One of the few legitimately exciting types of sports news that isn't about the actual games is some kind of team drama or controversy, so any time there's the possibility of one, reporters start screaming excitedly like little girls and sometimes intentionally or unintentionally try to help it along and nurture it into full-blown scandal.
For example, last week Jay Cutler was caught telling offensive coordinator Mike Martz, "Fuck you." Reporters excitedly turned to Jay Cutler for comment, who said it wasn't a big deal. They then turned to his target, Mike Martz, hoping to get some "What did he call me?" ire, but instead just got a laugh and an "It's not an issue."
It got a "hearty chuckle" out of a guy who normally looks like he is eating his lips.
Then they turned to their readers, sure that some people would be fired up, and 89 percent agreed with Cutler and Martz that it wasn't a big deal. They later found another Bears player to talk about it, who didn't think it was a big deal, and even later, went to a football analyst and former player, who, surprisingly, also didn't think it was a big deal.
In order to find someone who would say it was a big deal, they actually had to have one of their own columnists say it. That's right, if you can't find anyone who actually wants to get upset about some controversy, why not pay someone to do it?
If that seems ridiculous, remember we've spent about two full weeks talking about Jim Harbaugh shaking a guy's hand too hard.
I don't even know how this is its own category of article, but it is. When things get really really slow, and all the other reporters have covered how Michael Vick is coming to play us, and what his strengths and weaknesses are, and whether we can beat him, and all the other people on his team, and how they all match up against our team, the only scraps left are, who on our team is going to pretend to be Michael Vick when we are practicing this week?
Sometimes teams use first-team players to simulate a really high-quality opponent, but that job often goes to players on the practice squad, whose only job is to imitate players from whatever team they're playing that week. So if things get really slow, you can do a whole story on just one of those guys and how funny it is that a skinny white guy tries to pretend to be a towering athletic wide receiver nicknamed Megatron.
Rwarner16 on Gizmodo
Funnier than a skinny white guy dressing up like the Transformer Megatron?
I think the only way one of these stories would be truly interesting is if they were planning to impersonate that opposing player during the game, wearing their uniform and everything, and try to fool the other quarterback into throwing to them or something. I think that would be illegal, but the important thing is that it would make a good story.
Sometimes when there's nothing to talk about, the last resort is just to make things up. So, just out of nowhere, this reporter wonders, what if Dirk Nowitzki had gone to Cal? Apparently Cal recruited him heavily, but he ended up deciding on the NBA.
There's not really any amazing coincidence or what-if story there. If the coach had underestimated him, and passed him up, it could have been one of those haha, missed opportunity stories, but Cal wanted him pretty badly so there's nothing there. I guess basketball writers are just going nuts during the NBA lockout.
A prominent basketball reporter, currently.
And this writer wonders, what if the Eagles had hired Rob Ryan? He admits at the beginning this probably wasn't even a possible choice for them, given the timing, but then goes on to write the rest of the article about how they probably should have made that choice. The icing on the cake is that the Eagles demolished the Cowboys 34-7 less than two weeks later.
And probably one of the best examples of blatant speculation is this What If They Played Now? business where they not only guess how a basketball player of the past would do today, but give you his entire speculated career stats if he played in the modern NBA. I only hope they somehow got those by playing NBA 2K12.
A wicka wicka wack.
For more from Christina, check out The 5 Stupidest Ways Movies Deal With Foreign Languages and The End of Online Anonymity: Why Will You Be Freaking Out?.