The business of being an NFL insider has skyrocketed over the last several years.  With the insatiable thirst for information, these reporters (and their sources) have become some of the most influential members of the sports media.  People like Adam Schefter and Jay Glazer have larger social media followings than many of the best athletes they cover and are reporting on.  With the interest in insiderdom, the competition amongst reporters to break news has never been more fierce.  And this is especially true in the NFL and especially true on the biggest day of the year for these insiders – the first day of NFL free agency.

That’s why it was so odd to see one of those reporters tease a huge breaking news story without actually breaking news today.

Early on Monday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio published an article entitled, “San Fran surprise coming Monday.”  The gist of the article was that a “key player” would not be on the team in 2015 and an announcement was coming Tuesday.  Instead of actually reporting who the player was, Florio invited PFT commenters (there’s an entire parody franchise dedicated to those people) to guess his identity while offering a free one year subscription to PFT.  Apparently you can still pay for stuff instead of just reading it on the internet.

Naturally, less than an hour later one of Florio’s competitors broke the actual news.  Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin reported that All Pro LB Patrick Willis would be retiring.  CSN Bay Area followed with another report that Willis was planning on retiring.

This… doesn’t make a lot of sense.  If your job is to report news, and you have a huge breaking news story sitting in your lap… why wouldn’t you report it?  Why would you just tease it like you were operating some kind of early 90’s professional wrestling hotline?  Could you imagine Adam Schefter using his massive platform to basically say the equivalent of “I know something you don’t know.”  Given that there are literally hundreds of NFL reporters chasing the same stories, why would you not try to follow through on such an important breaking news story?

Curiously enough, after Getlin’s tweet Florio posted a new article on Willis and Justin Smith retiring and saying that Willis was the player he was talking about earlier.  He also cited CSN Bay Area and not Getlin for the news, even though the local outlet credited Getlin and the Yahoo writer was first to the story.  (An example of Comcast/NBC synergy, perhaps?)

Florio basically invited all of his competitors to beat him to reporting the real story here and they obliged.  Now Getlin will deservedly get the credit for one of the biggest scoops of the NFL offseason and the only person who will remember Florio’s contribution is the lucky PFT commenter with a free subscription.

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