NIU’s Silver Linings Playbook: How To Spin Bad Sports News

NIU_200Northern Illinois University men’s basketball hit a historic low on Saturday, losing to Eastern Michigan 42-25. The Huskies set an NCAA record for offensive futility by scoring just four first-half points.

Needless to say, this presented a challenge to NIU’s sports information department, when it came to finding something positive to say in its post-game press release. But it would rise to the occasion in spectacular fashion:


Now, that’s impressive — the press release; not so much the basketball. In fact, it’s so impressive that it got us wondering how the NIU Ministry of Truth might handle other ignominious events in Chicago sports history. For example:


Oct. 14, 2003

cubs_logo_200CHICAGO — Sammy Sosa had three hits, drove in a run and scored another, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Chicago Cubs over the Florida Marlins in an 8-3 loss in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night at a sold-out Wrigley Field.

The Cubs can still clinch the National League pennant with a victory Wednesday night, when 14-game winner Kerry Wood takes the hill against Florida’s Mark Redman.

Sosa opened the scoring in the first when he doubled home Kenny Lofton to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. Then in the sixth, Sosa scored on a Dontrelle Willis wild pitch to double the lead for the NL Central champions.


April 28, 2012

Bulls_Logo_200CHICAGO — Bulls star Derrick Rose barely missed a triple-double by scoring 23 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and adding nine assists in a 103-91 win Saturday over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Rose, the NBA’s reigning MVP, was one of five Bulls to score in double-digits. Richard Hamilton had 19, Luol Deng 17, Joakim Noah 12 and Kyle Korver came off the bench to add 11. Noah also had 13 rebounds for a double-double.

The Bulls stretched their lead to 20 with 6:07 left in the fourth when Rose buried a 3-pointer. With 1:09 left in the game and with his team up by 12, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau finally gave Rose a well-deserved rest.


Jan. 24, 2013

notre_dame_mascotSOUTH BEND, Ind. — The press can’t get enough.

Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o appeared on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show today, as he continued his whirlwind media tour of the past week.

Since concluding his career as one of college football’s most decorated defensive players, Te’o, who is preparing  for the NFL draft, has appeared countless times on ESPN and in publications ranging from The New York Times to Deadspin.

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