Sports reporters have long been blasted for pursuing homerism that roots for the home team rather than journalism. So it’s interesting to look at the alternative realities of a Register-Guard v. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Rose Bowl match up of next day coverage.
The two papers’ reporters largely covered the game-ending spike by watching on TV like everyone else.
Here’s the R-G coverage by Rob Moseley: “The Badgers were unable to spike the ball in time to stop the clock, after using their timeouts much earlier in the half than they would have liked ... The Badgers tried in vain to stop the clock but couldn’t, as the replay review confirmed.”
Here’s coverage in the Pulitzer Prize winning Journal Sentinel by Jeff Potrykus:
“UW hurried to the line of scrimmage and Wilson spiked the ball with a second left but the referee ruled time expired. A video review upheld the call and the game was over ... ‘I knew there was two seconds left on the clock,’ Wilson said. ‘As soon as the referee blew the whistle, I snapped it and spiked it. I didn’t think there was any way that two full seconds ran off the clock there.’”
“Bielema vexed by a few of officials’ calls,” Potrykus reports in a second story quoting the Wisconsin coach.
The Wisconsin paper reports that in the first half: “UW lost 13 seconds on its final possession of the first half and thus lost an opportunity to try for a go-ahead score.”
In the second half, the paper quotes the Wisconsin coach: “Basically what happened was, I know his foot touched the line,” Bielema said. “It gets down to an issue of where the ball is. I was trying to get a read from my sideline official if we could review forward momentum. He didn’t understand the question where I was at, and that’s why they charged me a timeout.”
But the Wisconsin paper’s columnist Michael Hunt blames the coach for the loss: “for Wisconsin to blow a second consecutive Rose Bowl in basically the same freakish way it dropped two games in a 2011 season that now seems completely wasted in the aftermath of the 45-38 loss to Oregon, that is hard to forgive or forget. Bad things don’t happen to talented teams like UW on sheer randomness. They happen because of a lack of preparation and poor coaching decisions.”
Meanwhile, R-G columnist George Schroeder ignores all this and revels in victory with the man who paid for it all: “‘It’s very, very special,’ said the biggest fan and benefactor, Nike founder Phil Knight.”