I've learned some things by being on the radio for over 30 years. I've found that stupid people say stupid things. I’ve found that even smart people are apt to utter stupid thoughts from time to time, and that really smart people will strategically say really stupid things to get noticed. I've never met Skip Bayless, and I don't watch him on ESPN, but from what I've sensed over the years is that he falls into the “really smart” category. He gets noticed and talked about and written about. ESPN has morphed an entire show around Bayless. His thoughts and ideas are rewarded handsomely.
Skip's latest venture into the world of the irresponsible is suggesting that while “he's for the black guy,” some white Redskins fans are pulling for white rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins over Robert Griffin III. It's human nature, he says, that you pull for those who most resemble you in the mirror. What Bayless describes is racism, not human nature. Do you think Redskins fans were disappointed when Doug Williams led the team to a Super Bowl victory, lamenting it would have been sweeter if only Jay Schroeder had been at quarterback that day against the Broncos?
We could get into the genesis of the Redskins franchise. Founded and owned by a purported racist, George Preston Marshall, the Redskins were the last team to integrate and only did so under government threat to revoke the lease on their stadium. That's enough Redskins history for now. More than anything, Redskins fans, just like all fans, want to root for a winner. Black, white, whatever. Winning makes you color blind.
As for Skip Bayless, he wins again. People are watching, talking and writing about him.
A smart guy who strategically says stupid things. Apparently ESPN is okay with that.
A HIT AT THE BOX OFFICE
Speaking of Griffin, RG3’s pre-season debut was solid on the field, but was a smash hit on TV. Redskins games in the pre-season are usually carried by the local NBC affiliate, but due to the Olympics, the game was on Comcast. In a 4 of 6, 70-yard, one touchdown performance, Griffin gave the cable outlet its highest rating in it’s 11 year history. The 9.15 rating surpassed the previous record held by the Washington Caps for a playoff game two years ago.
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO MONDAY NIGHT
ESPN just launched a new advertising campaign for “Monday Night Football”. The tagline used to be “Is it Monday yet?” I always found that annoying. It made me think of your kid in the back of the car asking, “are we there yet” every 10 seconds. The new campaign simply says “It all comes down to Monday night”. Actually, it comes down to match-ups. The better the marquee value, the more people tune in. Ratings for Monday Night Football last season were down an average of 1.5 million viewers, but it was still the most watched show on cable. Meanwhile ESPN is paying the NFL almost $2 billion a year for the rights to run the game. That’s up about $800 million a season. The new ad campaign features Jerry Jones, Arian Foster, Darrelle Revis and Matthew Stafford.
FOX announced its broadcast crews for this season recently. Former coach Mike Martz will be seen and heard only if you’re in a city with an awful team. One thing is for sure; Chicago fans are thrilled Martz is in the broadcast booth and no longer in the coaches’ box calling plays for the Bears.
Bob Berger is a 35-year veteran of sports radio. For the last 18 seasons Bob hosted "Around The NFL" on Network Radio. He's on the Panel of Voters for the Associated Press NFL All-Pro team and post season awards. In recent years Bob hosted weekends on Yahoo Sports Radio, Sporting News Radio and One On One Sports. He is a graduate of the University of Miami.
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