Monday, November 10, 2008

I Call Bullshit

Here’s some more sports wisdom:

Sports announcers have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time. This usually extends to journalism in general, but I’ll stick to sports for now.

During last night’s Giants-Eagles game, John Madden and Al Michaels were comparing two players who, at one time, played the same position for the same team. I know one of these players personally, and I’ve been watching the other one play for several years. Madden repeatedly stated that the latter was a “better athlete” than the former, and that because of his “superior athleticism,” his team was at a disadvantage now that the guy to whom he was being compared had taken over his position.

I’m not sure I have the words to describe how incredibly misleading this was, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

I know for a fact that the first guy is, in actuality, a much better athlete than the second guy. He’s bigger, faster, stronger, taller and can jump much higher. In fact, if you’re comparing the two solely on the merits of their relative athleticism, the first guy’s abilities dwarf the second guy’s. The second guy is certainly better known because he’s been in the league a lot longer, but the first guy, if given a chance – which is happening this year – will go on to have a much more successful career.

When someone says one player is a “better athlete” than another, it leads me to believe that one player is stronger, faster and more agile than the other. Of course, there are other considerations involved with regard to athleticism, and there’s obviously a psychological aspect to it, but I don’t believe that’s what Madden was referring to. Rather, he was talking out of his ass and making a generalization based on which guy has a bigger name in the sport.

Fact is, he didn’t know what he was talking about, so he made something up and put it out there, knowing he’d never be called on it. This is a disservice to the viewer, because the average viewer assumes Madden to be an authority on football, taking his word as gospel when it’s decidedly not.

Most times, you have no way of knowing whether what announcers are saying is accurate or not. It’s frustrating as hell, however, to hear them botch something you know about. That’s why I’d rather just go to the game and see for myself.