I’m sure this is a problem in most cities, but since I live in Nashville, I am going to focus on the dreadful state of sports reporting and sports writing in this city. I understand that Nashville is not a major market. Nashville is not a large city. However, there are two professional sports franchises in this city: The Titans (NFL) and the Predators (NHL) along with a minor league baseball team, the Sounds, and a quite a few colleges in the area. You would think that with that many teams that have a national, let alone a regional, identity, the sports coverage would be better than it is. Awhile back, I posted a few comments about certain sports radio hosts that got under my skin, but that is a hard thing to follow since sports radio doesn’t leave the kind of “paper trail” that the print media does. Therefore, I have decided to change my focus to the sports writers in this town.
My first example of bad sports writing comes from someone who is usually one of the better writers in the city. David Climer writes for the Tennessean and as I said, he is typically a pretty astute and intelligent writer. I don’t agree with his opinions that often, but that doesn’t mean the man doesn’t know how to write or cover the teams in Nashville and the surrounding areas. After Sunday’s horrible Titans game Climer had this to say about the game:
“With Johnson rendered null and void, the Titans offense slipped out of its comfort zone. Throwing that many passes against a physical, blitz-happy defense like Pittsburgh is a recipe for disaster.”
There are quite a few things wrong with what Climer wrote here. First, is he talking about how many passes the team threw, or how many passes Young threw? The reason I ask, is that most of that article is about the Vince Young benching controversy. It would appear that he is saying that because Chris Johnson was not having any success, the Titans were forced to throw too many passes with Young in the game. But that doesn’t make any sense. Young only threw 10 passes and completed seven of them. He threw two interceptions and one incomplete as well. Young had a bad game, but it wasn’t because he was throwing the ball too much. It was because he made a few crucial mistakes when he threw the ball. That’s a big difference. But, let’s assume that Climer is talking about the team as a whole – which is more likely. The Titans threw the ball 35 times in that game. If you look at the stat line and you see 35 pass attempts by the Titans then you might conclude that the Steelers’ defense forced the Titans to throw the ball too much and that lead to the loss. Too bad the facts of the game don’t back that up at all. As stated earlier, when Young left the game in the 3rd quarter he had thrown the ball 10 times. Backup QB Kerry Collins came in and threw the ball an additional 25 times. So was the aforementioned disaster after Collins started throwing the ball around? No. The Titans were already down 16-3 when Collins came in to the game. Disaster struck well before the Titans started throwing “that many passes.” In fact, if you look a little more closely at the numbers, the Titans actually didn’t have any success on offense until they started throwing the ball more often. Collins threw 20 passes in the final two drives of the game. The second to last drive resulted in the only offensive TD of the game for either team. The final drive was after the Titans recovered the onside kick and were desperately trying to tie the game. So, basically what Climer is suggesting is that the Titans, by going pass happy in the first 3 quarters and throwing the ball 15 times, doomed themselves to disaster. Does that make sense to anyone?
If you are going to write about sports then at least pay attention to the sport you are supposed to be covering. Don’t just write a story based on what you think happened or what you expected to happen.
Bad form David Climer! We expect better work from you and your fellow sports writers.