ESPN’s Tom Jackson has Lost all Credibility

After ESPN's Tom Jackson admitted he picked the Patriots to beat the Jets in order to "fire up" the Jets he lost all credibility (Photo Courtesy: ESPN MediaZone)

After the Jets dispatched of the favored Patriots in the AFC divisional round of the NFL playoffs, Jets linebacker Bart Scott sounded off. Scott started his long post-game rant with, “To all the nonbelievers, especially you Tom Jackson!” aiming his displeasure at the ESPN analysts 30-10 prediction favoring the Patriots.

In an interview on ‘Mike and Mike in the Morning’, Jackson admitted that his prediction “was done premeditated.” The former Pro Bowl linebacker and longtime ESPN NFL analyst’s true intention was to “play a bit of a psychological game with the Jets” and “fire them up”:

“I certainly knew they had a chance to win, and I thought they certainly might win the game. But I know that when they saw 30-10 that I think they would be reminded of what most people were feeling, and I know that they needed to be a little bit angry going on the field.” – ESPN NFL Analyst Tom Jackson on Mike and Mike in the Morning

Jackson has officially lost every ounce of the credibility he built since joining ESPN in 1987. How can he be trusted at his word? Next time he critiques a player is that really what he sees and believes or is he trying to motivate them? The next time he talks up a team is he trying to give them a false sense of hope?

Jackson used the audience as a pawn to serve his own agenda. He used his vast influence and the power of ESPN in an attempt to affect the results of a game because he “knew that they [The Jets] needed to be a little bit angry going on the field”.

This is the very definition of narcissism. His intention wasn’t to educate the audience by giving the best of his knowledge and experience, he tried to motivate one team over another. He lied to you.

“I hope that he [Scott] realizes that I am actually a fan of the Jets and of Rex Ryan and of that defense,” added Jackson.

When you watch ESPN you shouldn’t have to think about who the analysts like or who they don’t, you should be able to trust analysts are telling the truth as they see it.

If Jackson was saving face and didn’t like being called out by Scott after having made a wrong prediction, to backtrack like this is akin to a recent controversy at the New York Times. Columnist William Rhoden wrote a piece titled ““The Day the Patriots Empire Began to Crumble,” which went online the morning of December 6th. When the the Patriots defeated the Jets 45-3 later that evening Rhoden rewrote the article and toned down the criticism he had heaped upon the Patriots.

The New York Times determined that they “let down readers” and apologized, ESPN should follow suit. The NFL might want to take a long look at this as well, the last thing they want is the impression that the media is trying to manipulate results.

Either way he’s lost me, I just can’t trust him at his word anymore.

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Article by Brian

Brian Clapp is the founder of, the richest online resource for aspiring sports broadcasting professionals. Before launching Sports TV Jobs Brian worked for multiple sports networks as a Writer, Producer, Video Editor and News Director. Everyone knew he was destined for a career in sports when he started sneaking out of bed to watch Celtics games when he was seven. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn Brian tagged this post with: , , , , Read 81 articles by
8 Comments Post a Comment
  1. pam says:

    great points Clapp. he should have to explain for what he said and ESPN should too. thats really embarrasing for the world wide leader.

  2. pam says:

    great points Clapp. he should have to explain for what he said and ESPN should too. thats really embarrasing for the world wide leader

  3. think says:

    My only question to you is, when did you ever trust Tom Jackson? This is the same Tom who years ago stated the Patriot players “hate their coach”. All this because Belicheck released Lawyer Milloy. When Milloy was picked up by the division rival Bills the very next year. The Bills blew the Pats out in the first game of the season. Tom’s premise was that Bill had lost the locker room because he let go a veteran. By the way the Pats bounced back to win the Super Bowl that same season.
    Tom Jackson has proven on more then 10,000 occasions that he has no clue or credibility when it comes to his job. He stated when Randy Moss was let go by the Pats that he would not be missed. Then after Sunday’s game he insinuated that the Pat’s needed a deep threat in that game. This is AFTER he praised Bill the entire season for trading Moss. These guys have a script given to them by the NFL’s “brass” and the producers. He got called out on national television for the first time, and quickly had to run for cover. I would hope more players stop kow towing to the media. Hall of Fame votes are not that important, IMO.

    • Brian says:

      Thanks for the comment Think. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to analysts quite often. Thier job description is to have an opinion (based on fact/experience) before an event, so they are going to be wrong plenty of the time. You’re right he’s been wrong more than his share of times, but I always expected his words were honest and at least what he believed to be true.
      When he predicted a 30-10 win for the Patriots as part of his “psychological game with the Jets” he knowingly lied to his audience AND tried to insert himself as a factor in the game! If I’m the NFL I am not happy about this, and as a fan/journalist I’m downright mad.

  4. think says:

    Tom Jackson has a contempt for any player and/or coach who does not act like Bill Parcells. He got caught up in the percieved “genius” of Belicheck. Tom was not attempting to motivate anyone. He was simply being Tom. A guy who believes the “old” way is the right way. Coaches should be dictators not friends and motivators. Players all over the league want to play for Ryan. And Ryan does not kiss anyone’s back-end. Tom felt the Jets were new money, while the Pats were “blue bloods”. Don’t believe for a second he was just trying to inspire the Jets. He was SIMPLY being Tom. SIMPLE TOM.

    • Brian says:

      Thanks Think -
      Either way he comes out looking foolish.

      If he believed the Pats would win 30-10 and then backtracked when he was proven wrong (and Bart Scott called him out for it) well thats foolish. If he intentionally lied to his audience in a lame attempt to inspire the jets to “play angry” because “he knew that is what they needed to do” - well that is foolish and insulting to his fan base (which may in fact be dwindling)

      The simple answer - he should have told the truth, and then stuck to his beliefs.

  5. Claire says:

    In defense of Tom (go ahead, I can take the flames…)he is one of the most articulate, knowledgeable analysts on ESPN. His prediction of 30-10 was not such a far stretch as you indicate. Didn’t the majority of the analysts pick the Pats?
    Most viewers were surprised by the Jets’ performance, especially in view of Sanchez’s inconsistent record this year.

    Doesn’t Ditka always go with the Chicago Bears, even when they are outclassed? Isn’t that a way to motivate them also?

    Much ado about nothing - must be a slow sports day…

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