In one of the most self-serving, over-the-top, ridiculous interviews in sports history, Tom Jackson had the cojones to claim that his forecast of a 30-10 win by the Patriots over the Jets last Sunday was a "psychological game" that he was playing with the Jets. Jackson states in a very smug and condescending tone that his pick was ever-so-secretly designed to "fuel" the Jets to beat the Patriots.
Here's a link with the full extent of Jackson's comments, which were made to the uber-gullible Mike & Mike in the Morning show on ESPN:
I'm not trying to copy NESN and SportsGrid.com here (SportsGrid is where the video resides), but I am hoping to take the article a bit further than NESN was willing to do.
First off, shame on Mike & Mike for not pressing Jackson a bit harder as interviewers. I recognize they all work for the Master Control Program, but to not ever cast the slightest bit of doubt on an absurd claim shows they're not journalists—they're entertainers, just like most of the rest of ESPN.
Second, ESPN analysts have been very poor about impartiality in recent years. They've openly rooted for particular teams in particular events (the NCAA tournament in 2010 is one such contest). And if they want to do that, that's fine. But then say you're not giving analysis, just your opinion: don't cloak it in impartiality.
Third, ESPN should stop making picks. I have been watching football for 35 years, and never once have I seen or even heard of an announcer trying to say afterward that he really didn't believe his incorrect pick and that it was made to send a message to the other team.
Fourth, and most importantly, Tom Jackson is an embarrassment. I recall when he stated that the Patriots "hated their coach" for getting rid of Lawyer Milloy after losing to Buffalo 31-0 to start the 2003 season—a season when the Patriots went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl. Players commented that Jackson had no idea what he was talking about.
Now, Tom Jackson is trying to take some measure of credit for the Jets' win through his incorrect pick of the Patriots. If the Jets needed Tom Jackson to motivate them, they would have no chance. Tom Jackson was embarrassed to be called out on national TV and has concocted this unbelievably self-serving nonsense to give himself importance that he does not possess.
There was no shame in being dead wrong on this game, many people were. But, to then claim he is some sort of Machiavellian mind master, pulling the mental strings of the Jets with his pick, indicates an inflated ego and a complete lack of shame.
Tom Jackson, don't make any more picks. But, if you do, have the guts to stand there and admit you were wrong later.