Steve Young does damage control after admitting he’s not all in with football

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Steve Young recently admitted to lacking full commitment to his job as an ESPN NFL analyst. He also seemed to lack a full commitment to explaining that he truly has a full commitment to his job as a football analyst.

The situation emerged from a profile of Young penned by a non-sports publication.

“My wife hates football, and my kids don’t really care,” Young told Alex Sherman of Bloomberg Businessweek. “I see myself as a deal guy first. I’ve put football behind me. Roger Staubach once told me  — and I’ll never forget it: ‘When you retire, run. Never look back.'”

Sherman explains that Young “may have quit ESPN years ago if not for his private equity partners, who like him to keep a high profile,” and that Young “spends no more than an hour or two at the stadium” preparing for what he’ll say on the air.

“Once the game starts, he barely watches the action,” Sherman writes.

It’s a horrible look for Young, and for the network that’s paying him to do more than the bare minimum — or to do something other than leverage a platform on ESPN to enhance the nine-figure dealmaking abilities of a private equity firm. It’s no surprise that Young is downplaying his words.

However, his effort to downplay his words isn’t very convincing.

“I participated in this story to encourage athletes to think about their futures because I want to inspire them to think this way,” Young told Michael McCarthy of SportingNews.com. “I have worked hard to build an expertise in two different fields, and I am proud of that. I have built one over the course of 35 years as a football player and analyst. The other, in private equity, I’ve established over 18 years. I’m focused on being excellent at both — and without sacrificing one for the other. Staying connected to the game and working for ESPN are very meaningful to me. In no way did I intend to suggest otherwise.”

Young may not have intended to suggest otherwise, but suggest otherwise he did. As to his claim that staying connected to the game and working for ESPN are meaningful to him, of course it is; as he told Bloomberg, Young’s business partners want him to keep a high profile.

ESPN executive Stephanie Druley vouched for Young’s overall work ethic and commitment, even though Young in his comments to Bloomberg didn’t.

“Steve is one of the most respected analysts in football and he remains committed to his job at ESPN,” Druley told McCarthy. “His producers and colleagues have noted his work ethic internally, his level of preparation and the effort he brings each week. In addition to analyzing Monday Night Football, he watches games, actively participates in production meetings and contributes weekly analysis to our studio shows using a camera that ESPN installed in his office. He is one of the veterans of our analyst team and he’s constantly making fans smarter about the game.”

That’s fine, but Young said what he said. To his credit, he didn’t try to suggest that he was misquoted or that his words were taken out of context. To his detriment, he comes off as the stereotypical former player who is above following the NFL like a fan.

Most of the former players who can’t or won’t follow the NFL like fans get exposed quickly. Young is smart enough to survive despite not being all in. The real question is whether and for how long his broadcasting career will survive his unforced error.

69 responses to “Steve Young does damage control after admitting he’s not all in with football

  1. Don’t know how much truth there is to it but if it is true LOL @ the people mad he isn’t the 49ers GM.

  2. Won’t effect anything. This story will be forgotten before the day is over. Don’t have to be all in to cover a sport that is only 4 months of the year. Don’t make too much of your job. It isn’t that hard.

  3. When you work for a failing network that’s repressive, and fires people for their political opinions I can certainly understand his lack of enthusiasm working for ESPN. I stopped watching not long after Charlie Steiner died.

  4. Who cares? He’s been lousy for years. Besides, I’ve never liked him since he acted like winning that one Super Bowl somehow made him Joe Montana’s equal.

  5. I do not really fault the guy. He moved in career and life yet takes advantage of ESPN’s willingness to throw money at any famous name. If it works mutually, he uses them for business name recognition and they use him for fan recognition to sell a product, then so be it.

  6. The Trump Effect. Facts, deny, blame media, get believed by morons, go on believing whatever a celebrity says. Rinse repeat.

  7. It sounds like he’d be better off on Shark Tank with Cuban and Mr. Wonderful than on ESPN. As far as Staubach goes, he’s one of the wealthiest people in the country and doesn’t need football to boost his platform.

  8. I don’t think most TV personalities watch sports at all beyond the highlights (if even that?) They can talk the “hot takes” or the bullet points but they can’t go in depth because they don’t watch and have no idea what they are talking about. But they are pretty people with snazzy clothes.

    Let that sink in for a second.

    I’d take a panel of people (or at least humanoids) that look like the elephant man wearing burlap bags if they can have a stimulating in depth conversation about the game on the field. I’m so sick of seeing “empty headed pretty people” blabbering on TV about nothing.

  9. That’s BSPN for you. Deflategate in a nutshell:

    Commentator 1: “Hey, I heard 11 out of the 12 footballs were deflated or whatever.”
    Commentator 2: “Wow, that really seems well sourced and must be the truth I assume.”
    [weeks later]
    Commentator 3: “Hey, to everyone watching right now at 3 am, we were wrong about that, sorry.”

  10. I seriously-doubt the majority of ‘analysts’ (i.e. Talking Heads) on ESPN or even other networks truly pay attention to the game.

  11. justintuckrule says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:49 AM
    The Trump Effect. Facts, deny, blame media, get believed by morons, go on believing whatever a celebrity says. Rinse repeat.
    ===================

    Except for the fact that if you were to read the article that’s not what’s happening here at all you really nailed it.

  12. The right thing to do would be to retire. As much as I don’t like ESPN, he’s stealing his pay check right now.

  13. Wow, what an indictment on other NFL analysts. Young is approaching this as a part-time job during the NFL season and yet he consistently comes off as informed and thoughtful unlike so many of his peers–whose foolish “observations” on the air reveal that they often don’t have a clue what they’re talking about–especially when it involves smaller market teams.

  14. So, how much time SHOULD he spend preparing his remarks? I’d say an hour or two should be sufficient given all they ask him to do is give some basic opinions. It’s not like he has to break film down and get into specifics. The only people who will get upset over this are the ones who are neglecting their own jobs to hyper-focus on sports articles.

  15. Florio did a really good job of making his point in this piece. Problem is when you watch young on TV you can clearly tell he is passionate and loves football still so the argument falls flate when you actually WATCH steve on TV. Very crafty argument from Lawyer Florio though!!!

  16. I don’t blame him, there’s a lot more T.O.”s and Mosses in the league that once they get their money they stop playing hard, ala- Ill play when my number is called and only then !!!

  17. Staubach was already leveraging his celebrity to further his real estate career several years before he retired from playing. Basically he’s saying “What you see is what you get.” If its not enough, I’m not quitting my day job.

  18. Analysts don’t need to be all in. They repeat the same stuff all the time. While it’s probably very difficult to talk on TV, they say the same stuff that many non-casual fans converse about with their friends.

  19. Let’s eulogize him now, since he will probably be sacked after this.

    My favorite Steve Young moment was the slack-jawed look of disbelief on his face when Trent Dilfer verbally dope-slapped him during one of Young’s sanctimonious diatribes against the Patriots during the deflategate farce. Google it if you don’t know what I am referring to. He actually performed the miracle of getting both Young and Ray Lewis to shut up for more than 5 seconds.

  20. I just miss the looks Steve used to give Ray Lewis. Those looks were the best part of the show. And did you ever notice that Steve never ever ever stood next to Ray?

  21. Not going to matter. They only have former players on to give some people a sense of nostalgia, but I honestly forgot he was on ESPN because he never tries to say outlandish things like the guys who can’t let their careers go tended to (Chris Carters and like of the world) or the guys who stunk as pros and are overcompensating with the super take (Tim Hasselbecks and Trent Dilfers). So he ends up in the middle somewhere and is simply being paid to be there. I remember when he first started doing that job years ago I thought he was bumbling around and honestly sounded a bit incoherent.

  22. I figured all those announcer gigs were like that. They are getting paid big $ because of what they accomplished in the past, and ESPN needs charismatic, famous former players to get people to tune in. I mean, who else are you going to put up there, some argumentative sports reporters who bicker with each other like children? There is plenty of that during the week if thats your thing.

  23. According to Forbes, Staubach is the wealthiest QB (net worth) past or present by a long shot. I believe $650M, mostly from his commercial real estate business after retirement. Did his celebrity help? Of course! Have we seen him in the media much? Nope!

    Sounds like he gave Young good advice.

  24. It is a nice cushy job so good for Young for doing just enough to satisfy his employer.
    While Young can sort of pull it off as he is obviously a very smart guy, it is not hard to notice which are the analysts put in the time watching tape and which don’t.
    Unfortunately, ESPN (and the NFL Network, for that matter) tend to feature the guys with the most Super Bowl rings and with busts in Canton rather than the ones that have insightful things to say.
    Oh well. I suppose at the end of the day it is all entertainment.

  25. At least he admits it. Guys like Dan Fouts, who clearly doesn’t pay much attention to the league on a day-to-day basis, tries to pull the wool over people’s eyes every week with nonsensical observations and a complete lack of understanding of the rules. They try to pass themselves off as “experts” just because they played the game 20-30 years ago (when the game was VERY different mind you).

    Randy Cross made a living for a long time as a color analyst when it was clear he had no idea what he was talking about. Matt Light was a very good (and well known) left tackle for about ten years in the NFL and right up until the end Randy Cross thought his name was “Todd Light”.

    I respect the fact that Steve Young can admit it instead of being a charlatan.

