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Entries in Media (15)


Nike Fails In Bid To Write The Future


Cup Quarters Devoid Of
Stars From Glitzy Mega-Ad

One Great Season

When Nike unveiled its three-minute Alejandro González Iñárritu-helmed World Cup "Write the Future" mega-ad, one thing amidst all the pageantry appeared just slightly out of place: Ronaldinho, prominently featured in the spot, didn't quite make the Brazil squad. It seemed a gross miscalculation on the Swoosh's part, considering the fading Milan maestro hadn't been picked for the Selecao since April 2009. But as the big names rolled out and the cameos piled up, there perhaps grew a sneaking suspicion that this first failure, emulated so pointlessly by Kobe Bryant, would in fact prove a sign of things to come.

And it wasn't just Ronaldinho. Theo Walcott, after all, missed out on a place in the England team, never to be the target of a misplaced Wayne Rooney pass, the most painfully prophetic aspect of the whole video. A week prior to the tournament, Didier Drogba, the first bold-faced superstar we see, suffered a broken elbow in a friendly against Japan, throwing his availability into question and ultimately spiking his influence. And France's Franck Ribery has had a few months to forget: he missed Bayern Munich's Champions League final for a reckless tackle in the previous round; arrived in South Africa under investigation for sleeping with an underaged prostitute (he faces up to 3 years if convicted); reportedly played a key role in locker room divisions and the sad mutiny against coach Raymond Domenech; and did next to nothing on the field.

EXTRA: Complete World Cup Coverage From One Great Season

These players suffered their misfortunes before the commercial ever aired. Others had to wait until they laced up those fancy purple and orange boots.

After a series of geriatric showings led to a group-stage elimination, it's safe to say that Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro won't be getting the C'e Capitano treatment from Bobby Solo and his sequined band of flying figurantes and cartwheeling dudes in wifebeaters.

Patrice Evra was apparently in it, too. But blink and you'll miss him, just like at the World Cup. His most notable contribution was to lead the aforementioned French mutiny against the man who'd named him captain.

Rooney at least made it to the Round of 16, though he failed to score and, I imagine, will fail to be knighted. But let's not bet against him throwing a lager bottle through his bedroom mirror. And while Cristiano Ronaldo did manage to put one run on the board in that 7-0 boxscore over North Korea, the people of Portugal may have to lay that giant statue on the ground if they want to truly commemorate his performance at this World Cup.

Indeed, it looked for a fleeting, glorious moment that Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, awarded a whopping split-second joint cameo, would turn out to be the unlikely success stories of the ad. That is, until a Kevin-Prince Boateng wormburner and some shifty Scouser strumpet killed that dream.

All that's left are three envious Spaniards: Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique. But Cesc might want to pick that paper back up as he'll need something to read while riding the bench. The latter two, however, are enjoying a fantastic World Cup, and have so far emerged as the only players worthy of such glitzy apotheosis.

So go ahead, write the future, fellas. But the way it's going, that future will see Paraguay in the semifinals.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup 2010: ESPN Releases Viewer Ratings


USA-England Match
Most Watched USMNT
Game Since 1994

One Great Season

ESPN released some weekend World Cup ratings details Monday night. Here are a few key takeaways:

+ ABC's telecast of the United States-England match was the most-watched World Cup first-round match among households and viewers, and the most-viewed U.S. Men’s National Team game since 1994. U.S.-England enjoyed a 7.3 rating. The two-hour match window (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET) averaged a 7.3 household rating, 8.4 million households, and almost 13 million viewers.

+ Through eight weekend matches, ESPN and ABC averaged 3 million households and 4.25 million viewers – up 75 percent and 80 percent, respectively, from the first eight games of the 2006 World Cup (1.7 million and 2.4 million viewers).

+ The most-watched game from Sunday was ABC's Germany-Australia debacle – a 2.8 household rating, 3.3 million households, and 4.7 million viewers, while Serbia-Ghana delivered a 2.3 household coverage rating with 2.2 million households and 3 million viewers earlier in the day on ESPN.

