. is just out of control now. Without Max Kellerman sitting across from him, it’s just too much Stephen A. He’s completely unconstrained and I think he’s gone overboard with the schtick.

It’s just constant yelling and “WHAAAAAT?!” and “BLASPHEMY!” and tirades now. Stephen A. has become almost a parody of himself; he’s cranked up the bombast to 11 and I think he needs to be reeled back in by a consistent debate partner.

To be completely honest, I think Stephen A.’s ego has gotten too big these days. It’s what made him force Kellerman off the show–he didn’t want to share the spotlight with anyone else. He almost seems angry nowadays, and he gets personally upset and offended when anyone dares disagree with him even though literally his entire job is to debate people. He never used to come off as angry; he has always been animated and passionate obviously, but that’s different from being angry.

The show’s ratings are suffering big-time without Max Kellerman, apparently.

I doubt ESPN will reunite Stephen A. with Max. I don’t think Stephen A. will go for it.

But ESPN needs to do something. The lineup they have right now isn’t working. Get Up is the best show ESPN has these days, but Get Up is not as good as Fox’s First Things First.

The only thing ESPN has going for them over Fox is that their app is better–Fox Sports’ app (at least mine) is constantly cutting out. I’ll be watching a show and it’ll just exit out back to the home screen. Fox Sports needs to get their app fixed.

The thing about ESPN is that they have good talent. I really like the NFL Live crew of Dan Orlovsky and Marcus Spears. Their NBA crew for the Jump is excellent with Perk and Richard Jefferson. ESPN has so many high-quality sports personalities, and many of them are ex-pro athletes who can provide that unique insight that only someone who has played the game can provide.

ESPN just needs a more predictable lineup for First Take. I want to know what I’m getting every day. If I knew it was Stephen A. debating Orlovsky, or Stephen A. vs. Perk, for example, I’d be more likely to watch. But since I don’t know what I’m getting from First Take on a day to day basis, I usually just tune into Fox Sports.

ESPN has got to get their weekday sports show lineup figured out.

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