Jerk Mode: Marshawn Lynch and why athletes need to talk to media

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana is Marshawn Lynch and his non-dealings with the media.

From the column:

******

Marshawn Lynch is fairly clueless, so the meaning of this story probably will be lost on him. But it needs to be told to give a little perspective about the NFL and the media.

Long before the league became a behemoth, it struggled to get coverage from the newspapers in its early days. As a long-time staffer at the Chicago Tribune, I heard many tales of George Halas, the NFL’s founder, showing up in the newsroom with write-ups about the Bears. He also would leave some tickets so the guys in the sports department could take in a game or two to get a taste of this pro football.

Imagine a Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft … Continue Reading

Tiger Woods vs. Dan Jenkins/Golf Digest: Hardly their finest moments

As much as I admire the work of Dan Jenkins and Golf Digest, I have to admit my initial reaction was negative when I saw his clearly fake interview with Tiger Woods.

As much as anything else, the pictures  went over the line. There was an actor portraying Woods sitting in a Perkins (remember Woods reportedly had an affair with Perkins waitress). There was another shot of the phony Woods polishing his Cadillac Escalade. You know, the one that had an unfortunate collision with a fire hydrant.

Definitely low blows. While the statute of limitations may never expire, more than four years have passed since Woods’ epic fall from grace. Golf Digest was reprising old, tired jokes in running those images.

Here’s another key point. His agent Mark Steinberg asked in a letter to the magazine’s publisher: “Would this story … Continue Reading

Chicago story: Voice of Blackhawks’ journey to Hockey Hall of Fame; BANNERRMANNNN!!!

This is a big day for one of my all-time favorite guys and a Chicago icon. My Chicago Tribune story charts Pat Foley’s journey to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

You also can access the story via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.

All Blackhawks fans will recognize Foley’s signature call.

Some excerpts:

*******

The kid from Glenview, first heard on a Cubs radio broadcast with Jack Quinlan at age 10, is going into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Pat Foley’s long career as the voice of the Blackhawks will reach its pinnacle Monday. Flanked by his family and team representatives, he will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for “outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster” in a ceremony for the media winners in Toronto.

Named after the legendary Canadian announcer, the award is the ultimate honor for a hockey play-by-play … Continue Reading

Barely at ESPN: Bob Knight will work American Conference games this year

Not sure why ESPN still feels compelled to use Bob Knight, or why he still feels the need to work for the network.

ESPN released its lineup of announcers and analysts for the new college basketball season, and you had to look pretty hard to find Knight’s name. Oh there it is:

“American games will see Mike Patrick on Thursdays and Saturdays with Len Elmore and Bob Knight.”

Quick quiz: What schools play in the American Athletic Conference?

With all the conference reshuffling, there are plenty of fans drawing a blank. I know my pals Josh and Mike in Bristol can answer the question. The league features UConn, Cincinnati, Houston, among others.

OK, there are a few decent teams (UConn is the defending national champs), but the American is far down ESPN’s pecking order, judging by the release. It is mentioned last in the round-up of … Continue Reading

Another primetime dud: Is something more taking place with blowouts than just coincidence?

I came home last night looking forward to watching Monday Night Football on ESPN. However, by the time I settled into my couch, the Eagles already were up 24-7, which quickly turned into 31-7 after a brutal Cam Newton pick 6.

That was it for me. I tuned into Jon Stewart’s rather strange interview with a giggling Bruce Springsteen. Let the man talk, Jon.

As a result, I missed Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico actually making a protein smoothie as they attempted to fill during garbage time.

All these primetime blowouts really are beginning to pile up. As I wrote yesterday, NBC’s Sunday Night Football now has had eight straight games with an average victory margin of 23.5 points.

For the most part, the Thursday night games have been terribly one-sided, with an average victory margin of more than … Continue Reading

Prior to NBC, Costas once was TV voice of Bulls; vintage videos of young Bob

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on Bob Costas reflecting on all of his Chicago ties on his 40th anniversary in broadcasting.

You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.

Thanks to The Museum of Classic Chicago Television for the picture of young Bob.

Also, check out these vintage clips of Costas via The Museum of Classic Chicago Television.

The Bulls promo featuring Costas in the yellow blazer.

An open to a Bulls game in Seattle. Note the camera angle is so far away, Costas seems as if he is in Portland.

From the column:

*******

Bob Costas has covered so many Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, U.S. Opens and other big events that they blur together. Yet there’s one entry on his resume that might surprise even hard-core basketball fans.

Costas was the … Continue Reading

Bob Ryan’s life as a ‘fan’ in the press box

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center is on Bob Ryan, who wrote about his career in a new autobiography.

From the column:

*******

Bob Ryan interrupted our interview for a moment.

“What did Sports Illustrated say about me again?” Ryan said.

Ryan shuffled through the pages of the magazine. Once a print guy, always a print guy. He finally found the page where there was a short review of his autobiography, “Scribe: My Life in Sports.”

The blurb offered praise, saying the book was an entertaining read. Then Ryan read the kicker:

“’…Even though (Ryan) blurred the line between journalist and fan,’” Ryan said.

Ryan paused for a moment about a rather insulting characterization before firing back in his distinctive rapid-fire tone.

“I plead guilty,” said Ryan, his voice rising. “I am a fan. I’ve always been … Continue Reading

What is up with all these big-game blowouts? Brady-Manning a dud; another rout on SNF

It has to be a coincidence, right? There’s really no other way to explain why so many showcase NFL games have turned into what-else-is-on routs this year.

It happened again Sunday. The hype for the latest round of Brady-Manning was far better than the game itself. For someone living in Chicago, the Patriots’ 43-21 victory over Denver didn’t look that much different than their 51-23 drubbing of the Bears.

Then last night, Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh torched Baltimore 43-23. Big Ben is so hot, he will consider it a bad game if he throws for less than 5 TDs in a game.

The blowout continued a perplexing streak for NBC’s Sunday night crew. Take a look at this run on Sunday night:

Sept. 21: Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 19.

Sept. 28: Dallas 38, New Orleans 17.

Oct. 5: New England 43, … Continue Reading

Chicago story: Buffone and O’Bradovich give voice to disgruntled Bears fans

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on how former Bears Doug Buffone and Ed O’Bradovich still hit hard after all these years. This time on their Bears postgame shows.

You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at Sherman_Report.

This is one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve written in 30-plus years in the business. I hung out with the two throw-backs last Sunday. All I can is that it was the most fun you can have watching the Bears lose 51-23 to New England.

From the column:

*******

I could have gone to Rush Street last night and found 24 players who could do better than the Bears did today.”

Doug Buffone opening last Sunday’s “Doug and OB Show.”

The game is only a couple of minutes old when Doug Buffone and Ed O’Bradovich erupt for … Continue Reading

Game 7 shows potential for underachieving baseball in postseason

Even though I have been a resident curmudgeon in this space when it comes to baseball, I’ve never been in the camp that says the sport is dying. Far from it.

The game has many positive indicators that attest to the game’s health. There are plenty of sports that wish they were dying like baseball.

However, there seems to be little question that baseball is underachieving when it comes to the postseason. As I have written many times, World Series ratings declines of 20 to 30 percent aren’t a function of a changing media landscape. This is a relatively recent trend in the last 10 years. In 2005, there were plenty of viewing options when the White Sox four-game sweep of Houston averaged an 11.1 rating.

Back then, that rating was an all-time low for the Series. Now Fox and … Continue Reading