Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Feb 2007

ESPN Ombudsman: SB Coverage "Smart, Creative"

I think you misspelled redundant and repetitive, Mr. Solomon.

"...ESPN's coverage of the race issue was generally all-encompassing, smart and creative."

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 07 Feb 2007

35 comments, Last at 08 Feb 2007, 1:13pm by zlionsfan


by MFurtek (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 12:35am

Headline makes it seem like he is talking about CBS' coverage of the Super Bowl.... (seque)

I thought CBS' coverage was really uninovative and bland. SuperVision wasn't really anything different than Fox X-Mo... although I don't have a HD set. They really only used SuperVision to replay somewhat bad looking leg injuries as well.

by spatne (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 1:13am

1: The headline is clear if you know what an ombudsman does.

by Jimi (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 1:27am

(Totally off-topic)
When are the FO Awards going to be presented? I thought the side thing said it would be posted right after the Super Bowl...

by Doug Farrar :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 1:29am

Another mistake, in my view, is assigning Jaworski to do commentary on Arena Football League games when Jaworski is part-owner of one of the league's franchises (Philadelphia Soul).

Well, he got the first part right...

by Lou (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:16am

"In light of recent stories on the dangers of concussions in football, ESPN might want to reconsider its "Jacked-Up" feature that highlights big hits. Same with hockey."

I don't understand this. The game will still have hitting and the risk of concussion, but eliminating Jacked-Up is going to somehow change that? I understand the feeling that its glorifying violence, but big hits are part of the game, they're a good way to cause a turnover, breakup a catch, or make a reciever afraid to go over the middle. I guess i feel the need to defend the segment because I see it get slammed all the time. Its one of the few places where defensive players, and O-lineman get highlighted and it would suck if they took it away. So long as the segment contains legal hits I don't think its a big deal.

He's right about the ESPN Deportes feature though. WTF is that about?

Oddly enough I know what Ombudsman means and thought it odd that he would be commenting on CBS's SB coverage. I need some sleep.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:23am

Big hits generally cause incompletions more turnovers. Fumbling is caused usually by boneheaded ball control or standing the player up and clawing. We see a lot of "helmet dive" forced fumbles, that that's not the norm.

I think his point is valid, but for different reasons. If a player is less likely to try to throw a "sportscenter" hit, he'll be trying to tackle properly. The game itself suffers because everyone is trying to get face time by laying a hit. These hits are only tackles in a loose sense of the word, and it develops bad habits and ineffective tackling technique that cost a team a lot more than that player gains getting 2 seconds on tv.

by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:31am

I think hockey still gets more exposure on ESPN than it deserves, which is none.

as for jacked up, i've read on these threads a number of people who have commented on how barbaric it is to enjoy jacked up. i don't know how you can be a football fan if you can't appreciate a really good hit (especially when they make it clear that the hits are on unflagged plays). keep Jacked Up, ditch hockey as a compromise.

concussions, coaches becoming absent fathers (Dungy, Belichick and Reid with family issues in the past 2 seasons) and other imperfections are a brutally honest price to be paid for the what is America's favorite sports league.

by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 9:14am

If the headline had said "NB Coverage . . . " meaning "Negro Bowl," it might have been more clear.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 10:39am

The problem isn't that 'Jacked Up' highlights the big hits from the week. The problem is that roughly 80% of the hits highlighted should have been flagged by the league for spearing.

by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 10:48am

You can have my hockey when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

/or knock it loose with a Jacked Up hit

by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 10:57am

Re 9:
That's one problem I have with it - the other is that they love to laugh at guys that are slow to get up. It's just mean spirited all around. I have fun playing games like Blitz, but real football shouldn't be like that.

by billsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:08am

The only way to end concussions in hockey is to make Eric Lindros retire. Regardless, the NHL already has a sensible concussion policy, which the NFL lacks. Any player who gets a concussion must sit 2-3 games before he can even be evaluated for return.

re: CBS's coverage, Jim Nantz was dangerously close to getting his third strike for horrible puns in a single broadcast... in the first half.

by zip (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:27am

I'm with you, #10

How about some hate for ESPN baseball coverage? That season runs from what, March to November, and every single highlight is a home run? Way more annoying than hockey.

