The next cover for ESPN: The Magazine, an issue I surely won't be reading. (Source: Deadspin)

Yet Another ESPN Rant By Yet Another Blogger…

…Because it’s sooo hot to rant about ESPN these days.

For the majority of the baseball season, I lamented about how much ESPN favored the Yankees and Red Sox and how they wouldn’t show much love for any other teams (aside from the Brewers and Giants–kind of). They eventually started to come around on my Phillies when the “no offense” argument got old but really, the bias on the whole just went too far. That’s not to say that both the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t good teams, I just felt that the presentation of information had such obvious slant that I could no longer listen to it.

There are a few baseball analysts that work for ESPN that are an exception and I am happy to credit them at a later date but it is currently not relevant to this post.

Because now that football season has officially begun, I have a new bone to pick.

ESPN hates the New York Jets and it bugs the crap out me.

I know that the New York Jets are the NFL team everyone loves to hate and you know what, that is fine. People don’t like the Jets because Rex Ryan is outspoken and overweight and Antonio Cromartie has lots of children. Or whatever. These are the jokes people make so I can only assume that is why.

Nowadays, it’s cool so say Sanchez sucks and he isn’t a good quarterback and to cry that he is over-rated (even though everyone in the universe criticizes his every move so really, that is the opposite of overrated but whatever). It’s even cooler to make fun of his GQ spread and completely discount that he is a young player who is already considered a leader in his locker room and has only ever been a respectable human being in the public eye (in speaking with reporters, taking responsibility for his actions and giving back to the community). I guess it’s just much to easier to crack jokes about interceptions and completely discount that for a young QB in the NFL he is hardly a slouch in terms of accomplishments.

So yes, Rex Ryan guaranteed that his team will win the Super Bowl just like Eli Manning answered that he is as good as Tom Brady but I ask you, what else what you LIKE them to say ?

Unfortunately, football fans (or sports fans), god love them, generally aren’t rational. We are fans of our team and we aren’t fans of teams that stand in the way of our team. That is the way it has always been and that is the way it always will be. This, I forgive.

But we have now entered a whole new territory of hatred and bias. ESPN, the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” can’t find a way to overcome their hate for the team in their own reporting.

Just check out this article from ESPN’s AFC East Blog, explaining the stock for each NFC East team. The article points out that the Jets offensive line’s stock is falling, a fair assessment based on their play in the first two games of the season. But there is no mention of the Patriots in this piece, other than to praise Tom Brady.  No mention of a secondary that, let’s face, isn’t that great.

The publishing of this article followed the publishing of another article examining the AFC East QBs not named Tom Brady.  The article completely blasted Jets QB Mark Sanchez, even after ESPN‘s own made-up QBR system gives him a reasonable rating for his performance against Jacksonville.

I bring this up because even when their own made-up quarterback rating system rates Sanchez at 77.6, compared to Henne’s abysmal 30.5, they still come up with a way to rank Sanchez last in the AFC East after 2 games. It’s gross.

(And for the record, I don’t think Chad Henne is THAT bad of a quarterback. I know I might be alone on this island. But there are plenty of QBS that deserve far more of a lashing than Henne).

Basically, what I am saying is this: As a football blogger for ESPN, you need to at least attempt to be objective. If you are going to write an article about how certain aspects of teams is falling, how can you possibly go an entire article without mentioning that the Patriots need to improve their secondary? That they have a non-existent pass rush? That they aren’t perfect? These are legitimate concerns for a team that wants to win another Super Bowl.

Listen, don’t get me wrong, Tom Brady is a really, really good quarterback. One of the best ever. But this isn’t news. Tom Brady was MVP of the league last year. He picks apart opposing offenses and makes even the best teams look like high school squads. But this isn’t insightful or analysis. It’s obvious. It’s boring. Tom Brady is a really good quarterback. There, I said it.

And just to prove how reasonable and objective I can be, I will admit that as a Jets fan and blogger I can easily point out a variety of areas that the Jets need to improve upon.  These areas do include the offensive line, the run game AND Mark Sanchez, but the constant one-sided “reporting” that the Jets aren’t good enough, have “falling stock” and that you are surprised by Sanchez’s QBR rating, which btw is YOUR own creation ESPN, is just obnoxious.

