So let’s see. Bill Simmons was, maybe, Indiana Avenue. Hunter S. Thompson was kind of like taking a chance on owning the electric company. But ESPN’s recent addition of Rick Reilly? Monopoly.
To be fair, how can you blame them? Reilly represented one of the last, faithfully-followed sportswriters/casters not to join “the family of networks.” Not only that, but he may have been the last remaining piece of the puzzle for ESPN’s complete sports media takeover. Think about it: Sports Illustrated represents the only tangible, non-Bristol-based form of sports media. There are no legitimate competitors on T.V., online or on the radio when it comes to consistent sports news . The only market ESPN even remotely competes in is magazines. But Reilly may very well have been the linchpin that kept subscribers tied to SI. Either him or those authentic NFL team fleeces.
So now the question becomes: Is this good for us (the sports media consumers)? My fear is, no. And the reason is competition. More specifically, the lack-there-of. Us journalism folk are always asked in college to look back to the days of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer – heads of the New York Journal and the New York World in the late-1800s. This period is infamous for spawning “yellow journalism,” but it’s also viewed as one of the most progressive eras in journalism. When reporters and editors stopped being passive and started to find the news instead of letting it come to them.
Seeing as one could argue that some of ESPN’s current reporting tactics already border on being “yellow,” we need to seriously wonder whether or not a complete lack of competition is the best thing for a network that has already proven it’s ability to influence the very subjects it reports on. I’m not saying the Rick Reilly will yield the power of his mighty pen to make the Lakers trade Kobe, but the less people are picking, clicking or flipping to other media outlets, the more power ESPN has.
And once they have all the power? Well, game over.
So, because Chicago’s mail service is the worst in the country, I’m generally reading my issue of Sports Illustrated the week after it comes out (I know you try your hardest Rosie, you get me Heroes on Netflix very punctually).
Anyway, this week I was reading the Fantasy Plus section and wondering how the advice actually panned out (since the games had already been played).
So let’s dissect.
SI said to start the following players:
>>Trent Green, Dolphins QB: 219 yards, 1 TD, about 12 fantasy points. I’m going to call that a MISS because Jon Kitna scored 22 for me.
>>Tony Romo, Cowboys QB: This was a definite HIT. Romo had 345 yards, 4 passing TDs, a rushing TD and a pick. He scored 35 fantasy points. Good snag Underwood.
>>Fred Taylor, Jags RB: A big MISS. Sixteen yards rushing, 1 fantasy point.
>>Deuce McAllister, Saints RB: Another big MISS, 45 total yards, 3 fantasy points.
>>Travis Henry, Broncos RB: A pretty significant HIT with 17 fantasy points.
At wide receiver, SI recommended Laveranues Coles, Braylon Edwards and Joey Galloway. Coles had 2 TDs, Edwards had a fumble lost and 49 yards receiving and Galloway was on GHB. No wait, that was a different Bucs’ receiver.
As for Sit ‘Em, SI advised to leave the following players off your fake football team:
>>Jon Kitna, Lions QB: WHOOPS! Forgot he was playing the Raiders evidently. Kitna single-handedly saved my team I failed to live draft.
>>Philip Rivers: That was a real tough one, Bears D.
>>Running backs: Warrick Dunn, Rudi Johnson and Cedric Benson. Benson was a good call, as were Dunn and Johnson (who had a combined 14 points).
SI said to leave Lee Evans, Randy Moss (cheater) and Eric Moulds on the bench. We all know Moss had a monster day, as he’s on the cover of SI this week. But Evans and Moulds had a combined 9!!! yards receiving.
In all fairness, who would consider starting Eric Moulds anyway?
Pete had the Colts first, New England second, San Diego third, so on and so forth. Anyway, we weren’t so much frustrated with the teams (or their order) – just that there were actually power rankings of NFL teams in July.
And, evidently, readers of Kings column weren’t too happy with his predictions either. That’s what you get for midsummer power rankings Pete.
Anyway, he kind of went off in his rebuttal column, which is fairly funny in itself.
Granted, he does do a mailbag often, but this one is basically him defending every pick he made as readers call him out. Good stuff.
Before King explains his picks, he tells the readers why the rankings aren’t the way people thought they should be:
And before I get to your e-mails, I’d like to point something out about columns like mine. It would be fairly easy and extraordinarily uninteresting to take last year’s standings, figure in the offseason moves each team has made, and put the teams in logical order based precisely on what appears to be the way the season will go. It’d be a cookie-cutter exercise.
Wouldn’t the definition of “preseason power rankings” be taking “last year’s standings, figure in the offseason moves each team has made, and put the teams in logical order based precisely on what appears to be the way the season will go”?
Basically, Pete is saying he didn’t do that just to shake things up. I’m not sure about you, but that strikes me as odd. It’s writing something just to get a response – even worse than cookie-cutter writing.