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Monday, November 21, 2005

Not To Bitch, But...

Today, Michael Smith at ESPN writes about how, after beating the Bengals, he's on the Colts bandwagon. I'm pretty sure this proves one important thing. That he didn't actually watch the game.

The final score was 37-45, which seems like a decently impressive win. If you check the box score, Manning was 24/40 with 365 yards (3 TD/1 INT) which seems like a good game, and James had 89 yards rushing. Which is the reason I'm glad they don't use an AP poll in pro football.

During the actual game, the Colts couldn't stop anything. They were giving up at least 5 yards on almost every running play. The Bengals (who, by the way, are still the Bengals, no matter what their record. They're cursed.) probably would have tied the score during the 4th quarter, if not for an interception that was thrown straight to the Colts. (Seriously - there wasn't even a reciever in the screen.) Their defense looked as pourous as San Fransisco's. It was a debacle.

This is one of the biggest reasons I hate sportswriting in general, and ESPN in specific. They have certain 'stories' which they repeat over and over, because it's easier than making intelligent commentary. John Clayton is the only one who even tries to break anything down beyond "THE COLTS CAN FLAT PLAY." And while I feel the USC/Indy/Red Sox bandwagons are all pretty artificial, there's another thing they do that's even worse - the whole manufactured legend.

When I heard they were doing a new season of "dancing with the stars," I immediately wanted to know why Michael J. Fox and Katherine Hepburn were not invited. I called the network's production offices, who informed me that Mr. Fox could not attend since he was shooting "Back to the Future IV: Going Back to Before I Had A Degenerative Neuromuscular Disorder" and Ms. Hepburn was, in fact, very, very dead and not a zombie as my nightmares had previously led me to believe.

But what else I heard was that Jerry Rice was going to be on. Now, for those of you who don't watch football (ie: women and gays), Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver ever to play football ever anywhere. This is an undisputed fact, akin to saying that Magic Johnson is the greatest basketball player ever to have HIV and then become an affable, if not great, announcer for a minor network. Rice also spent the last few years not being very good – on the Oakland Raiders and then, for about six minutes, on the Denver Broncos before retiring. Many sportswriters hemmed and hawed over whether or not it was "Rice's time to retire" since they believed it was harming his "legacy" to continue at a reduced level of play. The same sort of missives are drafted about Griffey Jr. and Brett Favre.

But the thing is - if you're Jerry Rice, why do you care about your 'legacy'? You'll be in the hall of fame, you have pretty much every record that anyone can come up with for a reciever. Why not have some fun? That's exactly what most people would do given his position. When Matt Leinart decided to go back to USC for another season, people assumed it had something to do with how he wanted to lead his team to a national title. You know what it probably is? Some 7th Floor Crew style shit*.

Yet that's what everything is spun as - as if people all only care about what some aging white male, who writes about sports because they remind him of his childhood or whatever, will say about his 'legacy.'

*(As an aside on the 7th Floor Crew thing - people at ESPN got predictably upset about how it's hurting the "U of Miami 'image'" that they've been trying to clean up. There's an irony in the open advocacy they have of paying college athletes and 'getting real' about college football players, yet acting shocked that a college student might think about sex.)

cranked out at 4:52 AM | |

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