The sports media: all gossip, no analysis

It continues to boggle my mind that in an age of increased information, the sports media continues to flood our minds with, well, an utter lack of analytical information. We rarely get real breakdowns of what’s happening in the field. The media rarely teach us anything about the sports they cover. Instead, we’re bombarded with clich├ęs and generalizations like “It’s a winner” and “This team just can’t do it in the places that matter.” No analysis, no breakdowns.

The Yankees completed their sweep of the Twins on Saturday, marking the second time they have done so in as many years. They obviously have the Twins’ number. They have done it for about a decade. But what could be the explanation for this? Ask the so-called experts and they’ll tell you that the Twins have a mental block. THEY JUST CAN’T beat the Yankees. No mention is made of the fact that the Yankees threw two very good left-handers, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, which helped neutralize a Twins lineup whose most dangerous hitters happen to be left-handed. No one dared say the Twins lack a starting pitcher who can be counted on to round out a good lineup. No one in the media would admit or even suggest that the Yankees’ pitching, both starter and reliever, is simply so much better than Minnesota’s, or that the Bombers’ lineup is so much more dangerous and versatile. No actual analysis was provided at all. Instead, we were given the “mental block” explanation.

Let’s go to the NFL. Max Hall, the Arizona Cardinals’ rookie small quarterback out of BYU, made his first start Sunday against the defending champion Saints. Somehow, the Cardinals won. According to the media, Max Hall was the reason. Supposedly, Hall dueled Drew Brees. He allegedly reads a spark under the Cardinals’ Defense. Never mind that he threw for 168 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and two fumbles (one of which was luckily recovered by his own player for a touchdown). Don’t worry about the fact that he got the Cardinals to less than 200 yards of offense, or that his defense scored 2 touchdowns. No, no, no, it was Max Hall. The little one made things happen. He wanted the Cardinals Defense to play well. In fact, this is exactly why the Cardinals signed him. Can he play the position? Who cares, as long as he can inspire his teammates – the sad part here is that the members of the sports media who write/say this kind of thing actually believe it.

The Tennessee Titans won a big game this weekend by beating the Cowboys in Dallas. Vince Young attacks again! Although, not really. This guy is the poster child for unexplained success. He doesn’t throw the ball well. His footwork and his mechanics are sloppy. He can’t read the cover. And as a runner, he is sometimes dangerous but not very dynamic. However, Young continually gets credit for the Titans’ success. He wants to go back to Week 2, after he was benched against the Steelers. This is a situation that no one has been talking about since it happened. I’m not talking about the fact that Young was benched, that happens to the best of quarterbacks. I’m talking about why he was benched. Jeff Fisher, the head coach, made it very clear when he said: “[The Titans] he needed to throw it to catch up and have a chance to win.” Uhh, am I missing something here? Isn’t it the quarterback’s job to be able to throw the ball, in the first place? Isn’t that skill number one? one ?required to play the position?

Why didn’t Fisher’s comments throw up a huge red flag in the world of sports media? Why didn’t alarm bells ring that this coach knows exactly how bad his quarterback is? The answer is simply that members of the media don’t know any better. These so-called experts actually believe that being able to throw the ball isn’t a necessary skill to play quarterback (otherwise they wouldn’t think of Tim Tebow as an NFL-caliber signal caller). Instead, they think that leadership and inspiration are the only prerequisites for the job. That’s why when a head coach comes out and basically says his quarterback sucks at shooting, no one thinks twice about what that really means. It’s just the next ridiculous question: “Coach, what did he say to his team to inspire them before the game?” “How is Vince Young in the locker room?”

The media as a whole remains all gossip and no analysis. I look forward to this week’s evoked stories. Maybe we’ll get a decent explanation as to why the Giants were able to win 2 games in a row despite Tom Coughlin allegedly losing control of his team. And I can feel the controversy brewing in New Orleans. The media is about to jump all over the place. We’re a week away from hearing, “Sean Payton has lost his wardrobe.” “Drew Brees doesn’t care anymore.” “The Saints just don’t want him enough.” “Ray Finkle is tearing the team apart.” It’s almost becoming more fun to follow the media than to watch the sports themselves.

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