When it comes to NFL Network’s Adam Rank, he’s not afraid to be himself. He’s also not afraid to be wrong, either. A lot of times in NFL Media, we will see predictions that don’t come true — leaving those with egg on their face — but Rank has never shied away from owning it.
Unlike many in his field, Rank embraces the possibility of being wrong. In the high-stakes world of predictions, where errors can be costly, Rank stands out for his refreshing candor, which came across in an upcoming episode of Awful Announcing’s Short and to the Point podcast with host Jessica Kleinschmidt.
“I mean, you want to be authentic, and you want to be able to go out there and admit — like it’s out there in the world, nothing you can do to change that,” he said. “It’s kind of like when you’re doing stand-up comedy, you know immediately whether something’s funny or not. If people aren’t laughing, you can’t fake it and go, ‘No, no, that was funny,’ and try to explain the joke or anything like that. Similarly, when you do these predictions, you have to wear it.”
“And one of these things that really caught fire with me was that a lot of times, (NFL) Total Access would go out there, and they’d have David Carr and (Brian) Baldinger and (Michael Robinson) and those guys do predictions, but they would do one division a day. And you can get away with having records that don’t make sense. I go through and I predict every game. And so, if somebody is gonna go 13-4, somebody’s gonna have a bad record. It’s the accountability of just being like…some people can go out there and predict everybody to go 10-7, and then, the math doesn’t add up, and you’re like, there’s no accountability.
“I will embrace the accountability, and there are times when it goes horribly wrong. Anybody who lives in the Bay Area remembers a couple of years ago with the (San Francisco) 49ers. This season, it was the Cleveland Browns, who I had as a 6-11 team. They were 11-6. It was the exact opposite. And it’s funny because when you put out these predictions, the fans of the team that you’re not as hyper about will come after you, and the Browns fans — even going back in hindsight — were like, ‘How did you look at this roster and think this team wasn’t going to win this amount of games?'”
Rank said that fans of the Washington Commanders and Tennessee Titans also said that, but the Browns were the only team able to get away with it because of the way their roster was constructed. Rank admitted that he was getting “too in the weeds” before acknowledging that it’s important that he’s willing to own being wrong.
While acknowledging his own personal errors, Ranks expresses understanding for those who avoid admitting mistakes, citing past advice from consultants and advisors to focus on the future.
“That’s some of the dumbest advice I ever heard because people will give up on you, and they’ll do their thing,” he said. “And I know, some fanbases think, ‘Rank’s always wrong,’ but there are some fanbases, who are like, ‘This guy’s always on.’ Especially in the playoffs because I do pretty well…It’s funny the way that breaks out. You have to take the good with the bad. You want to celebrate the good…because I’ll put it up on (Instagram) and stuff like that, like crow a little bit when I nail some of these picks…I will also respond when I’m wrong, so I’m gonna take my victory lap when I get it. But also, to do that, you gotta be able to wear it when you get one wrong.”