After an Exhausting 2017 Season, Some Thoughts on Football Media – Chicago & Beyond

| February 19th, 2018

(1) Everything I thought about David Haugh was confirmed when I watched him order a Blue Moon from Marco at The Billy Goat Tavern. Everything.

(2) Jason La Canfora continues to embarrass himself nationally. ESPN has Schefter and Mort. Fox has Glazer. NFL Network has RapSheet. And yet CBS, one of the league’s preeminent partners, continues to march this Human Misinformation Machine onto their New York City set every Sunday to be wrong. When JLC reported the Bears were bringing in Bill Polian last year, my source inside the Bears responded with this text: “Hahahaha.” JLC makes things up. There’s no other way to say it.

(3) For the first time in my twelve years writing DBB, I dabbled in the the “breaking news” game and I have to admit it was a shitload of fun. There is something genuinely thrilling about having information before everybody else, even when that information is as trivial as who the next offensive line coach of the Bears will be.

But sadly, “breaking news cache” seems to be all football fans care about anymore. A decent opinion doesn’t register. A good sentence or two? Fuck that! I’ve been doing the same crap on Twitter for years and I basically doubled my following because I knew Mark Helfrich would be the next offensive coordinator before Brad Biggs. And the sad part is I didn’t do anything for that information outside of have a friend. The sentences are the hard part!

(4) Is Adam Jahns my pal? Yes. But we became friendly (initially) out of mutual respect for each other’s work. Jahns tackles Bears issues with objectivity and intelligence and – most importantly – style. He can write! He is a pleasure to read! He’s the best the Bears beat has to offer day-to-day.

(5) Brad Biggs has lost his fastball. He was the best Bears beat writer for a decade, and his Monday Ten Things was the only must read of the week. Neither of those things is remotely true any more. One thing you should know: the organization hated that Phil Emery leaked so profusely to Biggs. They love that Pace does not. There are people in the building who actively root against Biggs getting stories.

(6) You could call what’s happening on Twitter between Greg Gabriel and I a “feud” but it’s somewhat one-sided because Gabriel blocks me on Twitter and I can’t see anything he writes. (I have to rely on followers literally sending me screenshots.) Here’s the truth with Gabriel. He’s a pariah inside the walls of Halas Hall. Ownership can’t stand him for a myriad of things surrounding his tenure with the Bears. He doesn’t have one solid connection in that building. And he’s angry and resentful that some of us do. His way of rebuffing us, and by “us” I mean primarily internet-based writers, is to wave his resume in the air and claim we don’t know anything. The sad truth, however, is he knows we do. And the more we know, the angrier he gets.

Oh, and he’s constantly wrong! About everything! Why does this guy have a platform for ANYTHING other than college player evaluations?

(7) I don’t root against The Athletic, even though the guys in charge of it are awful human beings. People should pay for good sports journalism and it seems they’re doing okay,generally, with their BUY EVERY WRITER approach. But two things: (a) Their current economic model is untenable. They’ll never bring in enough cash to make their VCs happy. (b) When it comes to the Chicago Bears, why would anyone pay for Kevin Fishbain and Dan Durkin? Fishbain is probably the sixth best writer on the Bears beat and Durkin, well, I’ll just leave that one alone. (But there’s no doubt the recent Richard Roeper news made him a tad nervous.)

(8) About five or six years ago, I had long conversations with folks inside press relations at the Bears. I understood their media policy about granting media access to “blogs” but I wanted to change that. I started speaking to a few other bloggers I respected about consolidating our efforts. I started raising money. This thing was happening. Then, seemingly overnight, there were 150 Bears blogs. And one was worse than the next. I will say the Bears were great about it. They were never cold or condescending. But they knew they couldn’t set a precedent with letting bloggers in those rooms. And they were right.

(9) Then again, that’s all Dan Pompei is now. He’s a legend in the business but he’s a blogger now. That’s all Bob McGinn is too. And Greg Bedard. Just because you charge for your fucking blog doesn’t make it something different. And this is not denigration. I like the work of all three of these guys very much. But they are bloggers!

(10) I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone in Chicago isn’t paying Hoge & Jahns to do their podcast daily on the radio. Waddle & Silvy are still the only game in town when it comes to viable sports radio (Bears category) but there were many times this season when I just didn’t bother because The Two Adams had already done the job for me with their post-game pod.

(11) Until the Tribune fires Steve Rosenbloom, nobody should take them seriously. That goes for sports only. If you’re not reading Rick Pearson’s local politics stuff, you’re lost.

(12) In fairness to him, I’ve heard Jeff Dickerson is a great guy. But does ANYBODY read him? How? Seriously, if you do, email me and explain: jeff@dabearsblog.com.

(13) Favorite Bears-related piece of the year: Dan Wiederer’s breakdown of the Trubisky dinner in Chapel Hill. Read it HERE.

(14) Favorite Bears columnist of the year: Adam Hoge. He’s the right amount of insight and incite. Balanced and objective but angry when he needs to be. But he’s way too fit to be a full-time sportswriter. He’s full-time TV bound.

(15) I wish the NFL would take the All-22 tape away from everyone. You can argue it’s making fans more knowledgeable but it’s not. It’s a text. But you have to know how to read that text. And without input from those who’ve been involved in writing that text, you’re just guessing.

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