Will Leitch is the editor of Deadspin, our butch sister sports site, and his book God Save The Fan is now available at bookstores everywhere. He also edited Gawker for about two weeks back in 2005 when he was on the payroll even though no one quite knew what to do with him. He makes a cameo appearance here today to explain the secret code of sports talking heads and writers. After the jump, a translation of a sportswriter's claims to have talked to the coach before the game, and nine other commonplace lies.
1. "I was just talking to Coach Belichick before the game." TRANSLATION: While gladhanding fellow former athletes down on the field for about five minutes, I saw Coach Belichick and nodded. He looked right through me, and then I leaned to a young female production assistant and said, "Yep, that's Coach Bill. We go way back." Then I pinched her ass and told her the best way to make it in this business.
2. "[Player X] has run into some off-the-field issues." TRANSLATION: [Player X] has been arrested seven times in the last year for two strip-club shooting, a domestic violence incident, three DUIs and a broadcast and reproduction of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball." He is also a suspect in the murder of Benazir Bhutto. He sure is having a great game, though, isn't he?"
3. "It's three degrees out there, but the wind chill is 15 below." TRANSLATION: I have no idea what "wind chill" means, but even though I'm wearing a wooly coat in this booth, it's actually heated and quite comfortable. Oh, and we're in a dome.
4. "We'll throw it back to that crazy crew in the studio at halftime. They'll certainly have something to say about this first half." TRANSLATION: Everyone in the studio hates each other; we're gonna need the rest of this half to properly narcotize them so they'll be able to dish out their signature brand of malapropisms. Make sure you check out the hot weather lady in the studio too.
5. "We'll be appearing with Coach Coughlin at a charity golf tournament this May." TRANSLATION: We have no idea what the charity is for, but we really want to meet that hilarious Frank Caliendo guy who does the John Madden impersonations. That's high comedy. I love golf.
6. Of course, print journalists have conventions as ludicrous as those of TV talking heads. "Brett Favre and his wife Deanna have been discussing whether or not he will return to the NFL next season." TRANSLATION: Despite 35 messages on the Favre's home phone, I've never actually spoken to Deanna or Brett. By the way, even though I mention players' wives all the time, I'm fully aware that every player cheats on his wife on the road. In fact, I've cover for them pretty much every road trip.
7. "Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have disgraced the game of baseball." TRANSLATION: My newspaper was flying off the racks during the steroid era, and my editor encouraged me to canonize all the muscular roiders breaking every record. Now that they're old, I've suddenly remembered I'm a "journalist," and am now full of artificial outrage.
8. "Sports bloggers are unqualified, ranting, irresponsible hacks who live in their parents' basements." TRANSLATION: The average sports blogger doesn't cover games, shouts their opinion at high volume, doesn't talk to players and spends most of his time sitting at his desk and promoting himself. Deep down, I know that's EXACTLY what I do at my job, so I hope that if I yell and belittle enough, no one will notice.
9. "(NFL general manager) had an outstanding draft this year." TRANSLATION: (NFL general manager) has planted four items in my column over the last two weeks, and I want that to continue to happen.
10. "My book is being released next month." TRANSLATION: My wife decided we need a new deck on the house, so she talked me into compiling some old dashed-off columns and calling it a "book." It worked; we even have enough left over for a hot tub.