In the build-up to the 2016 NFL Draft, the narrative around Michigan State Quarterback Connor Cook paralleled a story line from the Kevin Costner film “Draft Day.”
The media just would not shut up about how Cook wasn’t named a team captain at MSU, and you could almost hear Costner’s character repeatedly asking, as he did in the film about the fictional blue chip prospect, “WHY DIDN’T HIS TEAMMATES COME TO HIS BIRTHDAY PARTY?!”
For whatever reason, Connor Cook, once considered a sure fire first rounder, and perhaps very likely quite high in the first round, slid all the way to round four. The Oakland Raiders actually traded up to nab Cook, with the 100th overall pick, so it’s clear that this organization believed in him all along.
Perhaps it was the perfect fit, as Oakland has a long storied reputation for taking in players who just didn’t quite fit in elsewhere.
Connor Cook is also the perfect embodiment of the “chip on your shoulder” kind of player. He comes from the chippiest of all programs (the East Lansing outfit defines themselves by and in opposition to Michigan), and may be one of their chippiest players ever.
Here’s a link to more on the pro potential of Connor Cook, who will now become the NFL first signal caller in the Super Bowl era, to make his first career start in a postseason game. See the video below:
— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2017
As we saw last week against the Denver Broncos, Matt McGloin is clearly not the answer. I firmly believe Head Coach Jack Del Rio is making the right call by starting Cook. You’ve got to see what you have in the unknown, because the known (McGloin) doesn’t work at all.
Said CBS Network Analyst, and the last QB to guide Oakland to a postseason win Rich Gannon: “It’s a struggle, no question about it. You look at how quickly things have changed for the Oakland Raiders. You go from Derek Carr, who was an MVP candidate, to Matt McGloin who steps in and unfortunately gets hurt… I would say this, it’s not time to panic if you are the Oakland Raiders.”
“There is a reason why they went out and drafted Connor Cook. He is the all-time winningest quarterback in Michigan State history… He will come in and they will put a game plan together if he has to play.”
“I think he will go out there and function. Remember, it is not like the Houston Texans are going to score 40 against the Oakland Raiders. If he can take care of the football they can run it and he can behave himself behind a pretty good offensive line, the Raiders still have a chance.”
It’s great that Gannon, who has been a huge Raiders cheerleader (and deservedly so) all season long, has such an optimistic attitude. Most Raiders fans do not share the sunny outlook. More than one that I’ve spoken to has even used the phrase “shitshow potential.”
It’s unfortunate that the Houston Texans quarterback will be Brock Osweiler, who has the experience and know-how in beating Oakland. Almost every Raiders fan I’ve talked to would have rather seen Tom Savage.
Said CBS Analyst Steve Beuerlein:
“I think he (Brock Osweiler) has to be the choice. This is a guy who came back and showed his mental toughness by being ready to play. He threw the ball well. Did not turn the football over, which was what was getting him in trouble… I think the locker room really feels that this guy is the guy who gives them the best chance to win a playoff game.
“Bill O’Brien would be wise to stick with Brock Osweiler in this situation.”
The spread on this one is all over the map, with the Texans being favored in some places by 2.5 points, while others have them as a touchdown favorite.
It could be a really ugly, low-scoring game, and that low score could be due to poor offense rather than excellent defense. Additionally, there’s another level on which this game could be a shit show.
what’s the worst television contract in all of sports? I thought it was the recent deal that the NBA signed with ESPN and Turner, but I was wrong. Turns out that it’s actually ESPN’s deal with the NFL which allows ESPN to carry one wild card game each year. This year ESPN will be televising the worst wild card game of the bunch in the worst time slot on the worst day for NFL football, the Oakland Raiders at the Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon…
until today I thought that at least ESPN was getting this wild card game as part of the $1.9 billion a year it pays for Monday Night Football and assorted other NFL studio shows. That Monday Night Football package just hit the lowest ratings in nearly a decade and narrowly avoided becoming the worst rated package of games in over forty years of Monday Night Football. But I was wrong about this game being included in that deal.
It turns out, and this is positively mind boggling, that ESPN pays $100 million dollars just to air this single wild card game.
Now I don’t know where Travis is getting some of his dollar figures, and the above article does have some plot holes in it, and Travis himself has become less an author/writer and more a TV talking head in recent years, but his main thesis about the coming sports broadcasting rights bubble, the severely sagging NFL viewership, and the potential huge financial issues for ESPN is spot on.
His article perfectly explains why ESPN feels the need to employ a vast, expensive PR department to spend every work day of their lives cherry picking Nielsen numbers and spinning them into worthless corporate drivel; then spamming journalists everyday with the pointless published pablum.
ESPN has spent this entire NFL season in denial, acting like their problems don’t really exist, and over-celebrating any manufactured ratings victory they can dream up. Every time they crow about mundane minutia, you just want to tell the world’s most powerful media company, “hey, act like you’ve been there before.”
It will be fascinating to see what fiction they create in response to the imminent Raiders-Texans ratings disaster. No matter what it is, they’ll no doubt blast it out to everybody they know, despite the narrative being irrelevant to anyone outside their offices.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication.Follow paulmbanks