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A Look At The National Media’s Coverage Of The Deshaun Watson Saga

The more they can stoke the flames, the more attention they get.

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

With all the hoopla surrounding Deshaun Watson versus Cal McNair/Jack Easterby, the number of “(insert national NFL media figure here) goes crazy over Deshaun Watson situation” articles, op-ed pieces, and YouTube videos is off the charts. NFL fans (whether you’re a Traveling Texan, Battle Red Diehard, or you root for one of the other 31 teams) are all buying in because everyone short of Chiefs fans would love nothing more than to have Deshaun Watson quarterback their team. For guys like ESPN’s Steven A. Smith, who has made a career out of turbo-charged pot-stirring, this storyline is tailor made to keep him busy. The more personalities like Smith that can fan the flames of discontent in Houston, the more viewership/readers they get and the more their earning potential rises. None of them care one iota about Deshaun, his family, the McNairs, or any of you developing ulcers over this storyline.

Notice how the exaggerated tonal inflections of Max Kellerman set the tone for this segment. Before long, they’ve descended into yelling and gesticulating like a bunch of overserved fans in a sports bar, minus the alcohol.

Enter Adam Schefter and Randy Moss, throwing more fuel on the fire. Funny thing is, Moss is actually fairly mellow here, but whomever wrote the title to the video had to overplay for ratings:

These people get paid to talk about the NFL’s current events. There isn’t much bigger than one of the best quarterbacks in the league blasting his owner and team management. It’s so big that even the possibility of J.J. Watt getting traded or released isn’t getting air time because of the Watson saga.

To be fair, there are a lot of valid points in these commentaries, Cal McNair has failed Watson multiple times.

  • Gutting the roster by total mismanagement and no clear path to rebuild quickly.
  • Not firing Jack Easterby.
  • Telling Watson he will be involved in the GM search and then not involving him in Nick Caserio’s hire.
  • Failing to at least interview all of Watson’s preferred head coaching candidates.

These are all cardinal sins. If things are not past the point of no return, if this relationship can see new light, pot-stirring from the media won’t help. If the Texans want to repair their relationship with their star quarterback, there are several things that ought to happen.

  • Cal McNair needs to make amends.
  • Nick Caserio needs to lead with integrity.
  • Jack Easterby needs to resign.

Unfortunately, the world we live in has been conditioned to crave strife, drama, and negativity. The NFL, no matter how you look at it, is entertainment; the players, owners, and team personnel are all characters in a live story playing out before our eyes. Deshaun Watson is Luke Skywalker. Cal McNair’s is the Emperor. Conflict generates revenue. The more viewers who tune into some rant or hot take on ESPN or the NFL Network, the more beer advertisers pay to put their product in front of fans. Having a happy ending to this tale doesn’t serve that agenda.

But, maybe, just maybe, Eric Bieniemy and Nick Caserio can ride in to save the day. Or, maybe the Texans let the best thing that’s ever happened to this franchise slip through their fingers and they become the Detroit Lions, rebuilding since 1958.

One thing is for sure: Until this ends (and probably for some time after it) the Texans are national news, and talking heads are going to fan those flames for all they’re worth.