"What the H!" said Chadd Cripe as he pounded his NFL football helmet No. 2 pencil into his desk.
"Inconceivable!" exclaimed Phil Dailey between bites of his egg salad sandwich.
"Apoplections and horror! Woe is the soul that clamoreth not for uprightness!" screamed Dustin Lapray while bandana shopping.
The local media that covers the Broncos are in mourning today now that the Boise State quarterback position has been settled and Bush Hamdan is not atop the depth chart. For the past several months, they have done story after story touting the virtues of the senior quarterback with a heart of gold only to see him fail once again to earn the job he so desperately longed for.
"Loud noises!" said Brian Murphy, trying to fit in.
We imagine the frustration of the local media unfolded not unlike that scene in Anchorman when Ron Burgundy and gang get the news about a woman news anchor. We do not believe they were in the mood to sing "Afternoon Delight," though.
Though few were open to admitting as much, the local media certainly had a crush on Hamdan. They adored his leadership abilities through adversity, and they praised his patience and willingness to wait his turn. During spring practice, summer conditioning, and the first weeks of fall camp, the papers practically sold their readership on Hamdan's being the leader in the quarterback race. Some came right out and said it, like the Press-Tribune's Phil Dailey who declared Hamdan the starter coming out of spring ball.
Others preferred to suspiciously flood us with cryptic headlines.
Hamdan's a natural leader for Boise State
Hamdan 'confident' as he takes aim at starting job
One thing's for sure, the media made it clear which quarterback they wanted.
How could they have been so wrong?
There are a couple theories on this question.
- They simply fell in love with Hamdan.
- They don't know how to watch football.
Let's take a look at Theory #1. The first rule of journalism is to never root for a player, and the second rule of journalism is to never let your affection for a player seep into your stories. Peter King breaks these rules virtually every week with his Brett Favre poetry, so at least there is some precedent.
Bush Hamdan was undoubtedly the Brett Favre to the local media's Peter King. No doubt this happened because there were so many interesting angles to Hamdan's story, and his personality lent itself to feature story after feature story. A journalist might claim that these stories needed to be told regardless of how one feels, but did they need to be told with such personal bias and flowery vocabulary? At times during this quarterback race, the media made it sound like it was Hamdan's inherent right to have the quarterback position. At other times, they made it sound like Hamdan was Mother Teresa in a girdle.
Theory #2 is our favorite theory, though, and to explain how it works, we're going to let you in on a pretty big secret of journalism. Writers and reporters get their jobs because they have good grammar, exhibit strong storytelling abilities, and meet deadlines. Knowing what they're talking about is simply an afterthought.
We fear that this had quite a bit to do with Hamdan's ascent to the top of the media's depth chart. They simply didn't see the same things the coaches saw, even though they were there every single day watching the same exact plays.
Here's what we noticed in about 15 minutes worth of a scrimmage (Note: hindsight is 20/20):
- Bush Hamdan hits open receivers very well. Obviously you want a QB who hits open receivers, but there are going to be far fewer open receivers in big games in college football. Hitting open receivers courtesy of blown coverages or scrambling tells you very little about what will happen in a game situation.
- Kellen Moore hits covered receivers very well. His touchdown pass to Jeremy Childs to close the second scrimmage was starkly different than Hamdan's TD passes. Moore threw a perfect ball in tight, one-on-one coverage for the score. He can hit receivers who aren't open, which is what you need from a starting QB.
- Moore is decisive. He may not always make the flashy play, but he does what he needs to in order to advance the ball and keep the chains moving. He checks down when necessary rather than force a big play.
- Moore feels the pocket like a veteran. We noticed Hamdan taking off too early on occasion whereas Moore seemed to know exactly how long to stay. What did Coach Pete call it? Oh yeah, "instinct."
Here is what the media may have noticed during that same scrimmage.
- If you squint your eyes a certain way, it looks like Bush Hamdan has a halo over his head.
Where's the journalistic objectivity?
Still, the media is having a hard time getting over the loss of Hamdan to the bench. They simply did not see this decision coming, which is both fascinating and sad. Phil Dailey is in shock:
I guess I was dead wrong. I really thought Bush Hamdan would show the Boise State coaches that he had enough this season — at least in the early season — that he was the guy to lead the Broncos.
Brian Murphy is in disbelief:
Consider me a bit shocked. I know that fans have been clamoring for Moore ever since the Prosser, Wash., product arrived on campus. I know that he has looked good, very good at times, during the scrimmages.
But I thought — wrongly — that senior Bush Hamdan had a very, very slight edge in the derby.
And Bronco Nation is happy to not have another quarterback decision tainted by the media for at least the next four years.