One of the biggest problems we had with former ESPN NFL analyst Sean Salisbury is that he always spoke in absolutes.
For Sean, there were no maybes or possiblys or likelys. It was always black and white, with no middle ground.
Case in point: Prior to Super Bowl XLI, Salisbury said that if Devin Hester of the Bears returns a kick for a touchdown, Chicago will beat Indianapolis.
So Hester did, and the Bears didn’t.
His goal, presumably, is to project confidence. But as a certain American telemarketing philosopher of the early 21st Century has explained it, confidence is the food of the wise man and the liquor of the fool.
Until this morning, we never realized that current ESPN analyst Mark “Stink” Schlereth has a similar habit of staking out with certainty his predictions regarding a sport in which the only uncertainty is that we really don’t know how 22 moving parts on the field of play will interact over a 60-minute period.
So here are a couple of “write ’em down and lets see if he’s wrong” assertions from Schlereth, via the current SportsCenter loop.
1. “New England does not lose back-to-back games.”
2. “The Jets are not gonna beat the Tennessee Titans.”
In fairness to Schlereth, he’s not as over-the-top as Salisbury was. (Yet.) But in that quest to create an aura of supreme confidence, Schlereth is exposing himself (but not in that way) to criticism after the fact.
Of course, as long as no one in the audience is inclined to remember what Schlereth said before the games were played, he’s in the clear. But maybe folks should pay more attention to the stream of space-filling commentary and predictions that the 22 former NFL players who are paid by Bristol to analyze NFL action have to offer. Indeed, there’s a decent chance that a lot of them don’t know much more than any of the rest of us.
But at least they’re confident.