Bart Scott: This new type of criticism is ‘lightweight to me’

Bart Scott had heard enough.

A month ago he eviscerated Todd Bowles on SNY’s postgame show after the Jets coach questioned the team’s defense for not causing any turnovers in a 13-6 loss to the Dolphins. It is Scott’s most passionate moment as a broadcaster.

“Just because I was a defensive player and I know how I would interpret it,” Scott calmly says now. “You feel like you put one of your best performances out there and you want to focus on something like a turnover.”

Bowles is now in his waning weeks as Jets coach with a 3-9 team finishing out the string for a third straight season. It’s that type of pressure Scott could relate to as a player when he was in the middle of the Ravens and Jets defenses during an 11-year NFL career.
Not so much now.

Scott is part of SNY’s Jets coverage alongside Willie Colon, Ray Lucas and Jonas Schwartz and in the middle of Maggie Gray and Chris Carlin on WFAN’s early-afternoon show. It’s a radio program that drew immediate attention when it first replaced Mike Francesa and then moved back to the 1-3 p.m. slot after Francesa unretired several months later.

“I’ve been playing high-stakes poker with millions of dollars,” Scott, 38, said. “This is nothing new to me. Me being criticized for not knowing baseball … well, you think that bothers me? I’ve been there, done that. I was an undrafted free agent. I can deal with criticism. This is lightweight for me.

“If anything, this may be new to Chris and Maggie. I lived in this world my entire life. Every play, every mistake has been graded. Every play in my job has always been graded. Not the overall game, every play. Me coming to this world is laughable because people calling to criticize thinking you can say something negative to me and my partners is funny because we got the mic. We got the stage. The fact that it is that way it is exciting for me because it’s the closest I can get back to competing.”

The show has seemingly found its footing with a breezy format that has led to noteworthy gains in the ratings. It’s more success than either football team in this town has enjoyed. The Giants are one game better than the Jets, but have been just as irrelevant in a season that started with seven losses in their first eight games.

It does make for a radio and TV challenge when the teams expected to carry you through the winter have little to play for by mid-October.

“It’s not fun, right? When you think about the fan base when things aren’t going well for those teams you want to get a great reaction from the fans to air those grievances,” Scott said. “But after awhile they kind of tune out and start looking forward to other stuff. Then you don’t get to have dialogue back and forth. There’s no hope. When there’s hope there’s an energy that takes over this city. When you have two teams that aren’t doing that then it isn’t fun because it’s not the energy or the passion you want.”

Soon, the Jets talk can focus on Bowles’ replacement. Scott noted the team’s lack of veteran leadership has been an issue all season and perhaps a change in mindset is needed from up top.

“Sometimes you need somebody to be an a-hole, be a jerk to the team. … You can’t give these young guys a long leash because they don’t appreciate how good they have it. Sometimes you have to go to the opposite world and go with a disciplinarian,” Scott said.

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