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Deitsch Asks Writers About Worst Team They Covered

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Richard Deutsch has an interesting and fun piece series going up at The Athletic today. He has asked 39 different sports writers to recap tales from the very worst team they covered. The answers span all four major US leagues plus the WNBA and college sports. They also vary in reasons about what made each team the worst.

The series begins with NFL beat reporters talking about their season(s) in hell. The NHL will be in the spotlight on Tuesday. It’s Major League Baseball on Wednesday. The NBA and WNBA stories come Thursday. College teams are highlighted on Friday. Here is the full schedule:

NFL (Monday)

  • 1990 Denver Broncos (Adam Schefter)
  • 1994 Dallas Cowboys (Dale Hansen)
  • 2000 & 2001 San Diego Chargers (Jim Trotter)
  • 2003 New York Giants (Tara Sullivan)
  • 2008 Detroit Lions (Nick Cotsonika)
  • 2010 Denver Broncos (Lindsay Jones)
  • 2012 New York Jets (Kimberley A. Martin)
  • 2012 Philadelphia Eagles (Les Bowen)
  • 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars (Ryan O’Halloran)
  • 2017 Indianapolis Colts (Stephen Holder)

NHL (Tuesday)

  • 2003-04 Pittsburgh Penguins (Trenni Kusnierek)
  • 2005-06 St. Louis Blues (Jeremy Rutherford)
  • 2007-08 Atlanta Thrashers (Craig Custance)
  • 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs (James Mirtle)
  • 2010-11 New York Islanders (Katie Strang)
  • 2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets (Aaron Portzline)
  • 2013-14 Vancouver Canucks (Jason Botchford)
  • 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres (John Vogl)

MLB (Wednesday)

  • 1983 California Angels (Gene Wojciechowski)
  • 1988 Baltimore Orioles (Richard Justice)
  • 1993 New York Mets (Frank Isola)
  • 1995 Oakland A’s (Pedro Gomez)
  • 1998 Florida Marlins (Dave O’Brien)
  • 2002 Chicago Cubs (Teddy Greenstein)
  • 2011-16 New York Yankees (Marly Rivera)

NBA/WNBA (Thursday)

  • 1998-99 Cleveland Cavaliers (Jason Lloyd)
  • 2005-06 Portland Trail Blazers (John Canzano)
  • 2005-06 New York Knicks (Howard Beck)
  • 2008-09 Los Angeles Clippers (Lisa Dillman)
  • 2011 Tulsa Shock (Kelly Hines)
  • 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers (Dave McMenamin)
  • 2014-15 Brooklyn Nets (Tim Bontemps)
  • 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers (Derek Bodner)

Colleges (Friday)

  • 1994 Kentucky Football (Pat Forde)
  • 1997 Maryland Football (Seth Emerson)
  • 2002 Stanford Football (Jon Wilner)
  • 2002-03 Villanova Basketball (Dana O’Neil)
  • 2014 Michigan Football (Angelique Chengelis)
  • 2015 Idaho Football (Michael Shawn-Dugar)

As for the first piece, the highlights include Dale Hanson of WFAA-TV in Dallas talking about the 1994 Dallas Cowboys, who were a good team according to their record. Hanson says that the hiring of Barry Switzer to replace Jimmy Johnson changed everything about the team’s culture. “But with Switzer’s ‘leadership,’ players were out of control. And there was no one to rein ‘em in. As one player said to me late at night near closing time in an Austin bar, ‘we have a curfew but Switzer’s coaching so who really cares.'”

Jim Trotter of NFL Media said one player ruined his experience with the 2001 San Diego Chargers. “That was the first time I saw up close how a team could splinter if one of its purported leaders was more concerned about himself than the club. That player was quarterback Doug Flutie, North America’s beloved underdog.”

The real gem though is from Nick Cotsonika, who now writes for NHL.com, but in 2008 was a beat reporter covering the Detroit Lions. He writes about the first NFL team to ever go 0-16 with some real fondness for just how terrible they were. “As the losses piled up, each game became more important, not less. It was like covering a team chasing history, only this team was trying to run from it and tripping over its own feet. No NFL team had gone 0-16 before. Kicker Jason Hanson said the Lions were so bad they had something to play for now. It says something the kicker was the one with the cred and the guts to tell it like it was.”

You can read the full piece here if you are a subscriber to The Athletic.

