ESPN's Ian O'Connor Confuses His Job Duties With Eli Manning'sS

Did you hear what Plaxico Burress did at the Meadowlands last night? He did nothing. The ESPN.com caption this morning was "Plaxico Burress shines in his first game back in the NFL, scoring a touchdown against the Bengals on Sunday." This is a stupid lie, born of boredom and fraud: Burress's first game back in the NFL, assuming he stays healthy, will not take place for another three weeks. What happened last night was that in the course of an exhibition scrimmage in the pouring rain, for which the New York Jets sold full-price tickets, the Cincinnati Bengals played a soft version of their simplified practice defense, and Burress caught a pass in the end zone.

But it is the duty of the sports press to pretend that this non-event in a non-game meant anything. So: Burress was the key to a newly unstoppable aerial attack from the formerly cautious and ground-bound Jets. Mark Sanchez had a passer rating of 121.5! (Greg McElroy had a passer rating of 122.0. Quarterback controversy!) The Jets, ESPN's Rich Cimini wrote, believe they have " the potential to be the Greatest Show of Turf."

That wasn't even the most delusional writeup in ESPN's postgame package. Ian O'Connor came up with this opener:

Somewhere Eli Manning was watching and wondering if he should have hit the recruiting trail after all. The star he refused to court, Plaxico Burress, was playing in the New Meadowlands Stadium like he played in the Old Meadowlands Stadium, and suggesting for the first time that Eli and friends made a colossal free-agent mistake.

No, Ian O'Connor, Eli Manning was not watching the Jets-Bengals preseason game. Not somewhere, not anywhere. Nowhere. Only maybe on the dusty surface of the distant Planet of Sportswriter Fanfic. If Manning is spending his nights watching junk football exhibitions, the Giants have a bigger problem than remorse over their free-agent decisions.