I've done it.
I've written the occasional article with only potential page views running through my mind.
It's the game we play. Us writers crave eyeballs on what we write, SB Nation would like people to view our web site, and Vox Media -- who owns SBN -- would like our page views high. I'll occasionally write the attention grabbing quick article in order to get more eyes to Windy City Gridiron, so there's a better chance my 2,000 word article that I researched for days will be checked out.
There's a place for trolling on the internet, but in my opinion, it has to be done carefully, lest you become known as "that guy."
The troll guy, the guy that slants everything negatively, the guy that will type anything out just to garner views. If you really want to stay in character, and hammer out a negative troll inspired piece, then do it. But don't contradict yourself in the same article. Don't show the cracks in your writing that let the reader know you're doing nothing but trolling. If I can sense the bullshit in what you wrote, odds are it's bullshit.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune is a good writer. I pick up the Trib a few times a week to read on the train, and I read even more online. Here's his latest headline that initially posted to the Tribune web site last night.
That definitely has some troll to it, but maybe he didn't write the headline.
So here's the tweet he sent out about his column.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Different coaches, regimes but getting to Super Bowl confirms Broncos won the Cutler trade over Bears. Column <a href="http://t.co/OeLtDPxQGS">http://t.co/OeLtDPxQGS</a></p>— David Haugh (@DavidHaugh) <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHaugh/statuses/428159067375550464">January 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Yep, no doubt about it, he's pulling off a WWE-worthy troll job.
I doubt he fully believes what he's writing, because a few paragraphs down the page he writes this;
Signing Manning as a free agent in 2012 remains the biggest reason the Broncos will represent the AFC on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
At what point does trolling trump credibility? I understand wanting to get the almighty "clicks", but what if what you write ends up contradicting itself?
Signing arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game is why the Broncos are in the Super Bowl. Manning instantly makes any franchise a contender.
Using a five degrees of separation to show how Cutler was responsible for the two top wide receivers in Denver may be accurate, but there's more to it than that. The Bears received Cutler and a draft pick that ended up being Johnny Knox, the Broncos received two number ones, a number three, and Kyle Orton. Teams always overpay for quarterbacks, whether through $100 million dollar contracts, or through multiple draft picks. That's just the reality of the NFL.
So far the Denver Broncos did win the Jay Cutler trade, because the only way a victory would be perceived in Chicago, would be for Cutler to win a Super Bowl with the Bears. That obviously hasn't happened. So win or lose this Sunday, the Broncos are the winners of that 2009 trade.
That doesn't change the fact that David Haugh is trolling with his column. He's trolling the pro-Jay / anti-Jay people, he's trolling Bears fans, and he's trolling Bronco fans.
Let's hit on Bronco fans for a moment. A majority of their fan base has disdain for Cutler because he asked out of Denver after he learned that their coach tried to replace him. Bronco fans somehow gloss over that fact the greatest Bronco in history did the same thing to the Baltimore Colts.
John Elway flat out refused to play in Baltimore, and drummed up some cockamamie story about going to play baseball for the Yankees instead of being a Colt. Baltimore drafted Elway #1 overall, then traded him to the Broncos. Elway struggled for some time before winning it all, and he even had his share of Denver detractors, but winning cures all.
Elway not only won two Super Bowls while in Denver, he's also the man responsible for bringing Peyton Manning to the Broncos. Once Elway got Manning to commit to his team, he knew the window to win was a small one. He had to go all in and acquire the players that they needed to win right now.
Over at CBSSports.com, they lay out the Bronco 2013 roster blueprint. The Cutler trade landed them some good players, but there's more to them that just that.
Denver has bolstered its roster by being active in free agency. In addition to Manning, six more Super Bowl starters are free-agent acquisitions, including five (WR Wes Welker, G Louis Vasquez, DT Terrance Knighton, DE/LB Shaun Phillips and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) from Denver's mini-spending spree in the offseason.
Being forced into a win-now mode is why John Elway and the Denver Broncos are playing in the Super Bowl.
The post-Cutler Bronco plan revolved around Josh McDaniels and Tim Tebow. Let that sink in for a moment.
Elway and Manning saved them from themselves.
In the David Haugh tweet above he mentions that the Broncos are run by a different brain trust. Does anyone really think that had McDaniels not been fired, had Denver not rid themselves of Tim Tebow, and had Elway not been hired as executive vice president of football operations, that this team would be playing in their seventh Super Bowl?
Haugh even softens his stance a bit towards the end of his article.
Love him or hate him five seasons later, Cutler gives the Bears a dimension they never had. They badly needed the credibility Cutler offered the offense. They wanted to experience a bona fide NFL quarterback. Revisionist historians often forget that. The fault wasn't giving up a king's ransom for Cutler as much as it was getting bad playmakers to surround him (with due respect to Roy Williams and Dane Sanzenbacher, of course).
Jay Cutler ran one offense in his three Denver seasons, the Mike Shanahan offense coordinated by Rick Dennison. He just ran his 4th offense in five years as a Bear. Current Chicago general manager Phil Emery is doing something that was never done by former GM Jerry Angelo, he's addressing the talent around Cutler.
I guess the Bears didn't really lose the Jay Cutler trade, as much as they gave it away.