There’s never been a sports journalist who enjoys “coach speak.” That annoyance can become anger if another journalist is the reason “coach speak” is what you get whenever you ask a question. We’ll never know if that’s what happened when New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll didn’t tell Pam Oliver he was benching Tommy DeVito for Tyrod Tayler after halftime on Christmas, but it’s beyond fair to wonder if what Charissa Thompson and Erin Andrews recently revealed played a part in it.
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DeVito had been the darling of New York football for weeks. For some reason, people found it cool that a grown man was proud that he still lived at home with his parents as his mother cooked his food, made his bed and did his laundry. The other reason is due to him being the football version of “Linsanity,” as he was a hit with Giants fans after taking over for an injured Daniel Jones. But after going 9-for-16 for 55 yards with his team down 20-3 at the half, he was benched.
“Just tried to spark the team,” said Daboll about his decision during the postgame press conference. “I don’t really have anything else to add to that. I just did it to try to spark the team.”
Daboll announced on Wednesday that Tyrod Taylor will start against the Rams on Sunday.
However, this isn’t about what Daboll said after the game. It’s about what he didn’t say during it. And wondering if what Thompson and Andrews said was in the back of his mind. It’s speculation. But it’s also fair game.
“Pam, this is news to all of us at halftime seeing Tyrod Taylor take over for Tommy DeVito. What have you found out?” Fox’s Joe Davis asked Oliver about the quarterback change, according to a report from Awful Announcing.
“Well, I had a lovely conversation with Brian Daboll – he uh, kept it from me,” Oliver said. “But it turns out, it’s just a coach’s decision. Guess he’s not satisfied with DeVito’s performance. DeVito still continues to throw and warm up on the sideline, but he’s out.”
The very first comment from some idiot on X (formerly Twitter) under that video clip reads, “I thought sideline reporters just made stuff up anyways.”
“I’ve said this before, so I haven’t been fired for saying it, but I’ll say it again. I would make up the report sometimes because A., the coach wouldn’t come out at halftime or it was too late and I was like, ‘I didn’t want to screw up the report,’ so I was like, ‘I’m just gonna make this up,” Thompson revealed last month on a podcast.
Thompson would go on to reveal — on another podcast — that she made up a report in 2008 covering a Detroit Lions game. Andrews added, “I’ve done that, too,” for “a coach that I didn’t want to throw under the bus because he was telling me all the wrong stuff!”
This is what happens when your privilege gives you the confidence to be narcissistically brazen about being bad at your job because you know you won’t lose your job.
The damage was done. People were rightfully pissed, and some will remain that way for a long time. In a world where a former president made the term “fake news” the lazy trope to use whenever people disagree with/want to undercut facts — making many distrust journalists — a difficult job was made even harder.
But, here’s the kicker — Andrews was the one who replaced Oliver as FOX’s top sideline reporter in 2014.
“It’s not difficult to notice that the new on-air people there are all young, blond, and ‘hot.’ That’s not to say that Erin isn’t capable. I think she’s very capable. She’s also popular on Twitter and social media, so I can see how that would also make her highly sought after,” Oliver wrote at the time in an essay for Essence Magazine. “Still, covering the NFL is a big deal. Stations like ABC and NBC entrust their programming to veterans. So when people talk about all networks making a turn to a particular type of girl on the sidelines, it doesn’t hold water.”
When Brian Daboll decides who will start on Sunday, I hope he breaks the news to Pam Oliver.