Below are the top five most-viewed FIFA World Cup telecasts (1994-present):

1. U.S.-China, Women's World Cup Final (ABC, 7/10/99) – 18 million viewers (11.4 rating)
2. Brazil-Italy, World Cup Final (ABC, 7/17/94) – 14.5 (9.5 rating)
3. Brazil-U.S., World Cup Round of 16 (ABC, 7/4/94) – 13.7 (9.3 rating)
4. Italy-France, World Cup Final (ABC, 7/9/06) – 12.0 (7.0 rating)
5. U.S.-England, World Cup First Round (ABC, 6/12/10) – 10.8 (6.1 rating)

Click here for Mike's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup Notes: More France-Hate, Nike-v-Adidas & The Name Game

World Cup 2010 Logo

One Great Season

So you remember that World Cup Pub Crawl we put together last week? Well, at least one of those bars was proud to offer a free pint to everyone in the bar for every goal Uruguay would have scored against France on Friday. But the teams battled to a 0-0 draw, so no freebies were poured at Connolly's On Fifth in Charlotte.

The France-hate -- or at least this most recent case of it -- stems from Les Bleus' qualifying game against Ireland last fall. Thierry Henry committed a painfully obvious handball in the box that went uncalled and led to a France goal, allowing the French to escape with the victory over Ireland, and a spot in the World Cup.

Connolly's is an Irish pub, and a manager there named Jimmy told OGS in a telephone interview Monday morning that "even if France goes all the way to the final, we'll offer a free pint for every goal against them in every game."

The Parlour, an Irish pub in New York, also offered a round for all in attendance, but Uruguay's failure to find the net yielded no free vodka shots. The bartender who picked up the phone at about 10 a.m. Monday chose to give only one-word answers, but for those wondering whether freebies are possible for Thursday's France-Mexico game, "yes," the same offer will apply, she said.

NIKE DELIVERS AGAIN: Perhaps more than any advertiser in the world, Nike is known for its big-budget, high-energy, creative and colorful campaigns that in recent years have taken on the feel of movie trailers. I fell in love with the "Fate: Leave Nothing" ad featuring footballs stars LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu two years ago. And this year, the David-Koechner narrated "Nike Air" spot was genius throughout its 210-second entirety.

But the Swoosh may have outdone itself with its World Cup effort, a three-minute marathon released en masse Friday called "Write The Future." Football stars Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo appear in Wieden+Kennedy's latest masterpiece, directed by "Babel" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

The spot shattered Nike's record of viral video views set this year with the surprisingly weak "Earl and Tiger" ad that earned 6.3 million views in its first week. "Write The Future" registered 7.8 online looks in its first week. At the beginning of this writing, it boasted 15 million views, but by now it's probably at 16 million.

Nike VP Trevor Edwards told the ad "is among the best we've ever done."

ADIDAS EARNS ITS STRIPES: At first glance, it may look like Adidas borrowed some gloss from Nike's Beaverton, Ore., corridors, but the German outfitter went a step further on the fun front in its own latest spot.

Sports fans, pop-culture addicts and geeks alike likely rewound their TiVOs several times Saturday afternoon upon the launch of Adidas' Star Wars Cantina ad. Snoop Dogg, David Beckham and slightly less A-list Jay Baruchel make cameos in this very slick two minutes of visual goodness. Daft Punk and Noel Gallagher also appear.

Back in February, a Huffington Post reader shared an impromptu clip of Snoop, Darth Vader and a couple dozen Stormtroopers parading through the streets of New York's SoHo district.

LET US HAVE SOMETHING: A few of us were gathered at Steve Susi's OGS World Cup Auxiliary Headquarters on Manhattan's Upper West Side when the Adidas spot debuted and we couldn't stop howling. Then this conversation unfolded:

Steve: "It's not three minutes, but second for second, that was way better than the new Nike ad."

Cath: "Something like that will always turn you men into giddy little boys."

Darian: "We don't have 'Sex & The City.' Let us have something."

INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL 101: Specially marked diving areas? Marigold cards, instead of yellow? And a goalkeeper's hands bursting into flames? If you're new to soccer, this very helpful diagram from The Onion will get you caught up.

THE NAME GAME: Want to know what your name would be if you were a Brazilian football star? No need to wonder; find out right here. PS-Mine would be Wiseto Santos.


Older White Guys Know What's Best For LeBron

LeBron James

Middle-Aged Writers
Need To Stop Posing

One Great Season

Aahhh, to be 25. Most have been out of school for a few years -- or in my case, a few months -- some have already earned a promotion or two at work, others are still trying to get a foot in the door, and still others are tending bar in New York or Los Angeles waiting for agency calls about the next audition.

Whatever the goal, 25 is a great age to be working toward it. You're old enough to be smart enough, but you're young enough to still have everything in front of you. At the very worst, you can still live cheaply with mom and dad while you get your situation sorted, and then go confidently in the direction of those dreams.*


+ PLEASE STAY: An Open Letter To LeBron James
+ TELEVISION: How ESPN Ruined The Cavs-Celtics Series
+ LEBRON JAMES: How Great Is He?
+ WHO'S BETTER: Kobe Or LeBron?

You've got friends aplenty and perhaps a healthy social life. You hit the bars with the fellas on Fridays and take out that pretty girl on Saturdays. Life is largely care free.

But what if your name happens to be LeBron James? What was Friday night like for him, just 24 hours after his season and perhaps his career in Cleveland ended? While most of us don't have any idea how he kicked off his weekend, the entire sports world seems to know what will be best for him come July 1.

A quick Google News search of "LeBron James" turned up 11.1 million results, the most recent of which was a Tim Cowlishaw column headlined, "What Exactly Is LeBron James The King Of?"

What I absolutely hate about sportswriters is their ugly habit of building people up only to tear them down without any regard for the fact that they were the ones who slid in the pedestal in the first place. Am I the only one who sees the joke, in this case at least, isn't on LeBron James but on Tim Cowlishaw?

What's even more ridiculous than the Cowlishaw piece -- and I typically like his columns and think he's usually the most logical of the "Around The Horn" gang -- is that there are plenty other middle-aged white men who seem to think they know what's best for a 25-year-old black superstar athlete whose currently facing a decision unlike any these sportswriters have had to make in their professional lives. And of the biggest decisions these guys have had to make, none has done it under the microscope by which King James has found his every move and syllable examined for the better part of a decade.

I'm obviously aware the role of a sports columnist is to write about what people want to read about, and if you can present your opinion in a way that elicits debate (read: sells papers or online subscriptions or at least generates page views) then you've done that job well.

By participating in the LBJ conversation on Twitter for most of the last week, I was reminded how many LeBron haters are out there. Is it because he operates dog-fighting rings or sexually assaults teenage girls or simply possesses an ornery personality like some of his colleagues? None of the above. Shoot, he doesn't even taunt his opponents.

The hate stems from his gift, his basketball greatness that causes the very writers who cover him to do what they do with all larger-than-life icons: they saturated us with a new definition of hyperbole.

And if the media thinks that's what its readers and viewers want, then I can stomach such overkill for the most part. But maybe the language these guys use could sound a little less sanctimonious. Instead of "he should do this," perhaps try "he could do that." Why would anyone other than LeBron claim to know what's best for him?

In the same breath that writers acknowledge LBJ's quest to further his global brand and become a post-career billionaire businessman, they criticize the absence of rage in his post-game press conferences after the Game 5 and Game 6 losses. "I didn't see any fire from him. He should have been mad as hell," I heard from a white TV analyst in his 50s the other day. "He just doesn't get it."

No, sir, you and your colleagues might be the ones who don't get it. You want a pro athlete half of your age, a young celebrity who's led a life nothing like yours, to react to losing a sporting contest the way you think you would.

