Welcome to Friday everyone. The Groundhog is a jerk, but we’ll get through it together. I figure it’s been a mild enough winter that we were owed a few extra weeks on the back end anyway. Before we get to this week’s WWW I want to thank everyone who has supported us on Patreon. I’m working on fulfilling all the things that people have earned via contributing, but it feels good to have all the t-shirts mailed out. We’ve seen a lot of pictures from different people wearing their new threads. Feel like you’re missing out on some of the fun? No pressure, but you can jump on in at any time at Patreon.com/WFNY Now, on with this week’s WWW!
Trying to be smart about Jimmy Garoppolo
There’s so much that I can’t say about Jimmy Garoppolo because I just don’t know enough. I’m not capable of scouting an NFL quarterback no matter how much YouTube “tape” I watch. One thing I can say is that I know a lot of people I come into contact with don’t know either. I had a conversation on Thursday about Jimmy G with someone who was decisive and vocal about not wanting the Cleveland Browns to trade for the New England backup. Why? Well, I hope you’re sitting down because it might be the dumbest reason yet.
According to this person, “F*&% that guy! We’ve already got one injury-prone quarterback in RG3. Why would we need another one?!”
This is how Garoppolo got hurt at the hands of Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso.
There are a lot of reasons that you might or might not like a quarterback candidate. There are a lot of reasons to not want your team to make a trade in terms of asset value. Calling Jimmy Garoppolo injury-prone because he got hurt being tackled by a linebacker in his second game ever isn’t valid criticism.
Now, here’s a crazy thought, but it’s something I thought of recently. There’s very little chance that Jimmy Garoppolo plays in the Super Bowl, but the chances are significantly higher than zero percent. What happens if he’s forced to relieve Tom Brady and somehow leads a comeback to win the whole thing? Crazier things have happened in sports. What if he nearly single-handedly loses it? It’s just so funny how we presume so much in how we talk about Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots and the Cleveland Browns’ trade prospects.
Focusing on real news instead of incremental news…
It sure is noisy out there in the world. I don’t expect it to quiet down anytime soon, but 2017 is on pace to be the noisiest year in the history of news and media and culture. That’s why I’m trying to quiet it down in my little corner of the universe. It’s kind of a dead period in the sports schedule, but I’m applying some things I’ve learned over the years from creating and consuming sports content. Most notably, I’m trying my best to unplug from the constant feed of social media news and the way it’s communicated. I want to be well-informed, but whether we’re talking about local interest, sports, or even politics, I’ve found that a constant stream of incremental reporting isn’t very healthy for my brain and I’m trying to cut it down.
What is news? It’s an important and fundamental question. The answer is different things to different people. This is something we’ve discussed frequently here at WFNY, especially with regard to the Cleveland Browns and training camp. I attended camp as a media member pretty frequently over the past five years, and by about year three I (finally) realized that not everything I was seeing was newsworthy. I’ve relayed to you my thoughts that just because I was there and just because I wanted to be informed didn’t mean that the happenings were guaranteed to make me informed. I wasn’t able to reach conclusions for which I was fooling myself into thinking I was seeing evidence. It’s the same with news proliferation right now all over the internet.
An extra week between the Championships and Super Bowl doesn’t help us determine the eventual victor of the big game. Unless a real piece of news breaks like someone getting hurt or arrested, everything else is just meaningless, fluffy goodness. Yet, due to the need to fill air time and tweets and blog posts and any number of other venues, the media reports in an incremental fashion on the Super Bowl. And most notably there’s a bunch of opinion inserted along the way that pretends to be actual news or a contribution to the news. We’ve seen this play out locally where an athlete at best, or a media person at worst, will say something and then three more days’ worth of reactions will be created in response to that thing. It’s quite literally news creation, except it might not even be news to begin with. It’s happening in politics too, of course, which makes it an extra noisy experience of being “up on things” as 2017 unfolds.
My strategy? I won’t pretend like I can unplug. I didn’t delete apps from my phone or otherwise fool myself into thinking I wouldn’t keep up on things. I’m just waiting and checking in fewer times per day. Instead of standing in front of the firehose all day long and letting things scroll past me all day, I’m designating the number of times I check in and certainly the amount of participation I’m willing to undertake. It’s helped immensely so far. Instead of thinking like every piece of news – including each incremental opinion about that news – is worthy of my attention, I’m limiting the number of check-ins and I don’t feel so generally overwhelmed by the things I want to know about.
My realization isn’t that novel, but it’s important to acknowledge out loud. There are more words being typed, more videos being created, and podcasts being uploaded about everything than at any point in the history of the world. Whether we’re talking about the Super Bowl, LeBron James and the Cavaliers or even Donald Trump’s cabinet, there’s far more being created than what the news necessitates. Bringing it back to Super Bowl media week, I don’t need what Tom Brady said, plus an opinion of what Tom Brady said, a column comparing it to what other Super Bowl quarterbacks have said and then a collection of twitter memes and reactions to what Tom Brady said.
I first started to realize this was happening back in November 2014 when Odell Beckham Jr. made that catch. You know, “The Catch?”
Odell Beckham caught the ball one-handed and it was incredible, but it became a three to four-day topic. There were segments on Mike and Mike the next day to go along with SportsCenter segments and online GIFs and postings at every major sports blog outlet in the world. I mean, yes, it was an incredible catch, but we’ve lost the ability to get ahold of ourselves and the culture’s tendency toward superlatives. We’re more obsessed with creating new Mount Rushmores and declaring GOATs and opining constantly.
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