Friday, September 17, 2010

How to talk in green and white, no shades

After just one game of the NFL season, sportswriters are already out issuing not only wild prognostications, but also wildly far-reaching pronunciations. It's one thing to predict that a certain team will do well after seeing one game, especially if they're already good to begin with. It's another to make counter-intuitive pronunciations on the basis of a single game's failure. For example, Peter King of CNN SI writes:

"I think the Jets are in big trouble on offense. Big trouble."

This comes after a 10-9 loss. Days earlier, King had predicted a 16-14 win for the Jets and written:

"I think Greene and a fresh LaDainian Tomlinson will win the day in the Meadowlands."

Needless to say, the Jets might not be in such big trouble.

King also wrote on Tuesday, after the Ravens win:

"I think the Ravens are one heck of a team -- with a very strong organization to back them up."

Of course, they won.

Slate's Nate Jackson writes, after one sub-par game by Brett Favre:

"[N]ow you have an unprepared, underperforming quarterback who cannot be benched but will probably deserve to ride the pine by Week 5."

That's awfully specific and dramatic after just one bad game. Looking at a quarterback's stat line seldom reveals game after game of stellar numbers. Usually there are good games and bad games, reflecting not only wins and losses, but also the ebb and flow of personal statistics.

Don Banks, King's colleague at Sports Illustrated, writes:

Houston "took a sizable first step toward fulfilling their playoff-level promise" by beating Indianapolis on Sunday.

Many teams start 1-0, even against great teams, and do nothing with the rest of the season. Why he couldn't have waited until mid-season to say something like this is baffling.

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