When it comes to NFL trade rumors, there’s a new trend I’ve noticed when it comes to online coverage of sports teams in the digital age. We all know that search engines, social media platforms, and websites (even this one!) treasure the click above all else. Any content strategy that can increase click volume is bound to become an instant trend–copied and recopied, ad nauseum.
With the trade deadline coming up this Tuesday, November 1, we’ve all been tricked and/or treated to a startling number of transaction-oriented headlines recently. We sports fans are nearly universally fascinated by All Things Trade: whether it’s trades that have already happened and are being analyzed to death, or trades that are simply rumored to be occurring in the near (or distant) future. Particularly if the home team is involved, NFL trade rumors are like catnip; those headlines are irresistible clicks.
The new trend I speak of takes this universal truth and amps it up a few notches. Somewhere, somebody came up with the idea that trades don’t have to happen, or even be rumored to be in the works, to stir up some good old-fashioned click mania in the sporting press. These days, online sports writers and bloggers are treating us to the “Trade Proposal”.
Perhaps you’ve encountered this. Your news feed might provide a headline like “Trade Proposal Has the Vikings Acquiring Mike Evans”, and you, of course, automatically think:
“Holy cow—a Top Ten NFL Receiver is coming to Minnesota? Are the Buccaneers blowing up their team? Can you imagine Evans alongside Justin Jefferson, with Adam Thielen in the slot? I need to click on this link NOW!”
Post-click, you then see that the article is simply a writer—not an NFL exec or other team official—making up a trade that he thinks would be “sensible” for both clubs.
So, it’s not a trade. It’s not a rumor. It’s not something that Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah or any of his counterparts have even considered. It’s just something flat-out made up because it just makes so much sense in his own isolated imagination.
When I was in high school, I had a car, and the Homecoming Queen didn’t. For that reason—and for that reason only–in my mind, it just made sense that she should date me, fall in love with me, have my children, etc. That it “made sense” didn’t mean the student body would even momentarily believe that it was true.
That it’s “sensible” certainly doesn’t mean the principals involved, whether they are Homecoming Queens or NFL General Managers, are going to give it even a second of thought. They have their own real-world problems to consider, like actual trade possibilities, future draft scenarios, or what shade of lip gloss to wear. So, spreading these types of rumors just feel like a monumental waste of our collective time.
And yet, the internet is becoming littered with headlines that sound legit but are really just the product of some writer’s imagination. Or, what’s happening more and more these days: the headlines and accompanying articles are actually reporting on a trade rumor that some other writer came up with and published on a different website.
Each with its own attention-grabbing headline, like “Blockbuster Trade Proposal Floated Thursday”, “Colts Involved In Puzzling Trade Proposal”, or “Vikings Acquire CB K’Waun Williams From Broncos – Flipboard”. Each of these articles are just critiques from one web writer reporting and evaluating upon the made-up musings of another web writer.
I’m thinking that, if we’re going to be psyched into a click over something that’s not even a thing, why not make the headline so over the top that it’s obviously a made-up rant from an internet blogger instead of, you know, fact-checked reality? Save us all a little time, or at least prime us for something ludicrous and miles from the truth. In fact, I have a few suggestions ready:
- Vikings Land Shutdown Corner, Add 5 More Years of Cap Space Hell in New Trade Proposal
- Latest Trade Proposal Sends Tom Brady, Divorce Attorney, to Detroit
- Vikings to Land Aaron Rodgers’ Ego in Win-Win Proposed Trade with Packers
- New Trade Proposal Rights a Wrong: Ravens Deal Rights to Purple Uniforms to Vikings
- Cowboys Trade Ezekiel Elliott to Vikings for 5 Players, 6 Draft Picks in Proposed Blockbuster (is this one too farfetched?)
- In New Proposal, Jake from State Farm and Pat Mahomes traded for Limu Emu and Doug
- Trade Proposal Sends Vikings Fans’ Souls to Prince of Darkness in Exchange for Super Bowl Win
The proposals are running rampant, and the possibilities really are endless. I could dwell on this atrocity at even greater length, but now I need to check on the latest proposed NFL trade rumor floating around, concerning PurplePTSD trading a smart-aleck columnist to the cross-state rival TotalPackers blog. Say it ain’t so.