PTI Has Been A Little Hard on the Buckeye State
They say March comes in like a lion, but more recent incidents indicate that November comes in like a Bengal. Only in this case, this particular feline is a harmless, de-clawed and de-fanged creature.
It was on the first of November that ESPN hosts started taking shots at Cincinnati's professional football team, fresh off a loss to the 1-6 New York Jets.
“I know better than to put my confidence in the Bengals,” said Michael Wilbon on the episode of Pardon the Interruption. “But the Jets were so bad, and they had a rookie quarterback making his first start, that I penciled in Cincinnati by eleven.”
Wilbon was discussing Jets quarterback Mike White, who the day before had made his first career start. White promptly dismantled the 5-2 Bengals, establishing record offensive numbers for QBs in their first starts.
“Joe Burrow told us (last week) the ship had turned around, but instead of a 180 it must have made a 360,” said PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser.
Apparently not content with ripping Cincinnati, the hosts then extended their criticism to include the entire state of Ohio.
“Once again, just like with the Bengals, I know better than to take the Browns,” Wilbon said during a discussion of Cleveland's loss to Pittsburgh the day before. “Two or three years ago I bum rushed anybody who picked the Browns for anything, because the Browns were a clown show.”
While giving Northern Ohio's professional football team some credit for making the playoffs last year, Wilbon immediately returned to lambasting them.
“They beat the tar out of the Steelers a few weeks ago, and then they lose to them at home,” he said. “And now they've got this controversy with Odell Beckham and Baker Mayfield.”
“I don't want to hear about the Browns making the playoffs,” said Tony Kornheiser.
“Browns and Bengals get out!” shouted Wilbon heading into a commercial break.
“You obviously hate Ohio” said Kornheiser.
ESPN's verbal abuse toward the Buckeye State continued on Election Day, when the BCS seedings were announced. The undefeated University of Cincinnati, ranked number two in most polls, were designated as the sixth seed and therefore left out of the championship series.
Both hosts of PTI agreed that Cincinnati should have been left out, and they also admitted being content with Ohio State missing out on the opportunity to play for the College Championship. According to Wilbon and Kornheiser both Cincinnati and Ohio State had played lackluster games over the weekend, even though each one notched yet another victory.
Wednesday brought further teasing at Ohio, as the Cleveland Browns had dismissed wide receiver Odell Beckam from practice a second straight day. Wilbon poked fun at Cleveland's staff, hinting about how inept the organization had always been.
When the Browns promptly released Beckham the next morning, neither Kornheiser nor Wilbon really apologized for the previous day's criticism. They would by Monday grudgingly compliment Cleveland for its lopsided win the day before, but they downgraded the success by taking more jabs at Ohio. The team Cleveland had beaten so thoroughly, as the PTI hosts were quick to point out, was Cincinnati.
If the sports network thinks so little of Ohio, they should never have sent their College Game Day crew to the University of Cincinnati on Saturday. And the hundreds of thousands of fans who showed up at Nippert Stadium for the ESPN broadcast should have instead of stayed home, taking a stand against a TV network that enjoys making fun of the state of Ohio and its various sports teams.