BOSTON (CBS) – I have a confession to make – I have a secret vice: sports talk.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

In my house, when we’re hanging out in the kitchen, the Sports Hub is on. In the headphones while walking the dog – more Sports Hub. The shower radio – you guessed it. In the car, when I’m not listening to WBZ NewsRadio 1030, it’s more sports talk.

I guess my secret vice is no longer secret, but judging from the Sports Hub’s excellent ratings, I can see I’m not alone.

Why do we love sports talk so much?

Because when you’re a sports fan, you tend to have strong opinions, and like to listen to and, often, mock the opinions of the sports talk hosts and the other fans who call in.

It’s all good, clean fun, but sometimes, the fans and the pundits go too far.

That was the case the last couple of days with the sports radio uproar over Patriots’ idol Rob Gronkowski breaking his arm as he blocked for the final point-after-touchdown in the Pats’ rout of Indianapolis on Sunday.

The critics are outraged that Gronk was still in there so late in a blowout, and they are questioning the judgement of coach Bill Belichick for leaving him in. Thankfully, no less an expert than Rex Ryan, coach of the arch-rival New York Jets, has stepped in to set the critics straight.

“Every single team in the league,” uses key players in similar situations, says Ryan, who also points out that freak injuries happen all the time, and cannot be predicted or prevented. He calls the criticism of Belichick “ridiculous.”

I couldn’t agree more. Belichick is not above the occasional mistake, but his incredible winning record speaks for itself.

And the spectre of clueless radio hosts and fans aggressively denouncing him reminds me of what I like best and least about sports talk.

At its best, it is a relaxingly complete substitute for intelligent human thought.

At its worst, it reminds us of why intelligence is a desirable – and rare – commodity.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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