OK, now this is getting confusing.
Earlier today, we linked to an item from Yahoo! Sports regarding the decision of ESPN analyst Tom Jackson to defend his failed pick of the Patriots by explaining that he picked the Patriots as part of a “psychological game” aimed at enhancing the perception that the Jets were being disrespected, so that the Jets would win the game.
Jackson has explained his explanation to Mike Hiestand of USA Today.
“I was shocked and stunned by Bart’s comments, that they were directed at me,” Jackson said, referring to linebacker Bart Scott’s postgame rant, in which he called out Jackson for doubting the Jets. “So in an effort to make an excuse for the comments, I made comments I shouldn’t have.”
Jackson now says of his pick of the Pats, “[I] thought it could have been worse,” and that he’s “not arrogant enough to think I can affect the outcomes.”
If we assume that Jackson is being honest with Hiestand, then Jackson is admitting that he was being dishonest when he said he was trying to motivate the Jets. Either way, it’s a mess — and now we’re not sure how to properly assess whether anyone who makes a game prediction on a national platform is simply offering up their honest opinion, or whether there’s another agenda lurking beneath the surface.
For Jackson, it’s a small blip on what otherwise has been a stellar career in broadcasting. But it makes us wonder whether others in the media have made picks with that motivation in mind, regardless of whether such tactics ever would be or could be successful.