More Messages: Fortunate Son

When does a regular-season high-school football matchup receive as much coverage in these parts as a Denver Broncos game? When the prep contest features the debut as starting quarterback of Jack Elway, son of Broncos Hall of Famer John Elway. Too bad the media's coverage of Cherry Creek's August 31 victory over poor Montbello was as unseemly as it was out of proportion.

Predictably, Channel 4, the official Broncos station, provided some of the most over-the-top reportage, with Marcia Neville (pictured), the normally reliable high-school-sports specialist, gushing about young Jack's performance like a broken water main. But Neville was hardly alone in this respect. Channel 7's Steve Gottsegen put together a package about Jack that was equally noxious. After it was rebroadcast earlier today on Channel 7's morning show, anchor Katie Trexler bubbled about how wonderful it would be if Jack played for his daddy's old team someday!

The dailies did a better job of not putting the cart before the Bronco. The Denver Post, which published a puffed-out profile of Jack on August 13, actually ran its article about the season opener in the middle of its sports section, instead of hyping it on page one. And even though today's headline ("Elway's Debut: Seventh Heaven") was corny in the extreme, writer Craig Harper pointed out that Creek's special teams were largely responsible for the margin of victory. Even better was Brad Byler's effort in the Rocky Mountain News. The item spotlighted another player, DeVaughn Levy, who returned a kickoff for an 89-yard touchdown as time expired at the end of the first half, before offering a balanced critique of the younger Elway's achievements.

All right, Jack's first start does qualify as a legitimate news story, especially around here. But reporters need to remember that he's only in high school, for Christ's sake, and has yet to demonstrate that anything other than his last name is especially newsworthy. If reporters must go ga-ga over an Elway, they should stick with the one who's actually done something worthy of the reaction. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts