Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Sign Of Media Mediocrity

Yet another bizarre turn of a phrase by a sports journalist. Today's example focuses on an article on the upcoming NFL draft and the New England Patriots. You remember them, right? The team that, only two seasons ago, posted only the second undefeated regular season...ever. Yes, they lost the Super Bowl to the Giants on the backs of an aging defense and a fluke play, but they won more games than any other team in 2008.

The quote (and first line of the article):
"Bill Belichick has a shot at his second straight solid draft after two years of mediocrity."

The definition of "mediocre:"
not very high quality; average or second rate

Um...help me out here. In 2008, they had an undefeated regular season, and won more games than any other team in the league. Last year, they overcame the loss of their superstar QB, turned a player who had never started a game in college or the pros into a bona fide sensation, and missed the playoffs with a better record than 2 other teams who made it in because they play in weaker divisions. And this makes the New England Patriots "average" or "second rate?"

I'm a Cowboys fan, and, while I hail originally from New England and have a soft spot in my heart for the Pats (have you seen the gorgeous throwback uniforms they will wear twice this year?), I can't find any way to describe their performance over the last two years as "mediocre." Did they go 8-8? That would be average. No, they didn't. 9-7. Uh uh. They went 18-1 and 11-5, respectively. 23 teams out of 30 had worse records than they did last year, and only 5 had better. Mediocre? Seriously?

Like I have said before, you may cover sports, but you are still journalists. If you insist on using the English language to communicate your journalism, at least use the right words. Your beat may not be covering legal matters, politics, diplomacy, or Ivy League schools, but you can still use a dictionary.


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