Mixed news from the league today about reporter access. The 45 seconds of video we can use of team practices, interviews, press conferences, etc. has been bumped up to 90 seconds. That's good progress. But in the same announcement, the league said there can be no live blogging during games. Apparently this is not a new rule, but it's one that wasn't known or enforced. I blogged live last season and Maiocco's live blogging certainly was popular. ***clarification**** The league is banning live play-by-play blogging. I'm told that reporters will still be permitted to analyze the game via live blogs. That is, comments about the effectiveness of a certain defense, whether to go for it on fourth down, etc. are permissable.
Once again, I'm not sure I understand the logic. The live blogging enhances and augments the broadcast of the game. It doesn't replace it. I liken it to a bunch of guys watching a game in a bar. If you can't make it to the bar, at least you can enjoy some camaraderie - celebrating a play, lamenting a turnover, trading opinions - in the on-line world. Does the league really believe a few pithy observations on someone's blog threaten the television and radio broadcasts? I would argue that it only improves the experience and that blogging in general has been a tremendous boon for the league. The amount of information about a team we are able to supply via blogs only increases a fan's appetite for the sport. Limiting that information makes it seem like the league is cutting its blog to spite its face.
More on the access front. On Tuesday - the only day this week the media was allowed to watch practice - Mike Nolan was asked why he decided to limit OTA access this season when there had been no limit in years' past. Here's the exchange
Reporter One: Last year OTAs were open to the media all the way through. This year four are open. Why limit the media access?
Nolan: We're following the rules more closely.
Reporter Two: Well, the rules are a minimum of four, right?
Nolan: You've got to start some place.
Reporter Two: Well, you started with all open practices. You've reduced ...
Nolan: ... That was another year. This is a new year. In January you go to 2008.
Reporter Two: What's the rationale behind it?
Nolan: I figured that's what we'd do.
Reporter One: So no real reason?
Nolan: Oh, yeah. There was a reason - start at the minimum and stop. That's it. We did.
Reporter One: (laughing) You don't like us? You don't want to see us around?
Nolan: Oh, you guys are good. You guys are good. If I give anybody better treatment it'll be the beats (beatwriters). The beats always get better ...
It should be noted that during the practice, Marshall Faulk and the NFL Network had far, far better access of the practice field and that Faulk was chatting up players and coaches during practice, which is something that's strictly verboten for beatwriters.
But it also should be noted that even with this reduction, the 49ers still provide reporters with better access than most teams. Even with practices closed, we can still request to talk to players and coaches after practice ...
This just in: Receiver Darrell Jackson did not enjoy his one-year sojourn in San Francisco. Now a Bronco, Jackson tells the Denver Post that he was miserable here last year. He said the low-point came Nov. 18 when the 49ers lost to the Rams, their eighth-straight defeat. I think he hit rock bottom the week prior when the 49ers were crushed/embarrassed in a Monday night game in Seattle.
I remember walking into the 49ers' locker room after that game and seeing Jackson sitting in front of his locker. By the time reporters get into the locker room, most players are out of their uniforms, showered and dressing in street clothes. Jackson was still in uniform, staring straight ahead like he had seen a ghost. The look was the same one Stephen Baldwin has on his face in "The Usual Suspects" after he had been stabbed in the back by Keyser Soze. "Strangest thing ..."
-- Matt Barrows