It’s time for a quiz. Can you watch the following 30-second clip of Wednesday morning’s First Take and figure out what Stephen A. Smith and Damien Woody are arguing about?
If you got it, you’re smarter than we are.
To make this easier, here’s our best attempt at a transcription of a conversation ostensibly about Drew Brees and free agency. A typical vertical dialogue structure wouldn’t work here because everyone is talking at once, so we put Smith and Woody (don’t forget host Molly Qerim!) side by side.
Now can you make out what the conversation is about? Still no? Do you give up?
OK, here’s the answer: Before the shouting match, Woody had suggested Brees should return to the New Orleans Saints at a discount because the franchise has a lot of good players and could be positioned to win a Super Bowl. He offered Tom Brady as an example of a quarterback who had left money on the table for the sake of winning. Smith conspicuously looked at the Super Bowl ring on Woody’s finger, implying that the former Patriots offensive lineman was a little biased in this conversation. Woody then tried to hide his ring, prompting Stephen A. to yell, Woody to try hopelessly to defend himself and Qerim to get out of the way.
This was the prologue:
When all the yelling finally stopped, Woody explained that Brees had a simple choice between accepting more money and setting up the Saints for success. More yelling ensued.
People often cite interactions like this as evidence that First Take is incoherent nonsense masquerading as sports talk, and maybe it is. But if you remember that sports exist mostly for entertainment and that Drew Brees’ contract is not exactly a life or death issue, then guys hysterically yelling at each other can be kind of fun. Or something.