Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Suggestion for the Sports Media Industry

Dear Men, Women, Ruthless, Heartless Conglomerates, and Former Colleagues:

When covering the NFL, a midweek angle in December is a cosmic bank error in your favor. Believe me, I know, and sympathize.

BUT. In the interests of the audience of which I am now a part, and in the spirit of the season, can we make the following non-aggression pact with sanity?

When some player gets up and guarantees a victory in a big game, can the amount of repetitive, stupid, pointless discussion of this boast of limited utility be determined by the ability of said player to affect that game's outcome?

An outright news blackout on such remarks would be preferable. They are meaningless. The assumption that claim will provoke the other team into a destructive ball of rage is no longer operative. In our brave new 21st century, feeling disrespected has become the default state of mind of every professional athlete, no matter what their actual circumstances. Tom Brady, otherwise a sensible chap, doubtless burns with inner outrage that Peyton Manning got better reviews on "Saturday Night Live" than he did. You can't fan flames that have already burnt down the house.

As noted, however, stories must be written and radio and television filled. So I'm willing to compromise.

When Joe Namath guaranteed a win in Super Bowl III, he was in a fine position to do something about his boast. Same with Mark Messier in the NHL playoffs in 1994. When stars shoot off their mouths, they are putting pressure on themselves, not their teammates.

Let's be blunt. Safety Anthony Smith will have a minimal impact on the outcome of tomorrow's Patriots-Steelers game. Safeties are important, but not that important. It would be perfectly possible for Smith to play one of the finest games turned in by a safety in league history and have New England win by three touchdowns. Or he could suck, and the Steelers could still pull off the win.

So we shouldn't listen to him. Or, to be more accurate, I shouldn't have to listen to you talking about him, or reading you writing about him. Go back to speculating about the Santana trade.


Post a Comment

<< Home