Why don’t you just go ahead and call the AFC East blog the Patriots blog? Because that is what it is, according to these two articles. And I am not just talking about the Jets when I mention this. Why not show some more love to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has played excellent and still gets little respect from these writers?

While I have your attention and I’m on this rant, I would like to vocalize my general annoyance with Rich Cimini, the Jets beat reporter for ESPN, who rarely ever has a nice thing to say about the team. His articles are loaded with snide remarks about Rex Ryan, the players and the team from someone whose main following is JETS FANS. I know I sound contradictory when I just went on a rant about how I want reporters to be objective, but it would be nice if Rich could color his assessments with a little more sunshine for the fan base.

For example, compare the general tone of everything Cimini does to that of Jane McManus (the other Jets beat reporter for ESPN), who always presents information with a more positive tone (as it applies to the fans). Jane offers a perspective that is received much better.

I listen to the ESPN Football Today Podcast nearly every day. Ross Tucker and Matt Williamson give fantastic insight into games around the league and I have learned a great deal about the game listening to this podcast. However, both analysts have an outright disdain for the Jets. Williamson even went so far as to predict that the ‘Fins would finish ahead of the Jets in 2011, a prediction that already appears tenuous only 2 games into the season (that said, I do love Williamson’s analysis as a scout, I’m just merely pointing out the company wide bias).

But what can you expect from a podcast produced by a Patriots fan?

And what kind of critique would this be if I did not mention Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd, who can’t find it within themselves to say anything nice about this team because it might be perceived as an argument against their man crush, Tom Brady. I actually find Colin and Skip entertaining most of the time but they should just marry Brady already.

The next cover for ESPN: The Magazine, an issue I surely won't be reading. (Source: Deadspin)

You know what? I am noticing a trend here.  My rant is clearly misguided.

Between the obnoxious Red Sox gushing, the Tom Brady man crushes and the failure to point out anything wrong with the Patriots, I should really be ranting about how ESPN should really just call themselves, “The WorldWide Leader in {Boston] Sports.”

If you’ve made it this far, then you likely agree me and you will be even more annoyed to see this, which was posted today on Deadspin, explaining that ESPN is devoting an entire issue of ESPN: The Magazine to Boston Sports.


Now back to my initial rant, where I plan to wrap it up.

To ESPN’s credit, I have to mention that they  do have vocal two Jets fans, Mike Greenberg and Michelle Beadle, working for them. But the thing about that these two is that they are personalities, not analysts or bloggers.

And I guess I can give them this, too: Hours after every other major sports outlet released their NFL Power Rankings and named the Jets at #3 (check out, Cbssports, SB Nation), ESPN released their Power Rankings with the Jets at #3. So, really, all the spewed hatred in the world doesn’t change the facts. The Jets are a good team, despite their (many) warts.

I leave you with this, from the Worldwide Leader in Sports, which is an article about the Jets being the team that everyone loves to hate . The author intelligently points out that everyone wouldn’t bother hating the team is they weren’t good.  And that, my friends, is FACT.

And because I can take criticism, go ahead and disagree with me by commenting below. I welcome ANY feedback.

2 thoughts on “Yet Another ESPN Rant By Yet Another Blogger…

  1. sportsglutton
    Twitter: sportsglutton

    Great post and I understand your loathing of ESPN’s coverage/discussions about the Jets, particularly Sanchez. All too often analysts forget that Sanchez is a young/developing quarterback and he is not going to be perfect. Additionally, last year it always annoyed me when people from ESPN would continually slam Sanchez for his completion percentage. However, if you actually watched the games you would know that if the Jets’ WR and RB hadn’t dropped so many passes then Sanchez would easily have a respectable %.

    ESPN and other sports outlets also love the Pittsburgh Steelers and the idea that this time is great. Yes Steeler nation is present throughout America and I’m sure there is a need to cater to this audience, but the media regularly pumps up how great the Steelers are. I was writing last year that the team was overrated and continued to believe so heading into this season (overrated meaning they were/are a good team, but not great). Then after the team’s Week 1 debacle, the Steelers were suddenly an old/flawed team, as analysts desperately tried to rationalize the loss to the Ravens. But have no doubt that after Pittsburgh racks up another year of double digit wins because of a soft schedule, this team will once again be proclaimed as legitimate contenders and not pretenders. So much for objectively and not flip-flopping.

    If you have a chance check out my blog and let me know what you think.

    Have a great weekend. Cheers!

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