*Welcome to The Big Question. Every Monday during the offseason, Dave Spadaro, Chris McPherson and Bo Wulf will debate one of the hot topics surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles. We invite fans to continue the discussion in the comments section. Enjoy ... *
CM: With the Super Bowl in the books, the NFL's offseason is officially underway. Whatever you want to call this time of the year, one thing is certain – rumors are in full bloom and spreading like weeds across the NFL landscape. What do you think of the rumor mill?
DS: This is the unofficial "fantasy football season" with all of these rumors. And I totally get it. We have five weeks and then some to wait until free agency begins and that's a whole lot of time to fill. The fans are hungry for something, anything on which to gnaw about their favorite NFL teams. And the media have to fill space and kill time and keep the buzz going.
I'm not going to say that reporters "make up" stories, but there is certainly a lot of stretching the reality of some stories. I don't put a lot of stock in the rumors, although I admit that they are fun and they generate some conversation in the office. I am all for rumors. They keep things fun during a very slow time of the year. I just caution fans to understand the difference, and it's often a significant chasm, between reality and rumors. Don't take this stuff too seriously.
BW: I think it's all in fun and most people take the noise with the appropriate gallon of salt. Are the Eagles going to trade Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Spuds and five years of first-round picks to move up to No. 1 in the draft? No, but at least entertaining the thought helps pass the time between now and the next tentpole event of the offseason. We all love football, but at best you get, what, 19 days of watching your favorite team play meaningful games in a calendar year? We have to pass the rest of the time somehow.
CM: The trade was only nixed because Tampa Bay wanted Bo to fire the cannons after each touchdown and that's where the Eagles drew the line. Nonetheless, fans are starving and want every juicy morsel of news that could possibly bring some sort of change to get their team closer to the Super Bowl.
To Bo's point, about the finite amount of days to enjoy football is what makes the offseason so frustrating to begin with. We wait and wait and wait for the season to begin each September and then in a flash it's gone and we're back to square one. Give us SOMETHING, ANYTHING to get us through these next few months. I love when fans reach out and ask whether this rumor or that rumor is true. It's great that Eagles fans are in-tune with everything all year round. When I hear a rumor now, the first thing I usually think of is who leaked it and why? Who benefits from it?
DS: See, I think a lot of people take rumors far more seriously than we give them credit. Talk radio and instant media create a frenzy and sell "rumors" as "semi facts" at times and it's brilliant marketing. How often do you get on your favorite team's Message Board, for example, and look for names, any names, of potential player additions, whether that is college recruiting or professional sports. I do it.
I happen to love mock drafts for that very reason. There isn't a more accepted rumor mill than the myriad mock drafts we see between now and the draft. I eat it all up, read the "logic" attached to the names and then move on.
BW: Actually, I would say that I prefer free agency and trade rumors to mock drafts, because, as Chris said, whatever information is out there is being linked for a reason. It might be, and likely is, misinformation more than anything, but at least there are motivations to suss out. With mock drafts, it's just people blindly throwing darts against the wall for clicks. If you mock it, they will click it.
DS: You guys put too much stock into a rumor. I don't think there is much being "linked for a reason." I think it's just a lot of reporters who are trying to keep things going in a really slow period during the offseason. Is there a rumor you can remember that carried some relevance?
CM: I may have not graduated from a premier journalism program like Temple, but I would never just try to, as Dave put it, "keep things going." That being said, we are just as guilty for feeding into the rumor mill and mock draft madness with features and stories on the site. Why do we do it? Because that's what fans want right now (other than a Super Bowl parade down Broad Street). On that note, Bo, did you work on the design for this year's mock draft tracker yet?
BW: Sadly, my design responsibilities have been stripped after the higher-ups found out about the wallpaper in the Den with my face all over it. Anyway, I heard Terrell Owens is thinking about coming out of retirement and the Eagles DO need to get better in the red zone … I'll hang up and listen.
DS: Exactly. I once had a talk-radio head tell me that if a janitor at the stadium told him something, he would say that "Whispers in the building are that ..." This is how rumors begin. We love them. They help us kill time. Some of them, I admit, come to fruition. Some clearly have more substance than rumors that are obvious "throw-it-against-a-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks" stuff. But for the most part, I read with amusement, and I enjoy the scenarios created by fans and the media, and then I wait to see the reality. We have a long time before free agency starts. Let the rumor mill begin!