What Would Bill Do? Brady, Wilson, and Romney

Media coach Bill McGowan takes on the week's news

Tom Brady press conference

Pic via Reuters/Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

This is the latest guest post by Bill McGowan, Clarity Media Group founder and media coach to executives at Facebook, Airbnb and more.

The Truth – Adjusted for Inflation

In the media strategy sessions before Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s news conferences this past week, it’s pretty clear that the lawyers overruled the media consultants and image makers. Media advisors always tell their clients that the truth is non-negotiable. Misleading or lying is out of the question.

So, how incredibly disappointing to see the head coach and quarterback stand up in front of the media and clam up instead of man up; as ESPN put it, the story “simply doesn’t add up.” If they did tell the truth that they had nothing to do with the air being taken out of the footballs before the AFC Championship Game, then where was the indignation that some unknown party would dare taint their decisive and impressive victory? If Brady “personalized things” at the time and got his feelings hurt, then why did he claim total ignorance on the topic at hand?

A more responsible Brady could have said, “yes, I asked to have some air taken out but I didn’t know that we had gone below the limit set by the league [of course, that’s assuming the ball boys didn’t measure the PSI afterwards]. The footballs felt hard to me – maybe it was the cold – and after we removed some pressure they felt right, they didn’t feel underinflated. As I’m sure you’ve already discovered, this is a fairly common practice among NFL quarterbacks.”

As it stands, even some of Brady’s fans can’t give him the benefit of the doubt.


wilson crying

That Big Control Room in the Sky

America has thrived for nearly 250 years thanks in part to our “Separation of Church and State” ideal. Can we expand that notion and enforce a separation between church and pro sports?

Thanking God for a win in the post-game interview is out of control.

The latest episode involves a player I like and admire, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.  Wilson is a terrific player who shows respect to the fans and the media and gives back to the community. In every way he’s a “5-tools” human being. But I would advise him to ease off on claiming that God’s will extends to the gridiron.

To hear Wilson proclaim that “God is good all the time Man…every time,” presumes that a Supreme Being sits in a massive control room with TV monitors on the wall, manipulating and controlling the outcome. My sense is that God is too busy, even on a day of rest, to WATCH football, let alone care who wins. So if you win the Super Bowl Russell, how about saying you feel blessed, you feel fortunate or “as you know my faith is really important to me and I feel that was a big part in why I was able to play well on such a big day.”

As an added bonus, your team won’t get to compare you to Martin Luther King, Jr. next time either.


Defining “Insanity” in 2016

Mitt Romney’s been back in the news, sending up weather balloons on a possible 2016 run (or should we say rerun) for the White House. Most recently, Jeb Bush and Mr. Romney’s respective PR teams let everyone in the world know about their super-secret strategic meeting in Utah. The possible topic: how to address Donald Trump’s evolving critiques of their respective campaigns.

2016 would mark the third time Mitt’s been in the POTUS mix.  Perhaps the best reaction quote came from Rand Paul, whose pinpoint sharp response burst the Romney balloon. “Romney running again is the definition of insanity,” which as we all know means, doing the same thing over and over again (pursuing the same flawed and failed strategy) and expecting different results.

Concise, punchy and on target. But will Mitt take the point?

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.