Somehow, some way, I’ve managed to survive working the better part of the last 23 years in the media -about 15 years of that in sports media, here in Pittsburgh- without ever purposely saying something stupid just to get what the bosses love to call “engagement.”
Have I said stupid stuff? Sure.
Have I said stuff I knew would piss people off? Absolutely. It’s part of the job sometimes.
Have I said stuff I knew would get an emotional rise out of listeners just to get them riled up? Yes. Again, all part of the job.
But never in my life have I gone out of my way to take a stupid thought that had manifested itself in my head and not only uttered it once, but then gone about repeating later for another outlet, all in an effort to get “engagement.”
Mike Florio openly postulating that the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t involving George Pickens in their offense so they don’t have to pay him in two years has taken us over the cliff, though.
It’s not just stupid, or incendiary, or indulgent. It’s all three.
Let’s start with stupid. Pickens saw 10 targets on Monday night. He has 17 in two games. More than anyone else on the team. More targets than Najee Harris has carries, for God’s sake. If they’re actively trying to avoid getting him the ball, they’re doing a horrendous job.
Let’s move on to incendiary. Florio knows full well he’s talking about an offense that looks like garbage and needs to improve. No one would argue that. But then he starts down the path of accusing an organization – not just any organization, mind you, but one of just two organizations with six Super Bowl titles – of actively steering the ball away from their most gifted offensive player.
Who’s giving that order, Mike? Omar Khan, so he doesn’t have to negotiate too many contracts the summer after next? No, I bet it’s Mike Tomlin. Or maybe even Art Rooney II. Hell, it’s probably all three, sitting in a dimly lit lounge, smoking cigars, sipping Scotch, and conspiring on how to f--- Pickens out of money. Who cares if it keeps them from winning football games, right?
Finally, let’s put the big bow of self-indulgence on this one. Florio knew he was on in Pittsburgh, obviously. He knows this will get ‘clicks’ and ‘engagement,’ so why not throw a completely and totally cockamamie theory out there with less than zero proof anyone other than himself has even thought about it?
Imagine the retweets, and quotes, and comments, and all of the rage-clicking he’d benefit from!
Why not throw it out there, right, Mike?
“I’m not answering the question, I’m just raising it,” Florio said on PFT Live yesterday when he brought up his asinine idea.
I get it. Trust me. We all do, unfortunately. This is the way of the world now.
If you’ve worked in media for more than fifteen minutes, you know the almighty click is what drives everything. Bosses obsess over pageviews and twitter followers and and a million other factors that have NOTHING to do with putting out quality content. Entire meetings are held asking “How do we make our content more engaging?”
Here’s an idea: Don’t put out idiotic drivel. Put out content that actually prompts people to think instead of just mindlessly mashing buttons on their phone to get the dopamine shot they haven’t had in the last thirty seconds.
Stop feeding in to crap like “I don’t know, maybe the Steelers don’t want George Pickens to be good so they don’t have to pay him.”
Are you kidding me?
Did Florio spend more than five seconds wondering if…
…maybe the Offesnive Coordinator is such a dunce he can’t scheme Pickens out of coverage?
…maybe the quarterback isn’t as good as we all got fooled in to thinking last winter and this summer and can’t get the ball to Pickens?
…maybe Pickens is covered occasionally?
He immediately went to “I bEt ThEy DoN’t wAnT hIm tO bE GooD sO tHEy dON’t HAvE tO pAy hiM!!”
Go search for your “engagement” somewhere else, because I’m not linking to it here, or on social media, or anywhere else. If people want to waste their time and energy searching for brain cell-killing garbage, go for it. Find an Incognito tab so you won’t have to be embarrassed to admit you looked at it later, and go catch up on Florio’s ridiculous spicy takes.
In fact, go take a dive in to the lake of thousand takes. Take a dip with Stephen A. and Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, and huff on that rag of flaming hot thoughts that someone farted out in the middle of the night and decided to hotbox you with.
Just don’t be mad when you end up with the smell stuck in your nostrils.