This really is a bizarre story.  On Sunday NFL Countdown, ESPN’s Tom Jackson predicted a Patriots blowout of the Jets in their Divisional Round game.  Of course, Jackson erred in his prediction and the Jets upset the Pats 28-21.  Now, most people wouldn’t begrudge Tom Jackson for predicting a big Patriots victory as they defeated New York 45-3 on MNF in Foxboro just a few weeks ago.  Since everyone and their distant cousin’s favorite comedian makes TV predictions on NFL games, you wouldn’t think that a single pick by a television analyst would be a big deal.  Not to Tom Jackson and the New York Jets.  You see, on Mike & Mike this morning, TJ confessed to picking a big Pats win to motivate the Jets and spur them to victory.  I’m not making this up.  From Sportsgrid

“I wanted to further fuel them in a little of a cement—cement them in that bunker mentality of ‘us against the world.’ And so, I accept Bart’s comments for what they were, but I hope that he understands that I actually am a fan of the Jets, and Rex Ryan, and that defense. I think that they were well served by the fact that, yes they were angry and they got a little angrier, and I think it served them well on the field.”

He also said, “Yesterday, I played a bit of a psychological game with the Jets.”  Dwoqefmko???  I can’t even think of a real word to respond to this insanity.  Let’s all work this out together – Tom Jackson… who is paid by ESPN to analyze games… intentionally made a prediction that he believed to be false… to motivate the Jets?  Huh???  A few things come to mind immediately.  Tom Jackson is irrevocably biased towards the Jets.  Tom Jackson wants to take all the credit for the Jets victory.  Tom Jackson is a giant fraud.  Tom Jackson shouldn’t be allowed to pick games anymore.  Tom Jackson should be taken off Countdown.

Seriously, if I was ESPN I would definitely think about taking TJ off of television for the rest of the playoffs.  That may sound harsh, but for your top studio analyst to openly admit to fudging his analysis to secretly benefit a team is ludicrous on so many levels.  Does he see himself as that important as to affect the outcome of an NFL playoff game (uhh, no), or is he making up something to protect his pick (if so, who cares)?  Can viewers take his analysis seriously, or is he just saying things to motivate people and teams he likes?  If Jackson picks the Bears this week does that mean he’s secretly conspiring with Aaron Rodgers?  As if the fake laughing isn’t bad enough, now pregame predictions are turning out to be fake as well.  Are NFL pregame shows going to turn into nothing more than professional wrestling style drama?  If so, Bart Scott would make the perfect crazy, monstrous villain type.  He’s a modern, sleeker version of Abdullah the Butcher…


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.