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:28am

Let's take a moment to appreciate the absurdity of the ESPN ombudsman.

by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:31am


Just a correction. It's only HRs by Yankees, Red Sox, or Barry Bonds.

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:33am

Jacked up is so political...

There was a play where I believe Will Demps or a Giants CB rocked Vince Youngs world on a play but it didn't make the segment.

They don't want to show their new poster boy Vince getting rocked, so instead the segement is full of back ups, lesser knowns and return men getting slammed and laughed at.

If your going to laugh at Johnny Receiver, and Joe Tight End getting rocked, then you have to laught at the Vince Youngs and Ladanian Tomlinsons getting rocked too.

by Reinhard (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:47am

when I play football, I want to lay big hits, and I'm never going to make it onto Jacked Up... and you don't make it onto the segment by spearing or illegal tackles, you make it by properly diagnosing the play and being in a good position with good timing and taking advantage of an offensive mistake. Think of the hit Reggie Bush took in the playoffs.

by Frankly Bored (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 12:47pm


Watched every Chargers game this year, Tomlinson does not get rocked. Seriously.

by SJM (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 12:58pm

Re: 10

You said it better than I could have.

But I just want to add that hockey "deserves" to be on ESPN just as much as tennis or soccer or women's basketball or golf when Tiger Woods is not involved, all of which are covered, and more than eating contests or poker (poker is popular, but it's not a sport).

If you don't like it, don't watch "the world leader in sports."

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 1:15pm

Jacked up is bad because it shows to young players, who all seem to want to get on SportsCenter, that the way to do that is not to make a proper form tackle. This is similar to the emphasis on driving to the hole instead of developing a jump shot in basketball, only more dangerous. Sure, keep the hits as a part of the highlights, but don't glorify that as they do now.

by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 1:36pm

Speaking of stupid highlights: I was at an A's game and they had the crowd vote (through noise) as to which highlight to show on the jumbotron--something from a big college football game (don't remember which one), something from baseball earlier in the day, or something from golf. With football, you never know what kind of highlight you're going to get (TD, INT, critical fumble, masterful tackle on 4th and 1, etc), and baseball would have at least been relevant to the current game (although yeah, it probably would have been a HR by the Red Sox, Yankees, or Barry Bonds), but...golf? A golf "highlight" is a closeup of a ball rolling into a hole.

Inexplicably, the crowd chose golf (yeah, Oaklanders are a little weird). And sure enough...a closeup of a ball rolling into a hole...

For that matter, why IS there a golf channel, in addition to all the golf coverage on ESPN and ESPN2?

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 1:47pm


My point is that they aren't showing highlights of star players getting rocked, it is always a backup tight end, or a kick returner, punt returner, 3rd string receiver running over the middle etc.

That pop on Young was the best hit of the week, but they didn't show it because he was the "hero" of the Giants game. Do you think they will have Young and his comeback in one segment, and then him getting slammed into the ground and laughed at in the next segment?

Nice thrilling 21 point comeback by Vince Young... Check out this hit on Vince Young... BOOM... You got JACKED UP, Hahahhaha!

by Joon (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:08pm

Re: #21

i've been at A's games where the crowd has "voted" for highlights of trout fishing, grass growing (literally!), and paint drying. it's weird.

by Craigers (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:14pm

For that matter, why IS there a golf channel, in addition to all the golf coverage on ESPN and ESPN2?

Because those of us who enjoy golf also patronize investment brokers, and buy Lexuses, Tag Heuer watches, and the occasional diamond ring to give to your girlfriend who we're ****ing on the side. We have money, and the advertisers who are seeking to bring us in as clients have money, and the TV networks want that money.

