One of the now-departed Rosenthal’s lasting contributions to PFT (he ain’t dead, he just doesn’t work here anymore) comes from a term he coined.
It refers (for those of you who actually need an explanation . . . then again, based on the quality of some of the comments that could be a larger demographic than I realize) to conflicting reports and/or opinions from two or more of the many talking heads employed by the four-letter network based in Bristol. And, for the first time ever, the term “ESPN-on-ESPN crime” can be trotted out in connection with a report that, if true, represents an actual crime.
On Monday, right after ESPN’s John Barr was touting the new allegations of eight-year-old eavesdropping by Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis, ESPN’s Bill Polian explained that the suggestion that Loomis was listening to opposing coaches and somehow transforming it into a tangible benefit made no sense.
On Tuesday, Polian explained on ESPN that he has since spoken to Loomis, and Polian offered an opinion on whether the report is accurate. “It was a friendly conversation and in the interest of full disclosure, we are friends,” Polian said. “Bottom line, he told me that he never listened to any communication of any kind in his booth, other than the commercial radio broadcast, which is very common for most General Managers or assistant General Managers.”
Asked by the host (sorry, the names and faces blend together), “And you believe him?”
“I do,” Polian said.
In other words, Polian doesn’t believe John Barr’s source. Which means Polian doesn’t believe that Barr’s report is credible.
Which means that ESPN has a bit of a problem right now.
“There’s a huge piece missing here for me,” Polian said. “I can’t see how they could have gotten information that would have been of use to them.”
Barr’s report doesn’t attempt to explain how Loomis would have turned the information into something that would have benefited the team. Barr and/or his editors easily could have asked Polian (or other current and former General Managers) to explain how the information could, or couldn’t, have been used. Barr and/or his editors easily could have asked former NFL coach and executive (and current ESPN employee) Bill Parcells for information regarding the potential uses by a G.M. or intercepted conversations among a coaching staff.
They didn’t. And so until Barr or someone else at ESPN properly refutes Polian’s doubts with an unequivocal explanation from a coach or a G.M. (and ESPN has plenty of them on the payroll) regarding a specific manner in which the information allegedly harvested by Loomis could have been used to the benefit of the Saints, a dark cloud will remain over the dark cloud that Barr has tried to wedge among the dark clouds already hovering over the Saints organization.
Finally, we don’t want to hear (again), “Of course they had a use for it or they wouldn’t have done it.” The fact that there was no apparent use for the information directly undermines the credibility of the report, which apparently comes from a disgruntled employee who for unknown reasons squatted on the information for nearly a decade.