If you watch ESPN, as I assume a reader of this blog does, you have probably seen the commercial for the NFL Network featuring John Lynch, since it has been played countless times. If you haven’t, or if you can’t remember what it was about, it goes something like this: a fan is watching John Lynch getting interviewed on TV and the fan answers the reporter’s questions with exactly what Lynch will say. Obviously, the goal of the NFL Network is to advertise how well you can get to know your favorite players, how good their coverage is, etc.; but to me, every time I see it, it exemplifies how every interview is exactly the same. I can predict what Lynch will say, not because I know him so well, but because questions are always answered in the same manner each time. For instance, in response to how long he will be celebrating this victory, Lynch (and the fan) says, “I’m already looking towards next week.” Interviews, at this point, are so pointless and boring I don’t know why anyone bothers to do them. I exaggerate a little bit, but the point I am making is that there is rarely something worth listening to in an interview, because the responses are so clichéd and predictable.
Certainly, there are some players who speak their mind and provide worthy sound bytes, but they are few and far between. Of course, it’s obvious why athletes don’t. If you take a look at the times where they have spoken out and said something not politically correct, the results aren’t pretty. The one specific instance that springs to my mind is Peyton Manning after the Colts’ loss to the Steelers in the 2006 playoffs (2005 season). He mentioned that the team had “protection problems” and was subsequently lambasted. But it’s true! They did have protection problems in that game! And he didn’t say “my offensive line sucked”, he just said “we had some protection problems”. But that simple, and truthful, statement prompted just about every sportswriter, blogger, columnist, etc. in America to make a variation of the “he threw his team/coach/offensive line under the bus” comment. Personally, I like to hear thoughts like Manning’s. When the team goes to review the game, do you think they sit around and have everyone go “Well, I played pretty bad, you guys were all terrific”? No, they objectively review the game and decide where the problems were and work on them. So what’s so bad about Manning telling everyone else, in a relatively unaggressive manner, what they really did wrong and what the team will decide they did wrong upon studying the game later? I’m sure some people will disagree with me, but I would rather hear things like Manning’s comment because it actually gives me information rather than a cliché that I’ve heard hundreds of athletes say before him. After all, if I’m listening to an interview, I want to hear something informative, not something I knew was going to be said an hour before the game started.