Sure it made for good copy when Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote back in April that "The Falcons just blew it" by drafting Matt Ryan. Did he think that wouldn't come back on him?
Not likely, thanks to Real Clear Sports, which keeps track of such things in its annual Top 10 Erroneous Columns post. We mentioned this in Morning Blogdome, but think it needs to be emphasized. Moore's little gem, which appeared on April 26, came in at No. 4 (applause), and also included the graph: Matt Ryan? Not a brutal pick for the Falcons at No. 3 overall in the NFL draft on Saturday, but it was far from brilliant. Mediocre comes to mind, and so does this thought: If Michael Vick wasn't officially gone before as the face of the Falcons, he is now.
Ha. We also have Scoop Jackson at No. 7, with his immortal "Kobe Bryant will not win the MVP," Ashley Fox of the Philadelphia Inquirer at No. 6 for "McNabb's Reign In Philly Is Likely Over," and one of my all-time favorites, at No. 3, from Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post:
"It would be a hell of a story, the Rays finishing ahead of the Red Sox, ahead of the Yankees. A hell of a baseball story. A hell of a Cinderella story. Too bad it isn't going to happen ... It's just not logical to assume they can keep it up for eight more weeks while fighting off these two teams. It's not practical ... They are a good story. Easy to root for. And...just a week or two away from seeing a couple of blurs zip by them in the passing lane."
No. 2 is the most hilarious of all, and the author of No. 1 will not surprise you, being that it's Jay Mariotti.
Writers go out on limb like this, of course, because it makes them sound smart and decisive, and they figure no one is going to keep the paper around long enough to check on their accuracy. But then along came the Internets, and hilarity ensued. One of my favorite tragic columnist predictions actually occurred on the radio, however. It was November of 1995, when the 49ers were about to play the Cowboys in Irving. Steve Young was out with multiple bruisings, which meant that the estimable Elvis Grbac would be starting at quarterback for the 49ers.
That Friday, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ira Miller was a guest on KNBR radio, and when asked what the Niners' chances were of winning, replied, "Zero." Host Ralph Barbieri wondered how an NFL team could be given no chance. "How about one percent?" he asked. "No," replied Miller, emphatically. "They have absolutely no chance of winning this game. None."
Of course the 49ers led 31-7 at halftime and won, 38-20. And I so I learned never to predict anything in any form other than smoke signals or disappearing ink. The SI cover below is for you, Ira, wherever you are.
Top 10 Erroneous Column Predictions Of 2008 [Real Clear Sports]