Friday, October 27, 2006

The Curse of Bill Belichick

Athletes today are so well trained these days in the art of PR when taking questions from reporters, that we hardly ever get any interesting quotes from players any more. They know if they step outside their limiting boundaries of what they can say, they're going to have hell to pay, either from the player's own team, his opponents, or both. And it seems to have gotten worse the last few years - I blame Bill Belichick. You'd have to shoot the guy to get a quote out of him that wasn't rehearsed. And to their credit, the Patriots of course have been amazingly successful under him using that approach. But it sucks for the fan who has to watch the interviews.

TV Talking Head: Coach Belichick, you've just won the Super Bowl, how does it feel right now?
Belichick: Well, we're glad to get out of here with a win, but we're just looking forward toward next year and how we can get better.

Is that scenario really that absurd? I could see it happening.

The worst part is, this proliferation of non-statements comes at a time when the media has more access to athletes than ever before. And the reporters aren't helping either. I mean, you ask stupid questions, you get stupid answers back.

The worst is, "What was going through your mind during (insert action here)?" What do you expect them to say? Decisions during a game are made in a split second, they don't have much time to think about anything. If a hitter is facing a Roger Clemens fastball, he thinks, "Oh crap, better swing at that now, or else it's gonna pass me." Just once, I'd like to see a player being interviewed answer that question by saying something like, "You know, I was thinking about those three bills that I still need to pay, and how my deck really could use a new finish." The reporter's deer-in the headlights reaction would be priceless. Think Mike Myers during Kanye West's rant against Bush during the Hurricane Katrina fundraiser.

Yes, we'll always have some players like Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens who are more than willing to spout off at any time, but when you get a player like Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck admitting that he just changes the team name in his comments about his opponent to the media, (as he did on the Dan Patrick radio show), it's pretty much a lot more lifeless press conferences and interviews we have to look forward to.

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