  26. If you were relying on ESPN talent for expert analysis, you’ve been behind the 8-ball for years. Bookies love ESPN’s misinformation.

  27. “spends no more than an hour or two at the stadium” preparing for what he’ll say on the air.

    Light-years ahead of Collinsworth, who basically just reads PFF…

  28. I don’t why it took Steve Young to admit it, for everyone to see that he didn’t care. He’s never prepared, and he talks and talks, but never says anything. I hear him on the radio talking about football and you can tell he didn’t spend five seconds preparing anything. He just babbles. It’s obvious he would rather be somewhere else. Actually, sometimes I think he’s scattered because he got too many concussions playing football, so I’m happy to hear that’s not the case. At least I hope it’s not the case.

  29. Wait a minute, are you suggesting some of these guys are spending more than an hour or two ‘preparing’ for the drivel they are going to share with us as analysis?

    It’s a football game, they pick who they think will win based on basic observations any of us could make. They get it right about as often as we would. Then they state the obvious after the game. ESPN pays him for his name.

  30. matt14gg says:
    Feb 13, 2017 10:55 AM
    At least he admits it. Guys like Dan Fouts, who clearly doesn’t pay much attention to the league on a day-to-day basis, tries to pull the wool over people’s eyes every week with nonsensical observations and a complete lack of understanding of the rules.
    ————————-
    You ain’t kidding! We get Fouts or Gannon for Texans games because they are lower tier analysts. Their comments never change from week to week. Never!!!

  31. How many ex-players do you need one on pre-game show? It’s unbelievable when they have 5 guys and a host all sitting there acting like they are each contributing something new and different.

  32. I’m sure he is really great at finance. The other partners have the knowledge and do all the work and Steve is there to bring in the jocksniffing clients. Steve Bono has a similar type job as well.

  33. I see nothing wrong with what he said or his clarification statement. He actually does a pretty good job so if that’s all he needs to put in to be good, then who cares? Besides, I bet a lot of guys put in a lot more time and are awful. 95% of ESPN’s staff fits that.

  34. And with all that, Steve Young is still one of the most enjoyable listens on anything NFL. Why? Because he is intelligent and he speaks perfect English, which is unusual considering he once played in the NFL. He is eloquent and his comments are always based on logic and reason.
    Most of the former jocks sound like they quit school in the 3rd grade.

  35. factschecker says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:51 AM
    I don’t think most TV personalities watch sports at all beyond the highlights (if even that?) They can talk the “hot takes” or the bullet points but they can’t go in depth because they don’t watch and have no idea what they are talking about. But they are pretty people with snazzy clothes.

    Let that sink in for a second.

    I’d take a panel of people (or at least humanoids) that look like the elephant man wearing burlap bags if they can have a stimulating in depth conversation about the game on the field. I’m so sick of seeing “empty headed pretty people” blabbering on TV about nothing.”

    **********************************************

    I agree 100%! There is an obsession in the country with football that is unnatural. I have watched it for many years and I like to watch THE GAME. However, with a dozen (or more) networks that constantly bombard us with their “experts” analyzing the game from every aspect (who cares about Tom Brady’s dog?) some people seem to think that football IS life. Steve Young does a good job in his commenting and does know what he is talking about, but he has learned that his job is just that, A JOB.

    Of course, I am making this comment on PFT and I spend an inordinate time commenting here, even after the season ends, so, maybe I have a problem as well. (my wife made me write that last paragraph) lol!

  36. justintuckrule says:

    The Trump Effect.
    ================================

    Do you special snowflakes have to infect every article?

  37. On the other hand you have people like jaws and gruden who are film junkies and spend every waking moment watching film. And the only thing I get from that is a bunch of BS, love fests for EVERY single player, and an occasional spider Y banana reference….

    I’ll take someone is prepared enough you give meaningful commentary and not sensationalize everything

  38. This isn’t any different than the rock-n-roll disk jockey who doesn’t really care for rock-n-roll. And there are a LOT of guys in that category.

  39. As fans, we tend to get upset when the people we once worshiped don’t seem to care as much as we do. We have to remember, these guys have been doing this since they were kids, day in and day out. How many of us truly have the same passion for anything we did as kids, much less after putting millions in the bank. They’re human beings just like the rest of us, we don’t have the right to expect them to be more than that.

  40. Good for Steve. I’ll go on record the feeling is mutual, we’re not all in with him on football either. Talks over everyove, always has to be the smartest guy in the room, of course that’s not to difficult when you standing next Dilfer & Ray-Ray, but that another topic altogether. Next!

  41. Who cares? ESPN sux anyway. I only watch ESPN when I feel like watching a bunch of fools talk about race and politics. I remember when ESPN was sports and sports only.

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