Betterridge's law of headlines (the idea that any headline that ends with a question is automatically answered with a "no") has apparently not been made known to soccer writers the world over as they continue to pump out articles where the basic premise is faulty.
"When we know that the basic premise of an idea for an article is complete bullshit and we don't want the research or facts to interfere with the overarching premise, the basic excuse is to use a headline with a question in it" said USA Today soccer reporter and global Wiener Dog Race correspondent Davidson James. "It's like when I wrote an article that said 'Can NYCFC win MLS Cup this year?' I knew the basic premise was bullshit, but I wrote the piece anyway. Deadlines are a hell of a thing."
Even veteran reporters are capable of submitting tripe wrapped in a question mark headline as 17 year veteran reporter Steven Gotschalk admitted to The Nutmeg News, "Sometimes I'm just tired and that's how it works. I need to pass off a poorly researched and barely thought out column because I couldn't come up with something else. I wrote 'Could Ronaldo come to Major League Soccer this season?' on three hours of sleep after the birth of my second child. I wrote 'Is Mehdi Ballouchy the best player in Major League Soccer?' after I attended my brothers bachelor party and I was just too hung over to properly get a column out. I wrote 'Is Raleigh the new world soccer hotbed?' on a dare to see if it would even get published."
While veteran soccer writers have the ability to slip into cliche, the practice is enforced as a matter of principle at some websites, "We don't enforce many things but we do require roughly 1 out of every 5 stories to have a theoretical for our rookie reporters. This way it encourages them to think outside of the box and really come up with some bizarre ideas even though likely they aren't going to happen." said one anonymous editor-in-chief.
Will The Nutmeg News have more on this later?