Stephen A. Smith on First Take

The 2022-2023 College Football Playoff national championship game left a lot to be desired. So much so that Stephen A. Smith is calling for ESPN to get their money back.

While many people questioned whether the TCU Horned Frogs deserved to be in the College Football Playoff, Smith was a believer. In fact, Smith picked TCU to beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the national championship game Monday morning on First Take. But after watching Georgia dominate TCU from start to finish, Smith opened Tuesday’s episode of First Take by asking for a refund.

“I mean, DAMN! How bout ESPN getting their money back for that atrocity!” Smith bemoaned in his opening monologue.

Not only will ESPN be denied of Smith’s refund request, but they’re likely going to have to start spending more to keep airing the national championship game in the future. ESPN reportedly pays an average of $470 million annually for its exclusive rights deal with the CFP which runs through 2026. But as the playoffs get set to expand from four to 12 teams in the 2024-25 season, more TV partners are likely to be brought in, with the CFP projecting to garner north of $2 billion per year.

“Thank God college football has this 12-team playoff system coming,” Smith added on First Take. “Because let me tell you right now, after what we saw last night, don’t think for one second that it wouldn’t influence future choices by the committee. Because right now, you could make the argument that the committee owes ESPN money for having to air that last night and having people show up to watch that atrocity.”

Georgia ultimately trounced TCU by 58 points. It could have been 59, but the Bulldogs missed their final PAT try of the night. By that point in the game, however, many fans likely tuned out, Stephen A. Smith included. According to Smith, after seeing TCU head coach Sonny Dykes appear mesmerized on the sideline by one of Georgia’s touchdowns, the First Take host had to find something else to watch.

“That is when I turned the channel and started watching Law & Order. Not SVU, not Criminal Intent, I’m, a fan of Organized Crime, but I’m talking about the original Law & Order with Sam Waterston as the DA,” Smith said. “That’s what I went back to watch. And it was much better than the game.”

Unfortunately for Smith, Warner Bros. Discovery signed an eight-year deal with U.S. Soccer last March. That will feature high-profile matches on TNT, and could potentially cut into at least some of their ability to air Law & Order reruns.

Obviously, ESPN won’t be getting any money back for having to air a blowout in the national championship game. But as they discuss their next CFP rights deal, maybe they can send Smith to negotiate on their behalf.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to