Did our 'Sam Falls Short' headline fall short of what Sam Bradford deserved?
Did The Oklahoman place the blame on Sam Bradford’s shoulders for the loss that knocked the Rams out of the playoffs?
A handful of readers certainly thought so, citing our SportsMonday tab cover headline “SAM FALLS SHORT.”
One who described herself as an Oklahoman subscriber who “usually” enjoys the paper every day, thought we owed Sam an apology.
Another reader took issue with the cover and Associated Press writer Tim Booth’s account of the game, which focused more on Seattle’s side of the Seahawks’ 16-6 win. Here’s what he wrote to me Tuesday in an email:
“While it wasn’t even his fault that they lost, and seeing as though he took them from a one win team to a six win team and barely missing the playoffs, you and Tim Booth decided to down your home state’s quarterback badly. … Booth’s article only had a total of four sentences talking about Bradford throughout, all four of them making it seem like the game was Bradford’s fault.
“If any of ya’ll would have watched the game anywhere near closely you would have seen the blame should be placed in the receivers hands, not your home state’s own Sam’s. Tim did, however, decide to write that in his last line of the article.”
Both have a point.
I’ll address the headline first.
Sam has been in The Oklahoman headlines since he became starting quarterback at Putnam City North. His parents and the parents of his favorite receiver at North were on the cover of our high school football preview section. He’s big, good and a source of pride for the state every step of the way.
That said, he’s a quarterback and as such he gets more than his share of the credit when his team wins and more than his share of the blame when it loses. There’s no other position like it in sports because there’s no other position that so singularly can determine an outcome.
Sam did fall short. Not alone, but the reason that story was on the cover of The Oklahoman sports section was because of Sam, not the Rams. Still, the headline could have and should have thrown the Rams in there, as we’ve done so many times that I have begun to wonder whether he’s had his name legally changed to “Sam the Ram” Bradford. “Sam, Rams Fall Short” would have worked and addressed at least part of the reader’s complaints. It would have had less impact because the type would have been smaller, but these are the trade-offs worth making sometimes.
(That chucking you hear is from a sports staff used to my frequent request to make a headline bigger.)
As for the other point, anyone who watched the game could see that he need some receivers, badly. The Rams own the 14th overall pick in the NFL Draft and general manager Billy Devaney probably needs to use it to give Sam someone decent to throw to. Oklahomans, feel free to start thinking about the Bedlam connection of Bradford to Justin Blackmon. And if Mark Clayton bounces back from an injury all the merrier.
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