One minute you’re the next big thing. The next minute, you’re not.
But while success can be short-lived, hot takes … oh boy, hot takes are forever — especially if you float them out there on Twitter dot com instead of simply letting them go gently into the night on a bar stool or even over the airwaves.
This juxtaposition of ideas brings us to ESPN’s Skip Bayless, who has made a lucrative career out of shouty hot takes. He’s not for everyone, but I will say this: I’m not using the example below to specifically pick on Bayless. Rather, I’m using it to illustrate the idea of fleeting success vs. permanent opinions.
Somewhere in the course of Carolina’s blowout win over Arizona on Sunday, which propelled the Panthers and MVP-worthy QB Cam Newton to the Super Bowl, a tweet that Bayless sent out on Sept. 16, 2011 resurfaced. It read:
“For next 10 yrs, give me Josh Freeman over Cam. More accurate. Clutch gene. 25 TDs, 6 INTs last yr. Really like Cam. Love Josh in big games.“
It’s the kind of thing that A) Bayless routinely does, taking a stand on something in hopes of being right and B) Looks absolutely awful right now considering Newton is perhaps the most dangerous offensive player in the NFL while Freeman didn’t throw an NFL pass for all of 2014 and most of 2015. It’s particularly laughable here in Minnesota, where fans witnessed the Freeman wreckage in an ugly Monday Night game in 2013, his only game in purple after a baffling-in-retrospect midseason pickup.
But in 2011? The take was hot, but it wasn’t ridiculous. Freeman, as Bayless noted, had a very good 2010 season in which he led the Bucs to a 10-6 record while playing very efficient football. Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 and, at the time of the tweet, had played exactly one NFL game (albeit a debut in which he threw for more than 400 yards).
There was a chance that Newton would eventually turn out like Robert Griffin III while Freeman continued a steady climb into the upper-echelon of more traditional pocket passers. At the very least, it would have been hard to predict the dramatic fall of Freeman — far less so than predicting the dramatic rise of Newton.
But Twitter is forever. As long as nobody goes back and looks at my Johnny Manziel vs. Teddy Bridgewater tweets from April/May of 2014, everything will be fine.