Posted by: lancette1 | April 24, 2010

NFL Network and ESPN fumble draft coverage

And the award for worst coverage of the NFL draft goes to … It’s a tie between the NFL Network and ESPN.

As if the police blotter that is the NFL isn’t hard enough to stomach, the networks that cover it also drive me to pop Pepto-Bismol pills. The coverage of the 2010 NFL draft illustrate much of what’s wrong with pigskin coverage.

Start with the networks’ fundamental inability to ask tough questions or make genuinely critical comments in front of sources. Granted the NFL Network is owned by the league but even it should understand that jock-sniffing coverage makes for bad TV. It also induces viewers to change channels.

Not once in the first two days of the draft (at least in the time I watched) did I see it or ESPN put even a fair question, let alone a tough on, to any player, coach or GM.  Every question — if you consider queries that begin with the words “Talk about” to be actual questions — sounded the same: “Talk about how awesome you are and give me an address where I can send you a bouquet of roses.”

How is it possible that 32 teams drafting a total of more than 200 players all made brilliant choices and that every pick is going to wind up in the Hall of Fame? I struggled with statistics in college but that seems so unlikely. ESPN, fared no better than the NFL Network in this regard. Worse, ESPN allegedly employs people from the journalism profession in addition to its horribly prolific use of former athletes who are too close to the league to comment critically — or say anything interesting.

But some talking heads did suggest Florida quarterback Tim Tebow got drafted too high, you say? That’s the exception to the rule for the two networks that comprise the Sycophant Express. It’s also easy for them to make what they consider a strong statement when everyone else is saying the same thing. I personally suspect Tebow will prove the doubters wrong but I hope somebody, after I turned off the TV on day two because I could stomach the coverage no longer, put the question to the Broncos’ leadership: “Why do you not consider giving up three draft picks for Tebow too expensive?”

Meanwhile, I saw Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on the screen. Not once did someone ask: “You were a failure as coach in the NFL during your previous stints in the league. Part of that involved drafting poorly. What did you learn from those failures that you’re applying to the 2010 draft?”

Or how about this for Texas coach Mack Brown, who sat for a long time on the set of NFL Network:  “Your quarterback Colt McCoy fell a long way in the draft. Do you think that’s because you play in a weak league and he got hurt the one time he played in a really big game?”

The talking heads were so busy heaping praise on the teams and their new players that they didn’t notice, or care, how irritating their performances were. The NFL Network kept Mike Mayock on long after he lost his voice and became a pain on the ears. At ESPN, someone apparently muffled former coach-turned-commentator Jon Gruden. Though his excessive glorification of every player is grating during play-by-play coverage during the season, he at least sometimes speaks his mind.

Maybe he did and I missed it. I was probably in my bathroom looking for the pink stuff in my medicine cabinet.



  1. mike mayock usually points out the good and bad in every player. but i dont really care too much for mel kiper. why he is supposed to be the master of the draft? did he even play football? Gruden, Jaws, Tom Jackson, Steve Young and Schlareth are cool. Tony Korenhieser, Korenhieser’s PTI partner, and Keyshawn Johnson suck. And Skip Bayless and Woody Paige both make me want to shoot myself in the face. Letting Michael Irvin go was almost as stupid an idea as signing Jamal Anderson as an analyst. The best thing about espn are the “This is Sportcenter” commercials.

  2. That show “Around the Horn” is garbage along with “PTI” and “Cold Pizza.”
    Espn should just show nfl live the whole day, and that show hasnt been good since 2005. The highlights are horrible. If i see another highlight reel beginning at the 4th quarter of a game i’ll do nothing about it but ill be really mad. Bring monday night football back to abc and thursday night football to cbs. and if possible, stop spending entire episodes of nfl on tony romo and the dallas cowboys and shed a little light on the falcons every now and then. The Jokeland Faders and DooDoo Browns both get more publicity than us, and we are a winning team.

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