 

Sports Online

Bomani Jones: Chris Canty Made Me Rethink How I Look At This Job

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job.”

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The Right Time with Bomani Jones has been one of ESPN’s most successful podcasts recently. Part of the appeal is that the conversations can go anywhere. Jones and his guests talk plenty about sports, but they will venture into pop culture, current events, and more. When it is “Foxworth Friday”, there is a good chance that the show will give some insight on other ESPN personalities.

On the most recent edition of The Right Time, Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth discussed how hard it can be to come up with a unique view on a topic every single time you are asked to talk about it. When Foxworth said that ESPN Radio’s Chris Canty makes it a little easier for him to be entertaining in those moments, Jones added to the praise.

He discussed a conversation he and Canty had at a Halloween party hosted by FOX’s Nick Wright.

“You’ve heard me say this before. I have a particular respect for former athletes that get in and treat this job with care like in the same way they would the other job,” Jones said. “Chris was like ‘Hey man’. You know, he’s got a Super Bowl ring, but he’s like ‘I didn’t get a gold jacket. I wasn’t great at that. But this? I have a chance to be great at something else.’”

Bomani Jones was impressed by that attitude. He admitted that it was eye-opening.

“That really made me look back at how I do my job and was like ‘Yo, I need to be looking at this in a very similar way.’”

Foxworth agreed. He said that it isn’t hard to believe that Chris Canty wants to be great on TV and radio. It is easy to see when he is making an effort to get better.

“He works at it and he doesn’t rely on just one move,” Foxworth said. “Using the basketball analogy, he’s adding new stuff to his game.”

Chris Canty clearly has fans in Bristol. ESPN keeps finding ways to use him across multiple platforms. In addition to his daily ESPN Radio show with Chris Carlin, he also makes regular appearances on Get Up with Mike Greenberg.

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Dave Portnoy Drops Appeal Of Lawsuit Against Business Insider

“In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.”

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Dave Portnoy is done with his legal fight against Insider. He filed an appeal after a judge dismissed his initial defamation suit in November. That appeal has been dropped.

Nich Carlson, the Global Editor-in-Chief of Insider, took to Twitter Friday to announce that the legal standoff had come to an end. He also notes that Insider is not surprised by the decision. The company stands by the reporting in the initial story, in which multiple women alleged that sexual encounters with Portnoy turned “violent and humiliating”. It was one of two stories the site published featuring these kinds of accusations against Portnoy.

Both sides will move on. In dropping the suit, both Portnoy and Insider have agreed to pay their own legal fees according to Awful Announcing.

In November, a Massachusetts judge ruled that Portnoy would have to prove that Insider acted with “actual malice” in publishing the stories. That was going to be a high bar considering that Dave Portnoy is a public figure.

Neither he nor his legal team have publicly commented about the status of the lawsuit.

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Nick Wright: Majority of Media Got Tom Brady Retirement Story Wrong

“I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions.”

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The news of the retirement of Tom Brady wasn’t the most shocking development, but FS1 host Nick Wright believes the way some of media coverage around Brady evolved wasn’t handled correctly.

During his What’s Wright? with Nick Wright podcast, Wright argued that those who have been given tremendous talents are put in different situations than those who weren’t, stopping just short of saying Brady had a duty to continue to perform his craft. He later added that those joking about Brady’s marriage failing for an extra season in the league weren’t viewing the entire picture, and that the divorce wasn’t something worth joking about.

“I see a lot of stuff people are saying about Brady, and I think it’s bullshit,” Wright said. “‘Oh, you sacrificed your marriage to 8-9’. And I don’t think people understand that these are not easy decisions. These are not easy things, and people know we know we are at times putting yourself first, in a selfish way that you’re not supposed to as a parent.”

The First Things First host then said the situation is similar to one he experienced as a child, but grew to realize there were bigger things than simply being a parent.

“It’s what I learned from my own dad. My own dad — who I have massive admiration for — absolutely put me and my sister — at times — on the backburner to negotatioting the best bargain possible for the Kansas City Firefighters. His legacy — he’s a great dad, who I adore — (but) his life’s legacy is not the things he did for me and my sister, his real legacy is the things he did for those firefighters and their families. You have those push and pull things and you make decisions and you deal with the fallout of it. It’s really sad that he and Gisele didn’t make it.”

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