Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Just thoughts on Jim Schwartz's "news" conferences

There are those in the media who tend to dwell on the good old days, I suppose, in part, because change often leads to trepidation.
I like the way things are now far better. For example, it's much easier to gather information. I didn't have any great love for my "Baseball Encyclopedia," for example. Took too long to look things up. I love the overload of information and columns and stories from great writers - and Twitter and that I can watch virtually any game any time on television or my computer or my phone. The latter when I eventually get the right one with the right applications on it.
What I don't like is the new ways of the NFL, and more specifically the Lions' news conferences with the head coach.
Look, there is so much made about every word said at those things. And especially when there is a losing team involved like the Lions, there isn't that much needed to be said. Hey, they are 2-10. Kind of says it all.
Reporters become the news because of the questions. I've been on that side of it a couple times, and to be honest, I was just asking questions that in the past wouldn't have been big deals. I just would have put the answer in my column. It wouldn't have been like, "You were in some showdown with the coach." Or a couple times when Matt Millen was team president. When that wasn't the case at all.
I covered the Lions for five years as a beat writer. The first year was 1998. And you could talk to the players and coaches and club officials pretty much anytime you wanted. Open locker room was actually an open locker room. You get honest answers.
I'd watch practice every day - all of it. Really got a feel for what was going on. And was much better able to convey what was happening to readers and listeners to my radio show. Practice isn't open anymore.
Now you get cliches every where. And a lot of people go into hiding, and when they do talk to the media, they are clearly afraid to say anything. It so bizarre.
The head coach has been put in a difficult spot. You've seen it from Jim Schwartz the last month, even though he is far more media savvy than Lions' coaches of the past. Trying to cover injuries everyone knows about. Calling the media irresponsible for their reporting. Blaming the officials.
Thing is, it's become the nature of the animal these days. Being a head coach isn't just about being a coach anymore. It's about being a spokesman for the organization - literally its face. There is no wiggle room for error.
Sure, it's unfair to Schwartz in a sense. For those of us in the media, it's a pain in the neck because where we used to get honest answers we now get spin. It's like we are always trying to decipher some sort of code.
The media conferences, both after the game and on Monday, are essentially useless.
The real losers are the fans - because it never comes to them straight any more.
And I believe this aura is hurting the NFL. It's media coverage is kind of locked - and is one of the reasons sellouts are not the given they used to be. It's just much harder to present the essence of league than it once was.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I don't like about these press sessions is that you can barely hear the questions being asked. With all the millions that pass through the franchise, you would think that the Lions could spring for a decent boom mic to be used. But I guess that would be too much to ask of the Fords. This has been a piss poor organization since that fateful weekend in late November of '63 when WCF bought out the syndicate. Tell me Pat, what is Ford,s reputation around the league? I suspect that he is so insulated that he doesn't realize what a farce this franchise has been for 46 years. Maybe it is time for the kid to take the keys away from the old man. Well,some day Mr Ford will no longer be around. Let's hope that junior`s apple falls far from the tree.

After watching fifty years of this train wreck. I needed to vent a little.

MJK in the Hills of Farmington

11:44 AM 

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