You sometimes hear about some big-time football families who have high praise for certain owners and not so high for others. These are people who know better than most–who played the game themselves for many years and have sons who play as well. Usually, this is mentioned when the son gets drafted by the organization and the dad says something like he is happy that his offspring is part of a “quality” organization. I think of the Chicago Bears in this light.
At the same time it is often downright silly when you see someone paid by a media company who repeatedly expresses opinions that are baseless about the organization’s efforts. It reminds of politicians who promise everything and delivery next to nothing. Abraham Lincoln said a long time ago that you can’t support the country by (over) taxing the rich. I suppose there are a lot more rich people these days and we certainly could do with some tax rate adjustments, but I don’t think we are going to solve every American’s problem by only focusing on the few. I always think we allow the media to miss the mark when they spend a lot of time covering charities for the poor that give some minor help, and then the media does not focus on job creation and laws that keep parents whole and out of the poorhouse. Why should we give some poor-citizen company that manages their affairs by laying off staff in the worst of times positive publicity when they shell out a few bucks to some charity when things are going well. Some of the gangsters were quite generous in the “roaring 20s” and people actually thought they were good guys! Today, we see many tech companies destroying jobs and then playing the charity game for good publicity.
When I worked for a legal publishing company I remember that whenever a complicated tax bill got passed, the press could not cover it very well. The complexity in the law seemed to require media writers to dumb their coverage down to the point where it was not very accurate. We used to cringe when we read how poorly the laws were covered, but the media had to do their best to explain it for average readers. At the same time there were always writers who tried to express strong political prejudices they held one way or another–and their writing was anything, but truthful and honest.
It works the same way in sports–although I don’t mean to suggest that football is as important as public policy for the poor. But you see a good team that gets hyped early on in the season that still has some holes to fill in their roster, but they know no one wants to hear that. As the season continues their performance is not as good as the media anticipated, but rather than the media admit the truth, they go off a “fishing expedition” to blame the coaches and players. Sometimes they can’t find a coach or player to blame and they get very frustrated and blame the owner. In some cases this may be true, but in Chicago that kind of journalism is a joke.
If you follow the Khalil Mack situation in Chicago, you see the media decided before the season that he was going to blow the doors off everyone the Bears played. And truly, his performance this year is Pro Bowl worthy. But teams have been developing new schemes to reduce his performance. Mack on the other hand faces 2 and 3 opposing players on every down. Every game you eventually find Mack on the sidelines catching his breath and darn near killing himself trying to do just what the media expects. But when Mack is busing his butt, it really falls on other people on the defense to make the opposing team pay for so much attention on Mack. Yet the media kept writing stories about how quiet Mack was and how his numbers were down.
Trubisky is another lesson for media hype. The young quarterback is still learning the system and much has fallen on his shoulders. A big part of the Bears problem this year is boosting the running game–and that helps the offense in many ways–including the quarterback’s performance. But the offensive line has been hurt and the running game has suffered. But suggesting that the Bears need some help there and maybe won’t get it until next year’s draft does not make a good story line. It is better to takes swings at the quarterback who is often under duress and blame the running backs for running into the brick walls that seem to be out there in most every game.
The whole point is that the average fan, like myself, might want to consume a lot of sports media bravado, but they should also learn to take most of it with grain of salt.
When the media gets really frustrated and they don’t know who to blame, they often blame the ownership. In many cases this makes no sense at all. In some cases where the owner is calling all the shots, this makes sense. But when the owner spends a lot of money and consideration on the team’s general manager and other administrators, and just oversees things without meddling, it just doesn’t work.
Teams of course understand the pressure the media is under as well in today’s competitive environment. Often you see Matt Nagy indicating that he understands that at times their job requires them to be that critical. Nagy is a master at keeping it all positive and working towards something better–not a bad scheme.