1:54 pm Oct. 15, 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?
SPORTS SEASON: We're in the pro-sports sweet spot now, with the Yankees in division playoffs and the Jets and Giants at Game 6, so the tabloids almost always have an easy cover ready if they want one, especially on Monday. It's a little boring though, isn't it?
The ostensive "news" from football is that both the Jets and Giants won handily yesterday; the Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts 35-9 and the Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers 26-3.
The real news from the day of football to my mind is the mind-boggling fact that the Jets are now tied for first place with the New England Patriots. Last season began as a season of big hopes and then petered out, and my sense from Jets fans was that this one was going to be worse.
But after a thrashing by the 49ers two weeks ago and devastating injuries to two of their best players, the Jets seem to be settling into a fun-times underdog role, playing reckless, entertaining, Tebow-inflected football that's actually kind of fun to watch, and effective enough to have them at 3-3, along with everyone else in their division.
Coach Rex Ryan pretty much stated the premise, talking about the Jets' upcoming game against the indignantly 3-3 Patriots: "Right now, we’re looking up at them,” Ryan said. “But, here we come. I don’t feel like tugging on Superman’s cape today but maybe tomorrow.”
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow!
Anyway, there isn't much to relate from the game except maybe that Mark Sanchez was surprisingly in the background.
So why, you may ask, is he on the front page of the New York Post? He shares the space with Eli Manning; the two are placed side by side with a clumsy black cloud between them that is devouring Sanchez's right arm.
"2 GOOD" is the uninspired headline; "Giants, Jets romp in victories."
I'm not sure how much more sense "RUNAWAYS" makes, but that's the big white headline on the front of the News today, with a much more expertly done photo collage of running backs Shonn Greene and Ahmad Bradshaw. "Who needs Luck?" reads one of the deks below, a reference to rookie-stud Colts quarterback Andy Luck, who had little of it against the Jets.
And then there were the Yankees. They were victimized by a bad call by an umpire and Derek Jeter was sitting out with his broken ankle, but they would have lost anyway, the way they've been hitting against the Tigers, which is to say not at all.
They get a little more play on the front of the News, which puts a strip across the top of the page today with pitcher Boone Logan, head in hands, and a picture of Jeter looking gravely at the camera as he leaves the hospital, all under the headline "YANKS DOWN AND OUT." The Post goes for a thin strip at the bottom: "TIGERS MAUL HURTING YANKS IN GAME 2."
Observations: It's a bit of a tradition at this time of year, when the Monday tabloid covers are really just Sports covers masquerading as general-interest reading, to take a look inside the paper to see if this was really the best the tabloids could do.
I fear it was. There's nothing really in the Post that could have made the front; closest are the death of Arlen Specter (too national and too nerdy); daredevil Felix Baumgartner's supersonic dive (good photography at least, right? But overexposed); and possibly, if they'd decided to own it, the Obama campaign "in real trouble," which they devote pages to in the middle of the paper (including a tenuous charge that Hollywood is "abandoning" Obama based largely on some quotes from actor-comedian Tim Allen, a longtime outspoken Republican who was never a supporter in the first place).
The M.T.A. fare-hike proposals being announced today might have been an obvious choice, except the Post didn't really have anything worth mentioning about it.
The News did, though, and the fare hike could have gotten them pretty far, it seems to me. Some Gillibrand speculation has a nice spread inside they could have sold, maybe, although her Senate race is a total snooze and the 2016 stuff is ludicrous.
And of course they, too, could have gone with the space-dive or Specter.
So yeah, there wasn't really a way out of the sports covers. I think the Post photo-illustration looks bad and hacky, and the headline isn't appreciably better than the News'.
Winner: Daily News.