1994 was a long time ago. West Coast won the flag. Four of the current AFL clubs had not been established and umpires still wore white. That was also the year that the AFL Footy Show first went to air.
Over that time big footy names such as Eddie McGuire, Sam Newman, Trevor Marmalade, James Brayshaw, Shane Crawford, Garry Lyon and Billy Brownless have all made it (rightly or wrongly) to our screens. Sure it has had some good moments over the journey. At one stage it may have even been slightly funny. But no more. In 2017, it is time the AFL Footy Show went the way of the around the ground bounce. Into history.
This year alone we have seen the scandal with Brownless, his wife and Lyon. They even used the scandal as a ratings boosting season opener. Disgusting. Garry Lyon will never be able to return while Brownless is there. A female host in Rebecca Maddern was injected to replace Lyon, but also to try and pretend that the show is not sexist rubbish. She does anything but that and should shut down derugotory sexist comments when they happen. She does not. In his defence, Lyon was somewhat good at that. There are also reports that Sam Newman hates everyone and everything associated with the show and that Nissan are re-considering their sponsorship in the off season because it does not fit in with their brand beliefs.
Why then are we still having it on our screens every Thursday night? The answer to that is that for some reason people still watch it. Some strange reason. Gone are the days where you tuned in to see the ins and outs for each team every week. By 8.30pm if you do not know team selections, you have either been living under a rock or do not care much for footy. My favourite part of the show is when Damian Barrett comes out and tries to be serious and break a news story. This usually happens right after Newman says something pathetically offensive or they make some unfunny joke about sex. You cannot have it both ways.
I think half the problem for the show is that we have so many brilliant AFL shows on the market now. AFL 360, On The Couch, League Teams. In fact pretty much everything on Fox Footy makes Channel Nine’s show look second rate. I understand they are different shows in set up but The Footy Shows tries to be everything and credit where credit is due, it achieves that. Just very very poorly.
There is nothing funny about this show. You never see segments discussed at a later date in the media praising how good a television piece it was. Dave Hughes is normally quite a likeable, funny man. On The Footy Show everything loses its humour. Sam Newman belittles every person he speaks to on the street in his ‘Street Talk’ segment and also in ‘Sam’s Mailbag.’ I mean it is the twenty first century, who is still sending in mail?! Segments such as ‘Big Bill’s House’ and having Shane Crawford dressed as an elderly person to trick AFL players is amateur hour at best.
This week they even found a way to disrespect and put down Bruce McAvaney and the retiring Dennis Cometti by making an inappropriate sketch. Hardly a way to treat the best people in the game. This is not unusual. They say you have not made it in the AFL world until you feature in a offensive segment on The Footy Show.
Then there is the big finale show every year, where people pay big money to watch the show live from Rod Laver Arena as it sails off into the sunset for another season. Why you would pay money to watch AFL players attempt to dance and make fools of themselves for three hours is beyond me.
I cannot find one positive aspect of the AFL Footy Show. There is absolutely no reason why the AFL world needs it back in 2017. There is so much other good AFL content out there to enjoy that does not belittle, offend or is not just plain rubbish. Move on Australia and watch something that is not utter dribble.
Enough is enough.
Do you watch The AFL Footy Show? What draws you to it? Tweet me @liamthompson1.