You buy cans of ravioli and "new" thrift store underwear every 30 months, and Chef Boyardee doesn't need to advertise to get your business.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:23pm

You know what would be hilarious? If they did a 2006 'Jacked Up' special devoted to all those BS roughing penalties that were called this year.

(Kitna rolls out and trips over a prone Wilfork)
John Kitna, you have been JACKED UP!

by ABW (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 2:31pm

Re: 21, 23

I KNOW. WTF is up with the As fans and that highlight choosing game? They ALWAYS choose the third option, no matter how stupid it is. Is it some kind of ridiculous Oakland tradition to always choose the third option? I've been to a lot of A's games at this point and that still boggles my mind every time.

by Clark (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 3:14pm

I didn't realize there was anyone who took the ESPN Ombudsman seriously.

An organization who is often critized for being elistist and having a strong east coast bias, hires an ombudsman who has spent most of his adult life working for an elistist east coast newspaper. He also has several built in potential conflicts of interest, which he disclosed in his first column. It's just for show, so they can make it look like they're addressing viewer complaints.

by Joe T (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 4:28pm

“…ESPN’s coverage of the race issue was generally all-encompassing, smart and creative.�

The only things smart and creative were Tony Dungy's replies to all the ridiculously tired questions. I was waiting for some ESPN or CBS assclown to ask "How long have you been a black coach?"

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 5:32pm

Am I the only one that could absolutely not care any less how Dungy feels about being the first black headcoach to win the SuperBowl, but I am incredibly interested to see if anyone asks Lovie Smith how it feels to be the first black headcoach to lose a SuperBowl?

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 6:14pm

28 and 29...


by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 7:48pm

#25: Now THAT would be worth watching.

by the K (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 9:11pm

These viewers have a point, as I've previously written, especially when most political views expressed on ESPN come from the left side of the plate.

From the network that brought you Rush Limbaugh NFL commentary.

by SJM (not verified) :: Wed, 02/07/2007 - 9:50pm

Back to football:

"Jacked Up!" is crass, but not showing highlights of big hits would be stupid and self-destructive.

Re: 27

The reason that no one takes this seriously is not what you mentioned. It's because no one working fo ESPN gives a crap about what Solomon writes in this column. It's a tree falling in a vacuum (mixed metaphor intended).

by Stiller Fan in Cleveland (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:02am

My biggest problem with the ombudsman is that you know at the end of the day he's gonna give the network a pat on the back. He may mention a couple stumbling blocks, but the last few comments are always: ESPN did a good job covering this story, did a good job with that...

If he'd tell the truth; that ESPN subtly pushes events on ESPN or ABC, that Disneyfied human interests storys are crap, that Sean Salisbury is underqualified for Battlebots, that Chris Berman needs to stop ruining the draft for all, and that 99% of that network is hyping their own product and image, then people may listen.

I wish I were an executive just so I could suggest a real-time comment scroll...it worked for page 2.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:13pm

#9: exactly.

I have no problems at all with segments that focus on legal hits. Big, clean hits are and should be part of football. I do not believe that highlight shows should focus on illegal hits ("unflagged" just points out how few officials enforce spearing and similar rules).

#27: Yeah, I'm sure it doesn't make much difference, but I prefer to think that he mentioned the Jacked Up segment in part because I complained about it. (No, really. It was one of the few times I've found a link on ESPN's site that will let you contact them.)

I'd be happy if ESPN never televised another high-school event, whether or not Jordan's sons are involved.

ESPN could provide more knowledge and less banter? Um ... that applies to pretty much every telecast of every sport on every channel. Increase the content, please. I'll let you know when you're too serious.

Gosh, I missed the ads on the outside of Espen! The Magazine! I guess I should take a quick look at it during its brief trip from the mailbox to the trash can. (I know, I should recycle it. I haven't found a place that recycles magazines in my area.) I subscribe to Insider. I don't want the magazine.