Like every other media outlet that covers the NFL, the Associated Press finally has come up with a system of power rankings.
Unlike every other media outlet the covers the NFL, the AP is affirmatively promoting its power rankings, aggressively.
Clumsily dubbed “Pro32” in an apparent effort to avoid drawing too much attention to the fact that: (1) it’s just a set of power rankings; and (2) the AP is more than a decade late to the party, we’ve noticed that the AP is now dropping parenthetical references to the “Pro32” list in its NFL articles.
For example, in a story about the upcoming Cardinals-Raiders preseason game: “(Arizona and Oakland are tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro 32.)”
It’s an annoying practice because the mention of where the team lands on the AP power rankings has zero relevance to the stories in which the reference appears. It’s just an awkward, out-of-place reminder of the existence of the “Pro32” in the apparent hope that, if the name gets printed enough, people will start to: (1) pay attention to it; and (2) actually start using the term “Pro32” instead of “power rankings.”
We understand that cross-promotion has become a key component of the ESPNification of sports coverage. But this is too much. Indeed, not even the folks who brought us ESPNification would dare wedge a “by the way the Packers are No. 2 in our ESPN Power Poll brought to you by Power Bar” into its on-air copy. (Crap. I may have just given them an idea.)
Power rankings are inherently meaningless, and the decision of the AP to shoehorn an acknowledgement of its own power rankings into nearly every NFL story is even more bizarre than the decision of the AP to calls its power rankings something other than power rankings.