The reality is that while we can have a good time speculating with friends over beers what we'd do if we won the lottery or if Charlize Theron walked into the bar, but none of us has any idea what it's like to be one of the most recognized superstar athletes on the planet. We surely don't know how we'd have reacted after those last two games against Boston, and we're definitely clueless about what will happen on or shortly after July 1.

Write about his game all you want, talk about what NBA insiders will be telling you all summer, but stop pretending to know what's going on inside the mind of a man you will never ever be.

(* = paraphrasing Thoreau, of course.)


OGS Interview On HereWeGeaux

One Great Season

Chad Potier runs a joint called HereWeGeaux and yes, he's an LSU fan. Don't hold that against him; he's a good dude who's trying to breaking into the sports blogosphere. He invited me on for an interview on his weekly podcast, and it all went down last night. If you missed it, it's right below. It's 30 minutes long, so there's your fair warning, but well worth the listen:


Kornheiser's Comments Inappropriate, But Accurate

Tony Kornheiser, Hannah Storm

One Great Season

By all means, Tony Kornheiser should have been suspended from his excellent show, "PTI," for his remarks about Hannah Storm.

And while Kornheiser will be the subject of many conversations the rest of the week -- on television, the radio and especially the blogosphere -- one thing will get lost in the shuffle.

Though his comments were inappropriate and hurtful, they were 100 percent accurate.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Does Hannah Storm Dress Appropriately For Television?

Storm has no business wearing many of the outfits she wears. But we'll never know whether she just shows up in anyoldthing each weekday morning to do "SportsCenter," or if her employers might offer up the occasional verbal nudge for her to push the envelope with some of those form-fitting numbers. And don't even get me started on her frosting-fueled finger fellatio last summer.

Once Fox News realized it had a mega-hottie in Megyn Kelly a few years back, did you notice how her morning show with Bill Hemmer started to use more wide shots? There she sat on the set with the handsome Hemmer, but all eyes were fixed on Kelly's long, thin, brown legs, straight out of a Nair commercial, just perfect enough to prompt a priest to kick out a stained-glass window.

I get that television broadcasters use the sexy if they can, but have we forgotten about moderation? Storm's cake-suck effort and other similar behaviors have no place on live professional television. If anyone wasn't sleeping off a hangover Sunday morning, perhaps you caught her sexy red dress on "Sports Reporters" of all venues? Does anybody even think about credibility anymore?

The very self-aware ESPN, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader In Sports, should certainly know its sports-addicted male audience still would be loyal if Storm, Sage Steele and Cindy Brunson worked elsewhere. Personally, I think Steele is average at her job and Brunson is worse, and with their makeup cakes and hurricane-proof hair, neither looks anything like a woman I would ever see in real life.

But apparently they rate well, so it's on with the show. Quality script-reading and skillful set banter be damned.

So, ESPN, if you're reading, let's make a deal. You use less of the sex appeal and skimpy outfits and I'll promise to enjoy "SportsCenter" a little more.

Are you following me on Twitter? @onegreatseason | @johnpwise


The Top 10 Play-By-Play Men In College Basketball

Brent Musberger

One Great Season

Wednesday we looked at the best television analysts in college basketball. Now it's time to consider the sport's top play-by-play guys, again, in no particular order:

Brent Musberger -- Whether it's a Saturday in the fall or any winter weeknight, he's no short of awesome.

Gus Johnson -- I'd much rather listen to him call the next 20 Final Fours than Jim Nantz. No one's energy is better than Johnson's. He's outstanding for March Madness.

Kevin Harlan -- Though most of his best work is done on NFL and NBA broadcasts, his reactions to big plays are absolutely perfect for the excitement of March Madness. "Eeeeeasy rider" and "With no regard for human life" come to mind.

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Verne Lundquist -- Much like Musberger; it doesn't matter if the ball is round or oblong, I'll listen to any game he's calling.

Dick Enberg -- He was at his best on NFL Sundays with Merlin Olsen, but I'm glad CBS lets him drop an "Oh my" or two every March.

