The Mystery Surrounding ESPN And The Monday Night Football Timeouts
A mini-controversy involving ESPN and its possible involvement in the latter moments of last night's Monday Night Football game has steadily gained steam on the blogosphere since this morning.The question: did the Worldwide Leader in Sports ask Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio to use timeouts in the final two minutes of a blowout in order to squeeze in more commercials?The answer (according to them): they did not.The trouble first began late last night, during Fisher's postgame presser. When asked why he was still running the ball late in the game with a 20-3 lead, instead of merely kneeling on the ball and running out the clock, Fisher said:“Jack [Del Rio] used his timeouts. My understanding is they needed network timeouts, and that's why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, 'I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.'"Whether Fisher was joking or not was unclear. Some thought he was. Some weren't so sure. Regardless, people ran with it, and by mid-morning, many blogs were wondering aloud whether or not ESPN had attempted to tamper with a game, an obvious no-no.Still, the whole thing seemed fishy. As PFT pointed out, there seemed to be something a little more going on under Jeff Fisher's mustache.So we asked ESPN about it. Here's what we got, via email.
“ESPN did not directly or indirectly ask the coaches to take a timeout during the game.”The final verdict? It seems as if Fisher's "network timeouts" comment was just a joke with bad timing, and the ensuing loss in translation was enough to get the rumor mill rumoring. ESPN has sway - but even they don't have enough sway to mess with the NFL.Image via Getty-- -->>> Follow Dan Fogarty on Twitter
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