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December 08, 2021

Eytan Shander: Minshew Mania is waste of time, if you watch football you know why

Opinion Eagles
120421GardnerMinshew Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Gardner Minshew doesn't have a gigantic hand. It's just closer to the camera than the rest of him.

Gardner Minshew is a waste of time. Everything about his presence in Philadelphia is a time-wasting exercise in futility. When it’s all said and done, we will look back and laugh at the fake mustaches and mullets to see that it was all just to beat the Jets.

Before we go any further, you need to make an honest assessment of what type of sports fan you are. Who you are as an Eagles fan is one thing, but this is about sports in general. How much do you watch the league in which your favorite team plays?

No, seriously. Answer the question. 

Do you watch the late games in the NBA after the Sixers are done? Do you stick around for the 4pm games following the Eagles? Are you watching the NHL or MLB playoffs to see what better teams are doing? If the answer is no, then you are part of the problem and I’m sure helping to fuel the flames of ignorance.

The good news is that you aren’t the ringleader – that’s reserved for the “media,” as people like to call out in anger and frustration. My esteemed colleague John McMullen barely mentioned the radio aspect of how bad this whole Minshew Mania became – but that’s not his world first and foremost, so let me expand.

The reason why we have QB controversy number 999,999 in this city is because of radio. John Clark isn’t pushing some narrative about benching Hurts for Minshew, neither is any other leading sportscaster on TV.

You know who also isn’t driving home the push for Minshew over Hurts? Jimmy Kempski. Is there an article on here that suggests it? Of course not. Give it a day or two and the contrarian columnist somewhere else who is suffering from low volume will throw out the bait, but this is the anomaly. Compare that to what you’ve heard over the past three days and counting on the radio. Why? Because laziness is rewarded – it always has been.

Go back to my original question about watching other teams outside of Philadelphia. Listen to the radio and tell me with a straight face that anyone outside of Anthony Gargano and Devon Givens can intelligently speak on non-Sixers basketball. It’s because they have a passion for the game, but also care about being informed when it comes to trades, the draft, and just storylines. It’s also why you don’t hear hot takes on Simmons trades coming from them on their respective shows.

The majority of people hosting radio shows don’t need to watch the Bills play the Patriots. They’ve done their homework watching the Eagles, knowing they can kill their four hours jockeying phone calls on the Birds and their QB controversy. It’s as simple as coming up with a topic that will light up the phones, then having mini conversations to get to the end of the show. The more ridiculous the caller – or host – the more callers. Callers beget callers and anything like rational thought will just get in the way.

But we had tons of data for decades that showed callers make up at most 4-5 percent of the listening audience. It’s why you hear the same callers on so many shows. The harsh reality is that not many – Angelo included – could do a four-hour radio show without a single phone call. Angelo is the most successful – by a mile — host in the city, and still relies on callers to the point where he needs to give out prizes as incentive to call.

Understanding the mindset behind how radio shows are built, what do you think is going to suffer the most when a host is struggling to think of a “caller-driven” topic? The topic. Content dies on the radio. Fast forward to this week, and we have show after show push the QB controversy. We know the Eagles are king, but when there’s Eagles drama it’s even bigger. So, hosts are told to play the hits. The best way to do that is hit people with the lowest common denominator topics that usually result in “this or that” type shows.

Ultimately the radio is doing shows for 4-5 percent of the people listening, which is as bizarre as it is problematic. But let’s not let you off the hook. The WIP morning show is one of the most successful sports talk radio programs in the country and history of sports talk radio. This isn’t because of salary or the type of guests they get, it’s because people tune in and listen.

I love it because I don’t take it seriously. I take the host and cast seriously, their prep and the time they put in. But I don’t take the schtick seriously to the point where I’m repeating what they say about Minshew. There is a far from subtle difference. But you are to blame for allowing this to continue as much as the people on the radio providing the service are to blame. I can’t imagine how things will sound the next day if Hurts struggles and the Eagles lose to Washington. Repeating satire as truth doesn’t happen if you understand other teams in the NFL.

Here’s the simple solution; watch more football. Nobody in their right mind who has been paying attention to the Jets would use that game as any barometer. Especially for how Minshew’s passes mostly came about against that awful Jets defense. It’s absurd to think that because Minshew came in one game – against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL – and played better than Hurts did the prior week, Minshew now is the starter. To push that on a platform makes even less sense!

There’s no room for any nuanced discussion on social media or during a 70 second phone call on the radio. But there is everywhere else. No, nearly all fans, TV, digital/print, podcast/stream media didn’t push a QB controversy. But the radio sure as hell did.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK 

Raiders (+9.5) at Chiefs

We hit the under in the KC/DEN game last week and it makes me even more confident in the Raiders covering this week. I don’t like the Raiders to win this game outright but do recognize their desperation. This is the last shot for the Raiders to stay alive in the division, and they will be super aggressive against the Chiefs defense. Derek Carr can throw downfield much better than Teddy Bridgewater. The Chiefs may be “back” as a team, but their offense still struggles. They still make a ton of mistakes – from drops to penalties – and they are not to be trusted. Raiders +9.5.

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Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes and Eytan (Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.)

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