Tim Brando

Tim Brando -- Proof he's a good broadcaster? He's busier than George Michael in a public restroom. The man gets a lot of gigs.

Ron Franklin -- Pushing 70 and still going strong, Franklin is partly why I've developed a crush on the Big XII the last decade or so.

Brad Nessler -- His folksy charm sounds Southern, but he's actually a Minnesota guy. Few tandems are better than when Nessler and Jimmy Dykes team up.

Dan Shulman -- Smooth, steady and knowledgeable, he gives ESPN a nice, calm balance sitting alongside the sport's biggest cheerleader, Dick Vitale.

Mike Patrick -- Patrick is to the ACC what Franklin is to the Big XII. Each has had an odd, on-air moment the last few years, but overall, these are two of ESPN's best and longest-serving veterans.

Also receiving consideration: Terry Gannon -- Hard to figure out his path, what with all the figure skating and other bad gigs, but when he gets a good game, he's always up to the challenge.

Would never receive consideration: Jim Nantz -- Rehearsed -- yet still weak -- lines like "The mecca of college basketball is in Storrs, Connecticut" and "You can leave it to Cleaves" after the 2004 and 2000 national championships make it hard for me to like him.


The Top 10 Analysts In College Basketball

Clark Kellogg

One Great Season

When you're young, you watch your favorite teams on television and you don't think of much other than whether your Cavaliers, Buckeyes or Bearcats won their games over the weekend.

But you get a little older, and suddenly your dad starts talking to you about those who call the games on TV and radio. And then you eventually find yourself talking about those play-by-play guys or their color partners as often as you talk about the games themselves. The broadcast has become as much of a game these days as the buzzer beater, the highlight-reel dunk and the final score. And of course the post-swat bicep flex.

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Consequently, we can't help but develop strong opinions about the talking heads, so I've come up with a Top 10 list of basketball analysts -- in no particular order -- for you to contemplate:

Clark Kellogg -- The Sade of college hoops analysts. He was once the best analyst in the game, but seems to rely on the same tricks he used five or 10 years ago. Still a smooth operator, though.

Doug Gottlieb -- Wish he did more games, but he's splendid in the studio. Always has excellent insights on both the game and many of its excellent players.

Bill Raftery

Bill Raftery -- What list would be complete without him? No one can pull off "Send it in, Jerome", "The kiss" or a high-pitched "Tootsies" the way Raft can. He's a college basketball staple.

Seth Davis -- A lot like Gottlieb. Smart, young, good-looking and always has strong stuff to share.

Jay Bilas -- Kind of a poor man's Kirk Herbstreit. I'm not crazy about his commercials, but he, too, is smart, and ESPN's Big Monday trio of himself, Raft and Sean McDonough always is entertaining.

Hubert Davis -- I think where many analysts shy away from speaking critically, Davis can be candid and I applaud him for it.

Steve Lavin -- The academic of the bunch. He and Brent Musberger often team up for ESPN's Big Ten tilts, and though he's half Musberger's age, Lav can drop a half-century-old pop culture reference better than any of his peers. Also observes the game well and articulates it intelligently.

Jimmy Dykes -- Seems like Dykes is the only one who regularly gets his hands dirty in the field before a broadcast, and whatever his angle is, it's always right on. Just last night, 5-foot-9 South Carolina guard  Devan Downey switched from a waist-high dribble to an ankle-high dribble to beat a defender in the Gamecocks' upset of No. 1 Kentucky. Earlier in the day, Dykes and an ESPN camera crew got some alone time with Downey and shot from interesting angles the high-scoring guard's very effective high-low bounce.

Stephen Bardo -- Doesn't do much glamorous and might not have an authoritative voice, but he's steady, knowledgeable and has made great improvement the last few years.

Len Elmore -- Hard not to love watching the Big East Tournament every March with the New York native on the call in his own backyard.

Also receiving consideration: Dick Vitale -- I don't hate him like many fans do, but he's a little too much of a cheerleader. In his mind, every coach is among the best in the country. He hasn't said anything critical since the days of Lawrence Funderburke, and that was a hot-mic-during-a-commercial accident. But overall, he and his passion are great for the sport.

