9:26 am Sep. 17, 2012
Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?
We've been doing this weekday column now for more than two years. (Recently one reader said that his rough estimate was that the Post has won 289 times, the News 160.) We changed the format recently, and now, in response to something a few readers have asked for, we're thinking of producing the column as an email.
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In pretty much any game that involves two teams, a ball, and people running around, you can decide, if you want, as I did sometimes as a kid, that if everybody forgets about defense for a while you can have a totally fun if inelegant and uninteresting game of ball.
Big, epic passing plays won the day yesterday for the Giants, with Eli Manning racking up 510 yards total, giving his team the win. It was a sloppy, drunken affair at Broadway Station, the bar in Astoria where I was watching the game, but the careless, sloppy fun was really radiating outward from the television screen. The air smelled like french fries and ketchup, and both teams, when they had the ball, were acting like they were playing against the pro-football version of the Bad News Bears.
"AIR FORCE WON" read the Post, but it was a passing game all around; that's what put the Giants in the hole early on, after all, against the Buccaneers. But the Bucs were playing bad college football (as both coach Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning were happy to tell the reporters after the game) and pretty much forced the Giants to play the same game. The dek on the Post reads "Eli throws epic 510-yard game," but in a really good game he'd never have had to.
Somehow all the drama was lost on the News though. With a picture that looks like another frame in the same shoot of Manning's scary victory-scowl, all the News can come up with is "Mann, oh, Mann." It makes me think that editor Colin Myler still wishes football were football, that he was putting Saturday's Stoke City v. Man City on his front page instead of this.
It sure was a sloppy sports weekend. And Myler saves the day for his paper with "FOUL BALL," the headline they chose for the story of a couple that had sex in the men's room at Yankee Stadium during the third inning of the Yankees game Saturday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The couple kept going at it long after it must have been clear that a crowd had gathered and was watching them over the walls of the toilet stall where they were getting intimate. Deadspin published photos and a video of the event, and the fact that the News has to put a giant baseball over the man's gyrating buttocks with the word "CENSORED" across it does not detract from the, er, news value of the story.
On the internet, sexual congress among drunken fans has been a meme for ages, of course; it rarely makes the front page of the local paper, but I'd hazard a guess as to why it did this time. There are no faces visible, so nobody really feels bad about publishing the photos and video everywhere; and at the same time the parts that are visible, with the exception perhaps of the woman's visibly damaged long stringy hair, are all perfectly attractive ones, so the grossout factor is purely moral and not actually physical.
It's worth mentioning probably that the News features an explainer of what will happen when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority revokes all the bonuses they have been giving riders who put lots of money or time on their MetroCards. Here is the explanation: The bonuses all go away.
And both papers have either bits of text or tiny strips explaining to us that the Jets lost this weekend.
On a sloppy fall sports Monday there is little really to recommend either paper. But for my money, Yankees bathroom sex gets back all the eyeballs lost by the terrible "MANN, OH, MANN" headline; "AIR FORCE WON" isn't one for the ages after all, is it? Listen kids: Sex sells.
Winner: Daily News.