Steve Young Still Playing; Associated Press Looking for Editors

Mordecai BrownerAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2008

I first heard about it at 12 PM today.

Steve Young is back in the NFL, he's apparently playing for the Titans, and he spent Tuesday safely at a friend's house eating chicken wings.

At least he's still a quarterback, right?

I've seen more than my share of Internet typographical errors and outright lunacy.  At lunchtime today, when I first saw that the Associated Press had carelessly listed Steve (white, 46, retired for nine seasons, left-handed, Mormon) instead of Vince (black, 25, active, right-handed, not Mormon), I thought nothing of it.

Maybe Steve Young was really born a black Texas boy and his first career was just a lengthy warmup for phase two.  Nothing to even to pause over, really.

Such errors are rather commonplace on this big ball of wires; indeed it's often harder to find a current news article completely free of errors than one sporting a few missteps.

Then, while idly looking at Google's news page a few minutes ago, I noticed the exact same headline, updated a mere six hours ago.

It's nine o'clock in the middle of this great country, where the writer of this article lives and prays the Bears sign any indestructible Steve/Vince Young combo that might actually exist.

I'm no expert mathematician, but that tells me someone actually edited this poor article and decided to leave Steve's name in the headline, and that no one in the last nine hours has sought fit to change it.

If that's what's going on at a bastion of traditional news, heaven help the news business.

Maybe it's an homage to the greatness of ol' No. 8, but in this technological epoch, nine hours makes an eternity, and web articles replicate faster than fruit flies.  Indeed, a Google search for "Agent: Titans QB Steve Young" already generates 3,860 hits.

That's a few more employees than the AP has.  If only one of them had been a viable editor for sports articles this might have been fixed by now.

Maybe Steve and Vince are, in fact, the same person.  Perhaps Steve faked all his concussions only to undergo skin treatments and learn how to throw with his off-hand in order to triumphantly lead his secret love, the University of Texas, to a National Title.  He was quite good, you know.

How does anyone sentient to the sports world make or allow that mistake?  I understand the budget cuts happening in the newspaper industry, but really?  Steve Young instead of Vince?

How does that happen?  And how does it stand at an organization with thousands of employees for nine hours?

It boggles the mind like a "Stevince" (as I've termed the now-unified being) highlight reel.

Am I blowing a stupid error out of proportion?  Perhaps—but it's a stupid error whose origin has no excuse and is now proliferating at a greater rate than most "proper" stories.  Doesn't such a news organization bear some responsibility—if only for credibility's sake—to have someone at the switch before the article goes out to 3,500+ outlets?

The Associated Press has been around over 160 years.  Maybe the ship just wasn't built for high-speed Internet waters, like a galleon still sailing in the days of iron and steam.  Lord knows such a blunder never would last more than an hour on, or even here for that matter, much less be edited and reposted with the same glaring blunder intact.

Ten years ago, this would have been fixed by now.

And now the feed's gone to 3,860 places.  Even if the Associated Press doesn't chug its way into that third century of existence, the evidence of how the ship went down will surely still be there.

Perhaps I'm making too much of a simple typo, but making too much of something is exactly what the Internet is for.  Possibly I'm reacting to the Bleacher Report chip implanted in my brain, commanding me to write a hack article emphasizing the importance of editors.  Or perhaps I'm mourning the loss of standards at a major news organization, wildly taking this one event as symptomatic of broader troubles.

Stevince Young would shed a tear, but he's too busy prepping for the pregame show for his own game, where he'll run for 200 yards and catch 34 of his own passes to defeat the Cardinals 56-0, during which he'll get a concussion, develop odd behavior, and make the postgame show truly entertaining.

Thank goodness for the Internet, which allows him to exist.