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NY Jets fans, it’s true: There is announcer bias against your team

Jay Feely, CBS, NFL, Announcer
Jay Feely, New York Jets, CBS, NFL, Getty Images

The Jets have been the most negatively spoken about team on national TV for half a century

Jets fans, you have a legitimate gripe.

The Ian Eagles and Kevin Harlans of the world do, in fact, speak more negatively about the Jets than any other team.

While every sports fan has been howling for years about Joe Buck and Troy Aikman having a bias against their team (Buck in multiple sports), Gang Green fans can say it truthfully, knowing the data backs them up.

An article by Betting.com titled “Bias in the booth – who are the most criticized of NFL franchises?” presents the results of an analysis of over 250,000 plays across 50 years of NFL broadcast transcripts. The Jets came in as the No. 1 most negatively discussed team in the league.

Courtesy of Betting.com, ‘Bias in the Booth – who are the most criticized NFL franchises?’

The article cites the recent controversy surrounding Zach Wilson’s postgame comments after the Jets’ Week 11 loss as a reason that the negative talk won’t go away anytime soon. However, this analysis represented data from across 50 years; it’s likely not specifically sensitive to recent events. This means that year in and year out, the Jets are criticized more often than other teams.

Meanwhile, another much-maligned franchise came out in the top five most positively discussed teams: the Cleveland Browns. This tells you that it’s not just about the quality of play, because Cleveland has won fewer games at a lower rate than the Jets over the past 50 years. Since 1972, the Browns have a .409 win percentage, the third-worst among all teams, while the Jets’ is .433, the seventh-worst.

It remains unclear exactly what criteria were used for positive and negative comments. Presumably, this was done with some sort of word analysis tool rather than people listening to each and every broadcast. Therefore, the methodology would be interesting to note.

Still, the fact that the Jets are No. 1 definitely jibes with everything Jets fans have known about the team’s presentation in the national media. It follows that the national broadcasts would be biased against them, as well.

Maybe some Jets fans want to mute the audio on TV broadcasts and listen to Bob Wischusen and Marty Lyons on ESPN 98.7 FM, at least for those who are in the New York/New Jersey area. Though the syncing is not the easiest in the world, it will likely make for a more enjoyable total experience on Sundays.

Take, for example, Wischusen’s call of the Jets’ miracle comeback against Cleveland (ironically, given this article) earlier this year. Compare that to Spero Dedes’s TV call. Which one would you rather listen to?

So, Jets fans, there’s a reason to keep that chip on your shoulder. The NFL landscape really does disrespect the Green and White. Let’s see if the team can silence those naysayers on the field.

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Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 year ago

I for one put the game on mute. It’s more enjoyable that way for me. I never watch halftimes either. Even in the Superbowl. The last halftime performance That I can remember I watched was Tom Petty and the Superbowl when Bruce Springsteen Played.

Jim G
1 year ago

Thanks for pointing out an analytical basis for my own anecdotal observations.

I remember a dialogue from the last Jets game in the 1980 season. Bob Costas was doing play by play. I don’t recall the color commentator, although I do recall him being quite negative about the Jets performance. When Costas said the Jets will have to continue their rebuilding in the offseason, the color commentator noted there were 3 teams which did not make the playoffs during then decade of the ’70s: the NY Jets, the NY Giants and the NO Saints and he added “no rebuilding program should have to last for a decade.”

I don’t want to validate the negative Jets TV coverage, but we must concede the Jets have deserved a lot of it. From whiffs or comebackers on high draft picks to QB futility to total zeros as head coaches to bonehead penalties, the Jets have been their own worst enemy. Even after the first three games this season I was already losing faith. Remember, in the Browns game if the Browns running back simply went to the ground after getting the first down the Browns could have run out the clock and the Jets would have started 0-3, but brain freeze caused him to try for a TD and it ended up costing them the game. All told, some questionable draft selections, hirings and lack of players development are largely responsible for the Jets’ negative TV coverage.

Nonetheless, I find it shocking that the Cowboys and Patriots are not in the top 5 in positive TV coverage comments. I hear nothing but praise for the Cowboys and mostly praise for the Patriots. And when the Cowboys flame out in the playoffs the first comment is they will be back next year rather than that the clutched defeat from the jaws of victory.

When it comes to the “Commanders” and the Colts, most of the negative press coverage is about ownership, not the coaches or the players. With the Jets, the negative press is about ownership, historically bad coaches and underperforming players.

I do have hope the franchise has turned the corner, is speeding toward playoff relevancy and will be the subject of more positive TV media coverage. It might be fun to revisit this analysis in 5 years.

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim G

I agree, Most of it is due.

1 year ago

Wow, thanks for legitimizing my paranoia!

Seriously though, it would be good to know the metrics they used. I find the disrespect to be more subtle and insidious. The example of Moose Johnson saying we don’t have any “elite” defensive players is a case in point. I don’t know how that statement could be analyzed using keywords by some program and categorized as negative?
Also, the challenge by Saleh on gaining the first down, and the review of the White TD in the Vikes game were both immediately dismissed by Charles Davis (“I don’t know who’s giving Saleh info from upstairs, but they missed this one”).

Since I’m ranting….the spotting of the ball after a play MUST be fixed. It is unbelievable that w/ today’s technology we are still reliant on a set of eyes 15-20 yds from the play, and two poles w/ a chain to determine just where forward progress ended. This affects a game immeasurable w/o ever being noticed. More paranoia, the linesman in the Vikes game, to the left of our offense, screwed us a half-yd or more on multiple plays, including the White TD. For a team that struggles w/ 3rd and short this matters.
Lasers, chips, more cameras…something please!

Last edited 1 year ago by mlesko73
Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

I agree, Technology should play a more prominent role in spotting the ball. That Spotting for the Viking’s was bad.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike Palazzo
1 year ago
Reply to  mlesko73

CHARLES DAVIS IN THAT GAME WAS AMAZINGLY PRO-JETS, TO A POINT THAT I SHARED THAT WITH FRIENDS….He was right about the 1st down (that’s when he said it), he never blasted the White TD review and he was supportive verbally of the Jet’s play all game long.

1 year ago

I am sure bashing a NY team gets high rating. Lot’s of the country has an inferiority complex and loves attacking NY teams.

1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

I agree on the Giants to an extent. they do get more favorable press when they are bad. We have been better than them the last 50 years but they have won super bowls while we have lost 4 AFC championship games. That is the difference. The Jets and Knicks have not won and are easy targets.

Jonathan Richter
1 year ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

The Giants have won 4 SBs in the last 40 years, so hard to complain from an organisational standpoint.