Was ESPN fair to Derek Anderson?; NFL pregame misses
Forever chronicled on YouTube with the rest of the memorable postgame meltdowns in NFL history, Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson
What prompted the question from Somers? ESPN's Monday Night Football cameras had captured Anderson laughing with Lutui, which prompted
"It is our job to document the game and part of that are the emotions and things that go on, not just on the field," Rothman said. "It is not our intention to dig dirt. Just have you've seen Tom Brady riling up his team on the bench, we're there to document the game, be it on the field or sidelines. In the case of Derek Anderson, it is unusual to see that type of emotion. It appeared to us -- not knowing the context -- to be down [by 18 points] in the game and with the game and season on the line, it seemed odd.
"Relative to my mind in the truck, some of the quarterbacks that we cover, be it Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers and on and on, it was just unusual to see that emotion. As far as what Jon said, Jon did preface it by saying we don't know what they are talking about. However, as a coach, Jon gave you an opinion from his point of view based on what we showed them from the truck. I think it was Anderson's reaction in the postgame conference from a local writer that elicited that reaction. That situation blew it out of proportion."
Rothman is right that had Anderson not blown up, the story would have had less juice. But it was Rothman's cameras that ignited the fuse that led to the postgame questions. Gruden did not trash Anderson in full -- he said that he thought the game bothered Anderson -- but was clear with his criticism (which is ironic, given one of the main criticisms of Gruden is that he falls in love with football players at the same rate Elizabeth Taylor did with leading men).
"My comment was based on the entire football game," Gruden said. "I think a lot is being said about my comment and Derek's reaction, the smiling during the game and after the game at the postgame news conference. But when you fumble the ball on the first play of the game and for two-and-half to three hours it is an incredible struggle -- I think they had five first downs at the time, down by 18 points, an interception forced into coverage, the season is on the brink, and obviously it is a decisive knockout by the 49ers -- as a coach, I don't remember seeing that from any of my players or from any other players of any other broadcast that I've seen. I wasn't trying to dig dirt or be too negative at all, but that was a reaction on the field that I don't recall seeing given the circumstances of the entire night."
"Obviously, the guy did not have a great day. You are out there for 3 ½ hours and, yes, you are embarrassed. But I just don't think it makes any sort of statement about the preparation or effort of a guy if he gets caught off-handed in one brief moment where somebody says something and you kind of laugh it off. He may have been saying, 'Hey, I'm going to get killed in this press conference. You have any ideas?' And the guy could have come up with something. It could have been anything at the moment. It may have been totally related to the game. You have no way of knowing.
"I have certainly commented on bench situations in the past but you tend to say, 'Listen, I have no idea what they are talking about' or at least do something to set it up in advance. But if it makes Jon uncomfortable, it makes Jon uncomfortable. We all have been caught on camera at one time or another doing something or saying something where if you are not there in the moment, you don't fully understand it."
"I'm not saying the guy did not prepare. I'm not saying his heart is not in it. I mean, he was once a Pro Bowl player. But there is nothing funny about getting your butt kicked. There is too much hard work, too much sacrifice, too much effort and too much money spent by everyone to sit there and laugh. There is nothing funny about it."
Outside of Michael Irvin, most NFL pregame analysts will eventually provide some interesting insight and analysis. Of course when you are on the air weekly, you're also bound to get some things wrong. Here's some of our favorite misses this season:
• "The Colts beat the Cowboys in Dallas."
• "Carson Palmer wanted Terrell Owens there. Now he's there...Now it's all on you Carson Palmer. The pressure is on his shoulders. They [the Bengals] have one of the best defenses in football. I'm glad they kept their defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer. They'll be a playoff team this year."
• "I say the Tennessee Titans make it; the Houston Texans make it; the Steelers make it; the Chiefs and the Washington Redskins."
• "I believe that Randy Moss -- for the first time, a wide receiver will be the MVP in the National Football League. Tom Brady will have an unbelievable year -- close to 5,000 yards. Randy Moss, I believe he'll have close to 1,800. He's motivated by his profession. He is motivated that he doesn't have a contract."
• "You won three out of your last 40 games and I'm going to say you are going to win five more than that this year -- the Detroit Lions."
• "They are not going to win it. They are not going into the playoffs. But the Buffalo Bills, in the first month of the season, will cause problems in the AFC East."
• "They may not win the division. I think they will be really strong in December. Let's see what happens with their record. That's the dangerous thing with Minnesota while they figure things out."
• "The Dolphins match up well with every team in the AFC East. They can win it and be a contender for the Super Bowl."
• "I've played against both, and trust me, Donovan McNabb presents way more problems to a defense than Michael Vick does."
• "Matt Ryan hasn't been as sharp as you would like since his rookie year. Watching him in preseason and then watching him in the first two games this year makes me think, are we looking at a guy with a great rookie year like Ricky Mirer did, and then things start stopping up?"
• "I'm really not surprised. For Minnesota the time is now, particularly with Brett Favre at quarterback. You're trying to take advantage of Favre's presence and maybe build a new stadium. Adrian Peterson is great. The Vikings defense is great...Minnesota is a good football team and Randy Moss now makes them a great football team."
• "Washington has always been a soap opera with no stability. McNabb gives them that instant stability."
• "The consensus around the country is that this is a home run for the Minnesota Vikings because they really haven't had a deep threat. Opposing teams have been crowding the line of scrimmage to stop Adrian Peterson with single coverage on the outside to take away the underneath routes. Now with Moss as the deep threat, opposing defenses won't be able to do that."
• "Most people don't have one good quarterback. He does have two...I would stay with Kevin Kolb. He's been hot."
• "He's still a manager. I'm waiting on him to take the reins and become a leader of that team. He hasn't done that yet."
• "As long as Peyton Manning is alive and well, the Colts will make the playoffs."
• "The best team in the AFC has a losing record and they're not even playing this week, that is the San Diego Chargers, led by Philip Rivers who will do something you [Dan Marino] didn't do, which is win a Super Bowl this year...I'm telling you right now. You watch them closely. They're one of the best teams out there. They're going to get healthy coming off this bye. They're going to get Vincent Jackson back. Watch out for the San Diego Chargers."
• "Second half of the season, he [Randy Moss] will score six touchdowns. This team, the Tennessee Titans, win the AFC South."
• "Jed York said this team will make the playoffs and it looks like San Francisco 49ers are not dead yet."