The NFL can be an overly secretive, sensitive, weird place.
There was a freakout over ESPN showing a quick clip of New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold saying “I’m seeing ghosts,” during a game against the New England Patriots. In the big picture, is that comment that big of a deal? Of course not.
But this is the NFL, and boring is the league’s currency. After the overreaction to the Darnold comment, New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur doubled down and said he would not allow ESPN to put a microphone on him for “Monday Night Football,” if asked, and hopes his players will also refuse.
All because a pretty innocuous comment by Darnold made the air. The NFL is lucky it has a great on-field product, because it rarely goes out of its way to make the league more enjoyable for its fans.
Pat Shurmur wouldn’t wear mic for ESPN
Shurmur told the New York media of his decision on Thursday.
Pat Shurmur says he will not wear a mic Monday night and he would prefer his players follow his lead. ESPN MNF has not asked Giants yet.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) October 31, 2019
Again, this is a weird reaction based on a comment that really isn’t that big of a deal. Darnold, in the worst game of his career against a tough defense, said he saw “ghosts,” a term that isn’t uncommon. It’s in reference to seeing things that aren’t there, against a defense that does a great job disguising looks.
And this became a controversy. The NBA, which actually tries to be interesting, laughs.
Mic’ed up segments will be duller
The ridiculous overreaction to Darnold’s comment ensures nothing interesting will ever again be seen or heard again during the mic’ed up segments. Prepare for a lot of useless “Ohhhh!” reactions after big plays from mic’ed-up players. What fun.
Shurmur won’t be asked by ESPN to wear a microphone during the game against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. The network knows he’ll say no. The mic’ed up segments are mostly bland with precious few interesting moments, because the NFL’s paranoia won’t allow too many genuinely fun or intriguing clips make the broadcast.
The NFL is never pressured into being more interesting or producing a more inclusive experience for its fans. The ratings numbers continue to be through the roof, no matter how robotic the players and coaches try to be. The on-field product is just that good. The league can’t screw it up.
Shurmur’s decision to not wear a microphone isn’t really a big deal. But it’s another sign that the NFL’s desire to be dull outside of the lines won’t stop anytime soon.
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