Michelle Beadle has stopped watching football. The Get Up co-host revealed the lifestyle change in behavior to the world. She is not alone in this, though her position as a pundit on ESPN’s flagship morning program makes such an admission a risk. The obvious question coming — even from those not already with both feet on the HMS ESPN Is Dying — is this: how can she comment on anything NFL-related going forward? Especially with a new cadre of sport-specific talent poised to be rotated onto the set? Won’t that undercut and potentially handcuff?
It’s fair to ask. But let me posit this: Beadle is far from the only pundit gracing your television screen, radio dial, newspaper, or website that isn’t doing the homework before offering an opinion. Anyone thinking otherwise is desperately naive.
Those fully formed take sausages you feast on every day don’t magically materialize, nor are they the product of a singular talent’s hard work. It is a collaborative effort. A production team aides in the collection and dissemination of pertinent information. On-air personalities discuss any number of events they didn’t see live. On ESPN, FS1, all of them. Each and every day.
The public, usually without thinking, consumes. This is how the ecosystem works. What Beadle did is serve as a butterfly flapping its wings. Will the effect be that everything is changed, that people’s eyes are opened to the reality of their sports content? Or will this soon pass?
My guess is the latter.
What Beadle is doing won’t be revolutionary. Admitting it, though, qualifies. And a sober study of the facts at play results in wondering why the “I didn’t watch” admission is seen as such a mortal sin.
Consider the time commitments at play. Talent has pre-production, then the show, then other work duties. They have family, friends, and any number of other obligations. It is already impossible to see everything. Even those bending over backwards and grinding to see every available moment live are letting a ton slip through the cracks.
Watching intently during every window during an NFL week means seeing 10 teams, less than a third of the league. Watching two NBA games back-to-back is a five-hour enterprise and leaves nearly 90 percent of the league not monitored.
There are, of course, no shortage of people in the business who bust their rear end to grind day-in and day-out. To be completely prepared with no aide. To see as much as humanly possible. Make no mistake, this is noble and shows respect to the consumer.
But is it even the majority?
Beadle’s commentary was surprising because if its transparency. Not because it revealed some sort of unicorn behavior. One does not have to like or even accept this reality. Acknowledging it exists should be enough to open some eyes.