For most journalists, a great interview can make their story. What leads to a good interview is having great questions and responses. For most press conferences after sports games, journalists usually interview the leader of the team — the pitcher, the quarterback or the point guard.
Some of the more popular press conferences are those when athletes make the reporters look uneducated and reprimand them for their questions. Most of these scenarios come after a team loses or the star player being interviewed did not play well.
Sometimes viewers who don’t understand the goal behind the journalists’ questions can mistake an athlete’s answer as putting the reporter down. In reality they were given exactly the answer the reporter was looking for.
The latest interview that the media is trying to dramatize is the postgame press conference between a reporter from The Athletic, Aaron Reiss, and Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
After a 16-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Reiss asked Watson if there was anything he saw in the Panthers’ defensive coverage where he could have thrown more deep passes. Watson responded by breaking down the coverage they were playing and why the deep ball was not an option.
“It’s cover four,” Watson said. “So what the safeties are doing is playing deep, and they’re guarding the number two [receiver]. The corners sink and they drop number two.”
The goal of cover four is that the defensive backs drop back and don’t let anything behind them. The middle linebacker, in this case Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, covers everything in the middle. This is a concept known by most people who have either played football or understand the complexity of the sport.
The press is trying to portray Watson as owning Reiss, but the reality of it all is that Watson gave the exact response most journalists are looking for. Dom Cosentino, a Deadspin writer, agrees.
According to Cosentino’s article, people’s reactions are misleading. Watson offered Reiss a thoughtful reply and described what was going on in his mind.
As a journalism major and someone who has played football for 10 years, I am familiar with the concepts of these coverages. But most viewers watch the game for fun and to cheer on their favorite team. This answer gave them more insight to what is going on in the brain of an NFL quarterback and why certain throws and plays are run over others. In the end this is a great answer formed from a great question.