Would never receive consideration: Digger Phelps -- Has cornered the market on talking and saying nothing. The only thing I hate about the month of March is hearing Digger say, "get it done" at least 400 times.


OGS Featured On FOX61 In Hartford

One Great Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- FOX61 technology reporter Rick Hancock was nice enough to interview me this week about the OGS project. It aired on the Hartford station Friday morning. You can watch the video below:


VIDEO: FOX19 Morning Show Appearance

One Great Season

CINCINNATI -- I once tried to start a line of sportswear about a dozen years ago.

I always kept a box of hats and shirts in the trunk of my car, because you just never know who you might see walking across the Roebling Suspension Bridge as you're driving by on a busy weekday afternoon.

But despite a hectic traffic scene, I pulled off to the side when I spotted FOX19 anchor Rob Williams, popped the trunk, grabbed a shirt and introduced myself to the local celebrity and gave him the shirt, hoping he'd rock it at the gym and give me a little brand recognition.

Like many of my hair-brained schemes over the years, however, make*a*move failed as a line of sportswear, but what did succeed was my ability to stay in touch with people, and Rob was gracious enough to offer to interview me when I sent him my pitch via email last week.

So here's Tuesday's interview with Rob Williams. You can tell I'm getting more comfortable with these otherwise nerve-wracking events, as I can only count one and a half nose twitches during the entire segment.


OGS Gets Some More Media Coverage

Mark Podolski is a sportswriter for The News-Herald in Cleveland. He added a small nugget about my project a few weeks ago, then called me back last week to tell me he wanted to write a full-length feature story.

That story got published in today's editions. Click here to read it.


Cincinnati Enquirer Column

One Great Season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- I spent most of the 1990s freelancing sports for The Cincinnati Enquirer, and was fortunate enough to have made the acquaintance of John Erardi.

In fact, when I got my very first opportunity to do something for the Enqy, it was around 1991 when I sat in the press box at Riverfront Stadium, shadowing E, as they call him, and he sent me down to the locker room of the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves after a late-season defeat of our hometown Reds. I got some quotes for E, and as an eager college kid, also got to come home and tell my roommates that I spoke to Terry Pendleton and even saw Deion Sanders goofing around with pitching coach Leo Mazzone in the clubhouse.

E is still too young to be referred to as a legendary sportswriter, but has been around for a while and has accomplished enough to be considered one of the finer scribes in the country. He's written several books about the Cincinnati Reds, and is always an easy and enjoyable read.

He called me Wednesday and interviewed me for more than an hour, a very thorough and at times entertaining conversation. And then in Thursday's Enquirer, here was the very nice piece he wrote about the One Great Season project.


WLKY NewsChannel 32 Interview

One Great Season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Many of you have been getting bombarded with e-mails, Facebook notes and Twitter updates about the latest story I've posted or the most recent media interview I've done.

I'm sorry to constantly deluge your inboxes with self-promoting stuff, but being an independent, one-man band, if I don't pimp the One Great Season project, who will? Thanks for understanding.

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On that note, below is the video of an interview I did in Louisville on Sunday night. WLKY NewsChannel 32's Keith Farmer was nice enough to invite me on his weekly "Sports Sunday" program, and he let me talk about the OGS tour for about five minutes. Thanks Keith! (And thanks also to Fred Cowgill, whose black blazer I had to borrow because when I arrived at the studio, a torrential downpour soaked my blue shirt underneath.)

If you can't play the clip in the player below, click here to watch it on right now.

One Great Season Interview from johnpwise on Vimeo.


FOX28 TV Appearance

The fine folks at FOX28 here in South Bend were nice enough to let me come on their morning show and talk about the One Great Season project. Here it is:


I'm On The Radio

Oklahoma radio station WWLS, TheSportsAnimal, interviews me about the One Great Season project on Wednesday at 1:30 CT. Listen here (and if it doesn't load right away, it might be in a commercial break):