Sunday, September 08, 2019

The "Bias" of Troy Aikman

(Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)
I made the mistake of the watching the NFL today.

For one thing, my love of the league has faded severely. Yes I still love the Steelers, as I have for 40 years.

But there are myriad reasons that I'm struggling with the NFL. The game is wonderful, no question about it.

But the off the field nonsense (Antonio Brown, for instance) has just worn me down. The fact that the Super Bowl has become a glorified (bad) concert drives me nuts.

I'm not a fantasy sports guy either.

It's also a sport whose integrity I've truly come to question (again, Antonio Brown meet Tom Brady).

But still, I'm watching. I'm wearing my 1975 Terry Bradshaw throwback jersey.

I saw the Jets' debacle against the Bills. I saw the Redskins fall to the Eagles.

And, as I wait for the Steelers to (lose) play the Patriots, I'm watching the Giants get beaten up by the Cowboys.

Which is on FOX.

Which is being called by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

Do I need to say any more?

It's the usual...blah blah blah Joe Buck is terrible...blah blah blah Troy Aikman is biased.

There are very few biased announcers on a national level in any sport.

Doc Emrick isn't.
Bob Costas isn't.
Jim Nantz isn't.
Joe Buck isn't.
Al Michaels isn't.
Cris Collinsworth isn't.
John Smoltz isn't.

(I could go on)

And, for the love of God, Troy Aikman is not biased.

Troy is a Hall of Famer. He won three Super Bowls. He beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. He's a Dallas Cowboys legend.

He actually checks off a lot of boxes for me to despise him.

If anyone could have a beef with him, it would be me.

I don't. He's not biased.

But when Troy Aikman calls a Cowboys game with Joe Buck on FOX, especially against the New York Giants, all hell breaks loose.

Because fans are fans, there is an immediate assumption that Aikman is kissing the backside of Jerry Jones and the blue star logo.

Given I probably watch (and listen) a lot differently than most do, I notice these things. I'd be thrilled to tell you that Troy Aikman is biased, but he is not.

I actually think he's a very good analyst.

I read in online how Eli was getting ripped by Troy. To be honest, when he was getting ripped, it was because he deserved it.

Later, Buck and Aikman were discussing the situation Eli is in as first round draftee Daniel Jones is poised to take his job.

Aikman: "I'm pulling for Eli."

Later, when Jones came on in garbage time: "This is not on Eli. He's not the reason the Giants lost. He actually played pretty well today."

Lastly, he added that the Giants are "actually a pretty good team and better than they showed today."

That's not a biased broadcaster.

A Green Bay Packers fan once brought a petition against the Buck/Aikman pairing. It didn't work.

"I don't know if there's Cowboys fan petitions, but I get it from Cowboys fans too, saying that I'm against their team," Aikman told the Dallas Morning News in 2017.

Those who work with a bias are the homers. The hometown broadcasters. Listen to almost any radio call in the NFL and you'll hear it. Gene Deckerhoff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has said "we" when describing the exploits of the Bucs for 30 years. To my knowledge, he's never suited up for the team.

Even Bill Hillgrove and Tunch Ilkin of the Steelers have shown a leaning and I know it.

The percentage of bias at the local level tends to be maybe 60-40 at the local level, but some stretch it. For the record, I think I have little to no bias, but your mileage may vary. I've been asked to not get excited when the other team scores, for instance.

I have no dog in the fight. I actually prefer the Giants over the Cowboys.

Heck I prefer almost anyone over the Cowboys.

But it's our job to put that bias away when in the booth.

Sorry, folks. The easy narrative would be for me to grab a pitchfork and join you.

I'm not doing it because I don't agree with you.

The Giants need a defense. That should be your concern. Not Troy Aikman (or Joe Buck).

Mute the TV and listen to Bob Papa on the Giants' radio call instead.

You're welcome to argue with me tomorrow at 3 p.m. on WGCH.

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