Search the Site

Typo or Biggest NFL News of the Year?

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Jared Diamond (not this one) has written an interesting article headlined “Belichick’s Coaching Tree Bears Very Little Fruit.” Here, from my iPad edition, is the accompanying photograph:

The caption reads “Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, who was hired last week as Penn State’s new football coach.”

That’s not quite right. The Bill from the Patriots who was hired by Penn State was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, as Diamond’s article makes clear in the first paragraph. Belichick is still very much the head coach of the New England Patriots.

As I type this (8:16 a.m. ET), the caption is still incorrect on both the web and iPad editions. (No caption appeared in the print edition.) I assume it will be fixed soon; perhaps it will be by the time this post get published.

I feel bad for the person/people (probably a copy editor) who made this error. Anyone who has ever published anything has been there, and it’s no fun. But it did make me wonder: in which newspaper section are the most errors of this type made? Often, editors and copy editors are asked to edit articles that fall outside their area/s of expertise.

If I had to guess, I’d say that sports articles are especially susceptible to this kind of error, given the huge amount of specialized language and knowledge in sports, especially weighed against the fact that a lot of otherwise very smart people know nothing about sports.

And if you think I am blogging about this unfortunate error in order to distract myself from the Steelers’ very ugly loss yesterday, you are right. This season was much tougher than the team’s 12-4 record would imply. Congrats to the Broncos and especially Tim Tebow, who went all Football Freakonomics on the Steelers (but to be fair, he also had a pretty good second quarter).