I'm sure most of the older crowd remembers the Hugh Grant arrest with a hooker in LA the night before he was supposed to go on the Tonight Show. He went on with the Leno interview, and overnight it made Jay Leno the more popular host than David Letterman, which has stuck to this day (which is undeniable even though I hate Jay). I think ESPN jumping the gun on the Bernie Fine story has a lot to do with them feeling like the same overnight demotion that Letterman got after Leno's Grant interview could very possibly happen to them. Consider them vs. NBC right now-
-At no point has ESPN been the one in control of the Penn State coverage. NBC News and CNN have
-NBC was the one who had the Sandusky interview
-NBC owns Versus now and is turning into NBC Sports on New Year's
-NBC has Sunday Night Football, which is much preferable to what Monday Night Football has become
-NBC has hyped the crap out of NBC Sports with their SNF coverage
-NBC Sports has the NHL, which is quickly growing in popularity and is, you know, actually playing. And looking at the major markets- the Bruins are defending champs, the Blackhawks won before them, the Rangers are on a roll right now, the Flyers are consistently competitive, DC has Ovechkin, even the Kings and Stars are doing well and getting coverage in cities with the last three NBA champions.
-ESPN has the NBA, which is locked out and even the most ardent fans don't seem to care
-NBC has the Olympics coming up in the summer, which ESPN has to cover a lot because of a deal they have with NBC
-A gigantic number of people are dying for an alternative to ESPN in the wake of the realignment garbage, all the Favre, LeBron, TO coverage, etc.
We talk about Jimmy B going "all in" with his comments. With ESPN looking for a way to save the demise of their brand and losing their niche market, doesn't it seem like they're going "all in" too?