Television and print sports commentators are paid the big bucks to have big mouths. Understandable. You draw in readership and ratings and then the advertisers and you get paid.
But commentators, prognostication falls flat when it is rooted in misinformation.
Mike Golic of the wildly popular ESPN Radio program "Mike and Mike in the Morning" is one of the big bucks-big mouth commentators.
In handicapping Sunday's Ravens-Chargers game on ESPN at mid-week, Golic figured he was speaking with authority and conviction. But instead, Golic left some Baltimore fans in a tizzy -- stating that the vaunted Ravens defense was in decline based on the Kansas City Chiefs scoring 24 points in the season opener.
At least Golic got the score right, Ravens 38, Chiefs 24.
It was obvious that, even by mid-week, Golic had not taken the time to review the boxscore or game details before commenting so decisively. Golic figured that because the Ravens had given up 24 points to the lowly Chiefs, they would not be able to contain a potent San Diego offense. They may not be able to contain the Chargers anyway, but it certainly would not based on the Chiefs game.
Here are the some of the game facts:
- Chiefs' Larry Johnson, the last player to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens defense in December 2006, finished the game with 20 yards on 11 carries (the average Chiefs' yardage for the game: 1.7 per carry). Golic, that's the defense.
- The Ravens held a 215-56 advantage in total yards at halftime. Golic, seems like good defense to me.
- Kansas City’s first touchdown came on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone. Golic, that's a special teams breakdown.
- The Chiefs offense had the ball for 20:11 in time of possession (in a 60-minute game), were held to 11 first downs for the game, and were 3 of 15 on third down conversions. Golic, pretty good defense.
- Chiefs' linebacker Derrick Johnson returned an interception 70 yards to inside the Ravens' 10 yard line that set up a touchdown. Golic, that was on a pick on Joe Flacco.
Kansas City's one big play of the game on offense was a 50-yard completion to wideout Mark Bradley in the fourth quarter, leading only to a 53-yard field goal. Simply, that play was the Ravens' only significant defensive breakdown in the game. But with QB Flacco and company racking up a team record 501 total net yards for the game, any lucky score the Chiefs had was easily matched by the Ravens' offense.
As a commentator, Golic is one of the good guys. He's sincere, affable, tolerable. He's the "Big Guy," the former player in the "Mike and Mike" phenomenon with squealy co-host Mike Greenberg.
But Golic, watch it. Do your homework. Otherwise, commentators lose credibility.