This is Sports Journalism?

I do enjoy ESPN’s Bottom Line, especially their newest feature, The Lead, which depicts the top stories of the day in 6-8 word snippets. Much to my chagrin, the “top” story a few days ago was the following:

“Romo Vows to be Better Leader”

I don’t even know where to begin, frankly. That isn’t a sports story, I’m sorry to say. Particularly not one in January, about a quarterback whose team failed to make the playoffs after some of the loftiest expectations in the NFC. Todd Archer, the Dallas Morning News reporter who penned this landmark piece, should seriously consider touring the amateur tiddlywinks circuit over sports journalism.

What’s next, I wonder?

Rookie Flacco Considers Switching to Two-Ply After AFC Championship Loss

Pittsburgh, PA – With head in hands in the visitor locker room below the hostile confines of Heinz Field, all Joe Flacco could do was second-guess. Following the Baltimore Ravens defeat at the hands of the surging Pittsburgh Steelers, the young quarterback was asked the biggest factor in the game. The four sacks given up by his usually-reliable offensive line? The three costly interceptions, including one that was returned 40 yards for a touchdown by All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu? The crowd noise? According the Flacco, none of the above.

“The cheap (expletive) toilet paper that my girlfriend bought,” confessed the rookie with no shortage of emotion. “This is twice now that she has gotten that tissue-paper thin stuff, man. I haven’t been able to sit down comfortably in two weeks. It played a huge role in today’s outcome, no question about it.”

His teammates seemed to agree: “Joe just didn’t look at ease during the game, at any point,” mentioned veteran receiver Derrick Mason. “He was constantly scratching himself and wincing in the huddle. That ain’t what you want from your field leader, you know?”

It is unclear what brand of toilet paper was purchased by Flacco’s live-in girlfriend to stock their one bedroom, Inner Harbor apartment in downtown Baltimore. One thing is certain, however: those sandpaper squares may well have cost the Ravens a trip to Tampa.

“I promise you this,” pledged Flacco, “we’ll be back next year, and I’ll be having a talk with Christina.”

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