And how it came to meet your leg
And how the muscle, bone, and sinews tangled
And how the skin was softly shed.
--The Decemberists, "Red Right Ankle"
As proof that occasionally the sports media vultures actually do cover a story that's sports-related, we have the coverage over the ankle injury to Indianapolis' star defensive lineman, Dwight Freeney. As reported in a bazillion places, Freeney has a torn ligament in his right ankle, and is now questionable to play in the Super Bowl. This is, to say the least, fairly significant, especially because he's the only starter on either team that may miss the game due to injury and he's the best defensive player on either squad. The complexion of Indy's defense without him or with him in reduced capacity changes immensely.
We're all for covering this injury, providing injury updates, status on whether or not he's practicing, and ideally, some discussion of how this changes Sean Payton's game planning or Indy's defensive strategies. Unfortunately, we're only getting some of that because...well, because Freeney's basically in lockdown mode, saying he may practice later this week and hopes to play. Which means we're subjected to junk reporting like this gem from Peter King:
This is all conjecture now, but I'd expect Freeney will do everything he can to play, and will try to play. Unless the ankle is simply collapsing, I can't imagine him not playing.What is this conjecture based on? Well, not a goddamn thing. King has no quotes from Freeney, Jim Caldwell, any other Colt, or even a physician. He doesn't even have the usual "insider who spoken on the condition of anonymity" view on it. All he has is pure conjecture. And he's the NFL reporter with arguably the best access in the country.
What we've got, therefore, is every NFL reporter and media head turning into Vinny from Staten Island, working off the same base of knowledge that Freeney's hurt and may or may not play, and saying blanketly whether or not he has the stones to get out there on the field and whether or not the Colts can win as a result. Again, this would be great if it were based on some analysis of his backups, the defensive schemes the Colts run, or the Saints' left side blockers. But it's not happening. Neither is getting more information on Freeney's injury, as evidence by the fact that today's big catch at Media Day is that he wears flip flops. Thanks guys.
We're not going to be too brutal on this one because it's a legitimate topic for coverage this week, but we're penalizing the media because they're not doing all they could with the story and actually saitate real football fans. Therefore, we'll give this a 3 on the bullshit scale, and hope that someone like Jaworski spends some time with tape and analyzing the real impact of Freeney's injury.