Yesterday NFL Twitter went nuts over this graphic. An NFL Live tease on ESPN that said Sammy Watkins A Bust: QUESTION MARK?!?
Wow, ESPN. pic.twitter.com/KQXyq6nNBD
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 4, 2014
ESPN is TOTALLY not a network that would hype faux debates for ratings, right? I mean, this is a network that would never, not for one second, consider debating a topic not based in reality that would only be meant to stir up emotional reactions, controversy, and buzz.
Predictably, people were not amused:
ESPN asking if Sammy Watkins is a bust after one preseason game is classic ESPN. If Watkins is a bust, it's because the Bills QBs are AWFUL.
— Steve Cono (@SteveCono) August 5, 2014
How in the hell would you question if Sammy Watkins is a bust already? Jesus Christ, thats stupid.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 5, 2014
turned on sportcenter for the first time in a month. saw a headline "Sammy Watkins a Bust" immediately changed the channel i mean c'mon guys
— Chase Carder (@ChaseCarder15) August 4, 2014
Two series and there targets. Yeah, Sammy Watkins is a bust. C'mon. Turn off ESPN permanently and you'll be better for doing so
— Chris Ostrander (@2ITB_Buffalo) August 4, 2014
However, the segment was from NFL Live’s “Overreaction Monday” and was apparently meant to spoof the question whether or not Watkins deserves the bust label after just one preseason game. Watkins had 0 catches against the Giants in limited work in a game that doesn’t count.
TO reiterate, that Sammy Watkins bust pic was from "Overreaction Monday" on ESPN.
— Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) August 4, 2014
— BJ Cragg (@BCragg12) August 5, 2014
The ESPN "Is Sammy Watkins a Bust" tease was for a segment they basically made fun of people who say stuff like that after 1 preseason game
— Sal Capaccio
Let this be a lesson that not all ESPN teases are created equally, although the network should be smart enough to know that seeing “Sammy Watkins A Bust?” on the screen at any given time will be enough to send social media into mass hysteria without knowing the context.
It just goes to show you the manic Sharknado-esque mindset that exists in the sports media today, especially when it comes to the NFL. Any drop of blood in the water, any opinion about a team or player, is magnified times ten just to feed the appetite of the NFL news cycle. And in the preseason, when the games are meaningless and the pontifications are nothing more than mere darts being thrown at a board, it leads to episodes like this. I think we’d be much more content as a society if we all agreed to wait until the regular season began to offer anything resembling a “take” with regards to the NFL.
If anything, it should also be a condemnation of ESPN’s Embrace Debate philosophy when that tease goes viral on Twitter leading people to smash the network as a whole. Also, ESPN should leave the fake debates to First Take.