ESPN, the largest sports entertainment conglomerate in the world, knows their NFL. They have thousands of hours of programming dedicated to the NFL throughout the calendar year. They spend billions of dollars on TV rights to broadcast some of the NFL's games. ESPN employs dozens upon dozens of reporters and analysts to lucrative contracts for the sole purpose of discussing football on air. The NFL is the most covered sport on the network by leaps and bounds.
And yet somehow whoever is in charge of posting articles to their Facebook page--a page followed by over 14.6 million Facebook users--couldn't remember who won the NFC North in 2015.
UPDATE 2:10 PM: After being live for about two hours, someone finally took the incorrect post down from the ESPN Facebook page. But you can still see the original post in the picture above.
Um...I'm pretty sure that isn't accurate. Call me crazy, but I think the Vikings hosted a playoff game after beating the Packers at Lambeau on the final week of the season. When we were at Winter Park covering the draft last month, I could have sworn that the Vikings had hung a "2015 NFC North Champions" banner in their field house. But this is ESPN! A multi-kajillion dollar company! Surely they couldn't have got such a major part of their story this wrong, could they?
It turns out they did. After it was brought to the attention of the (much more competent) person that runs the Vikings' official Twitter feed, they had the perfect response:
.@MNVikingZombie Guess we should probably return this then, right @ESPN? pic.twitter.com/qhGaW1EZGe— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 17, 2016
See! I told you that banner was there!
In the grand scheme of awful mistakes made by ESPN employees over the years, this one was pretty harmless. But it was still pretty egregious and a perfect example of why so many Vikings fans feel their team is slighted by the national media.
And just to clarify, Bill Barnwell had nothing to do with what happened here. He does great work. Barnwell wrote an excellent article (as always) explaining how the Vikings had a very good offseason. In fact, we have already discussed his article here. But the person in charge of posting content to the official ESPN Facebook page did not do great work. If you're up for some good old fashioned ESPN bashing, I suggest that you read the comments on the Facebook post while it's still up. (The erroneous post has already been up for over an hour, which might as well be forever in internet terms.)
If the Vikings can retain their NFC North crown in 2016, hopefully someone at the four-letter network will finally take notice.