Thursday, May 30, 2013

One of the major differences between MLB and the NFL is in the media that cover them. Baseball writers tend to nag and nitpick, ostensibly because they love the sport they're covering, and they're sure it would be better if it just listened to them.
Football writers, on the other hand, offer the sort of uncritical house organ groupthink last seen when Pravda was reporting on Brezhnev.

Witness Mike Florio's recent take on the non-story of an NFL spokesman taking issue with an editorial critical of the NFL. Now, it's reasonable for Florio to be pro-football; after all, football is what pays his mortgage. That. presumably, explains why his posts at PFT relentlessly beat the drum for stadium subsidies, offering dire warnings to municipalities that don't pony up.
But carrying water for Greg Aiello to the point where Florio's bragging about the fact that the way Aiello complains to him is much cooler than the way Aiello complained about Jim Litke over at the AP, well, that's just embarrassing. Using the phrase "Litke whines" five times in one blog post? That feels like "me, too" piling on. "Gotcha" corrections of Litke's points because Miami ownership was going to chip in a tiny fraction of the cost of their reparations? Accusing Litke of being jealous because the NFL is the biggest and the bestest and all that stuff? That's the sound of trying to hang with the cool kids by showing them how totally on their side you are.
Is Litke's original piece perfect and above criticism? Of course not. But it raises some serious points, ones that a league that wasn't power-mad and arrogant wouldn't feel the need to correct line by line. And when an "independent" blogger Florio feels the need to tiresomely pile on, then the picture it paints of the NFL gets even uglier. If the league is as successful as Florio feels the need to claim, do they really need to crush any criticism? Do they really need to summon the hounds to silence any who might hold the league in anything but sterling regard? Are they so afraid of anyone having a negative opinion of them that they have to resort to sternly written typewritten notes?
Here's a suggestion, NFL. If you're really that worried about what one AP keyboard jockey is saying about you, build a wall of money so thick you can't hear him. You've apparently got the cash. Alternately, stop whining about how cheerful extortion of the city of Miami for most of a set of unnecessary stadium upgrade costs is totally different from cheerful extortion of the city of Miami for all of a set of unnecessary stadium upgrade costs - once the amount of money you're demanding in exchange for not taking your toys and going home gets measured in "metric fucktons", you're automatically asking for too much.
Maybe Litke whined. But geez, NFL, you and your people whine a hell of a lot louder, and you don't write nearly as well. Next time, bring your A game. Or, alternately, shut the hell up.

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