Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune asked Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald about his bowl game result preferences and elicited a predictable response. The incident landed the reporter on a popular sports blog and earned him some needling.
Allow me to take the contrarian view here as one of the few people who believes it was actually a decent question. (Full disclosure: I also think “talk about” is fine for open-ended interview subjects, so stop reading in disgust if you must). My evidence may not be persuasive but came hot on the heels of Fitzgerald’s session.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, speaking about his team’s crushing and controversial loss to Ohio State in Columbus last year, offered this:
Whether Harbaugh is being honest or attempting to put lipstick on a questionable spot, his public stance is now that he’s happy his team lost a game to its fiercest rival and missed out an opportunity to play in the Big Ten Championship Game and potentially in the College Football Playoff.
So, in short, one never knows what you’re going to get. The quality of a question is tied to the quality of the response. Harbaugh’s gem will gain headlines and linger, fueling the content churn.
And one other thing, since Ohio State is in play here. If you haven’t already, you’ll surely read multiple Buckeyes pieces referencing their 31-0 shellacking in the Fiesta Bowl last season and how they’re using it as motivation. It will be spun into a learning experience and a hunger-deepening life lesson.
Is that takeaway so different than the one Greenstein was aiming for with his question?
Talk about your level of agreement.