Some Jazz fans are unhappy with local sportscasters in general. Their perception is that the TV guys are just too darn negative about the local NBA team as the playoffs approach.

Clearly, these are people who are judging with their hearts and not their minds. Even if you know absolutely nothing about basketball, how would it be possible to be too negative about the Jazz right now? They lost seven of their last nine games; they're struggling with injuries; they're the No. 8 seed playing the No. 1 seed; and, since the NBA went to a 16-team playoff format, only three of 50 No. 8 seeds have won in the first round.

Sportscasters are not cheerleaders. Their job is to report and analyze. And, again, you don't need to be much of an analyst to conclude that the Jazz are in big trouble.

It is impossible for Utah to pull off the upset? Well, history shows that they have a three-in-50 chance. But it would be irresponsible for sportscasters to downplay just how long the odds are against the Jazz.

And it's ridiculous for anyone to criticize sportscasters for stating the obvious. For doing their job.

However ... to some degree, the folks on TV have brought this on themselves. Because when a local team is good, they do have a tendency to turn into cheerleaders.

Frankly, it's not so much the sportscasters as it is the local news anchors and weathercasters who embarrass themselves and their stations. Don't forget, it was just a few months ago that some local TV news types literally decked themselves out in red and white sweatshirts and shook red-and-white pom-pons to cheer on the Ute football team at the Sugar Bowl.

Before anybody misinterprets this as some sort of slight aimed at the Utes, let me repeat what I wrote back in January: I'm not suggesting for a moment that the Utes should have received any less coverage than they did. Although it pains non-sports fans (let alone BYU fans) to admit it, the Utes were The Big Story at the time.

But newscasters (and I use that term loosely) are not supposed to be cheerleaders. Frankly, there was so much obvious pandering for viewers and ratings going on, it was nauseating.

Sportscasters aren't cheerleaders. But the local newscasts have so blurred the lines that it's not surprising that some Jazz fans think they're supposed to be.

FAREWELL TO MADDEN: The tributes are pouring in for John Madden, the longtime NFL analyst for CBS, Fox and NBC.

If he'd retired a few years ago, I'd feel better about joining in. But Madden is kind of like a TV show that's really good for about six or seven seasons but stays on the air for 10 or 12 years.

I hated him when he coached the Raiders. But I was young and a Steelers fan.

I was totally predisposed to dislike him when he joined CBS, and yet soon grew to appreciate how good he was. For many years, Madden was a great sportscaster.

In recent years, however, he's become almost a parody of himself. It was sad to see him play the buffoon. I already miss the old John Madden. That's the one I'll try to remember.

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