It is perhaps germane to ask whether the exhaustive and often personal coverage football teams engender is worth the effort. But coaches like Spurrier and the NFL’s Bill Belichick, the Marcel Marceau of non-communicative performance art, have made millions off the football beast that has run amok across the countryside over the last half century—driven in no small part by the commercialized spectacle created by the media. So the price of admission to this exclusive club includes accepting the scrutiny that comes with it. Rare is the question, opinion—or even a comparison to a program that fostered a child molester—that is worth the aggrieved reactions from the coaches.

A common tactic of football coaches to elicit better performance from players is to insist that the athlete “grow a pair.” It’s advice that the coaches would be wise to follow themselves when dealing with the media—the same media that have helped pay for the coaches’ assorted homes, private schools, and watercraft.


Robert Weintraub is the author of The House That Ruth Built. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Slate, and a television writer/producer based in Atlanta.