As I watched today's edition of ESPN's 1st and 10, I was not at all surprised to see Skip Bayless insult the program's guest, Chad Ochocinco, while failing to substantiate most of the remarks he made.
Skip Bayless has often been known for being one of the more vocal contributors to ESPN's programming, but I must say that I was quite disappointed to see how he carried himself on today's episode of 1st and 10.
Sadly, I expected him to be rude and disrespectful, but even I was surprised to see the arguments he brought to the table in an effort to make a point at Ochocinco's expense.
I had a feeling that he would decide to take the route of insulting rather than discussing, as he continued to criticize Ochocinco in a number of areas.
It should also come as little surprise that he failed to substantiate his remarks or provide evidence to support his criticisms.
What I am now going to do is break down what Bayless has said on 1st and 10 so we can take a closer look at his accusations.
"I used to be a big fan of yours, right? Going back three or four years ago. But over those past few years Chad, you have lost me because you have lost all perspective on what should really matter to you at this point in your NFL career and that is leading a team to the playoffs instead of your over-the-edge self-promotion of Chad Ochocinco."
What I would like to know is exactly how Bayless (who has no real relationship with Ochocinco) can suddenly read his mind and come to an accurate determination as to what Ochocinco's true perspective really is.
He claims that Ochocinco has lost perspective in regard to "leading a team to the playoffs."
Bayless makes no mention regarding the quality of support that the other 52 men on the roster have provided, as he instead decides to blame Ochocinco for what he feels his true perspective to be.
Allow me to bring some facts to the table.
Below is a list of where the Bengals' defense has ranked each year since Ochocinco joined the Bengals in 2001:
Now while I'm no mathematician, it clearly appears to me as though the quality of support the Bengals have been getting out of a unit that comprises 50 percent of their chances of victory has been poor at best.
What I would like to know is how many teams have achieved great success with a defense ranked 22nd overall?
Furthermore, I'd like to know how well (on average) a team with a defense so poor does year after year.
But in this case, Bayless has concentrated his focus on finding blame with the franchise's most productive player of all time.
He continues his evaluation of the situation...
"And that run away self-promotion Chad has kept you from becoming the great player and I think the great leader that Michael Irvin was for those three Super Bowl teams in Dallas because I think you have that much talent, that much charisma to be a team leader in a game, Chad, that you have no idea is actually the ultimate team game."
Bayless then said, "As you have written in your upcoming book, you live on planet Chad. You are all about twitter. You've closed your account now, but that's what you're about. Your big U-Stream, Live-Stream, whatever it is. You are about Chad and your teammates know it and it keeps your team from becoming the team that it could have become."
Essentially, it is Bayless' belief that Ochocinco is not the leader that Michael Irvin was in Dallas.
Now while I don't want to speculate as to the intent he had while making that remark (because speculation seems to be Bayless' specialty in this particular instance), I would imagine that the fact that the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s won three Super Bowls is a big part of why Bayless used Irvin's leadership as an example.
I would like to know how successful Bayless feels that Irvin would have been if he played for the poor Bengals teams that Ochocinco has had to play for.
I would also be curious as to how well Bayless would feel those 1990s Dallas Cowboys would have played if they had Ochocinco in Irvin's place.
I mean this as no low-blow to Michael Irvin, but Skip Bayless didn't appear to feel that Irvin being charged with cocaine possession and arriving to court in a full-length mink coat had any impact on his leadership qualities or his ability to not distract the team.
Meanwhile, Ochocinco's use of Twitter and decision to wear a Hall of Fame jacket as part of a touchdown celebration are more than worthy of his criticism.
Bayless continued to add...
"Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice never promoted themselves and they were much better players than you ever hope to become. Right now Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, they do not promote themselves, you don’t hear much from them because they do it on the field.”
While comparing Ochocinco to a Hall of Famer who played 20 years ago might prove to be rather difficult, Bayless feels that Irvin was much better than Ochocinco could ever hope to be.
Meanwhile, he offers absolutely nothing to substantiate that claim.
He feels that Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald don't promote themselves because they perform on the field.
I got news for you, so does Ochocinco.
With the exception of last year, which went bad for a number of reasons, I see little difference between the Chad Ochocinco of 2008 and the Randy Moss of 2006.
Productive players are all the better when they are surrounded with teammates close to their caliber and organizations able to succeed.
As great as Fitzgerald has been for the Arizona Cardinals, how well did he succeed in "leading his team to the playoffs" prior to last season?
The reality of the situation is that Fitzgerald has been an amazing player stuck on a very poor team (prior to the end of last season, of course).
Bayless appears to adopt the popular belief that we should blame one of a team's most productive players if he is vocal when the team falls short of success. It's much easier to blame one player than an entire defensive unit, for instance.
If the Bengals' offense was paired with the Ravens' defense, would we even be having this discussion?
Bayless' performance on 1st and 10 should come as little surprise, although I don't find it any less disappointing.
So long as members of the media continue to push these misconceptions down the throats of their massive audiences, we are going to continue to have masses of people adopting various beliefs without any ability to substantiate their accusations.
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