Adam Schefter Oct 18, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter talks on his phone before the Monday Night Football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton and DeMeco Ryans finalized head coaching jobs Tuesday afternoon, but the breaking news pitted ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport against each other.

The hires of Sean Payton with the Denver Broncos and DeMeco Ryans with the Houston Texans were curiously announced ten minutes apart on Tuesday. And at 4:44 pm ET, 20 minutes after the frenzy of breaking news, Rapoport claimed the Broncos attempted to hire Ryans at the eleventh hour but made a last-minute pivot back to Payton after they were rejected.

11 minutes later, at 4:55 pm ET, Schefter refuted Rapoport’s report and said the timing of both hires was completely coincidental, claiming the Broncos were locked in on reaching a deal with Payton and had no contact with Ryans in recent days.

If Rapoport’s report is true, the instability and uncertainty displayed by the Denver Broncos would be an embarrassment, especially for a franchise with new ownership. Schefter’s retort, meanwhile, was backed by other Broncos reporters.

When it comes to breaking NFL news, Schefter has long been considered the insider with the most connections of any other reporter. But Schefter is also the insider who has most shown he’s willing to blur the line between being a reporter and mouthpiece for the league.

It’s not lost in the case of Schefter vs Rapoport that Schefter was attempting to squash a report that would have made a team look bad. It makes sense that the Broncos would want to hide their uncontrollable waffling over which coach to zero in on. And it makes sense that the Broncos might seek out Schefter, a former writer for The Denver Post, to help them do that.

There’s certainly a scenario where Schefter is right and Rapoport is wrong. Maybe the Broncos were zeroed in on Payton all along, but they balked at the New Orleans Saints price tag for a trade and attempted to use their previous interest in Ryans as leverage. Similarly, maybe Ryans’ agent attempted to push the narrative that he was interested in Denver to boost his leverage while negotiating a contract with Houston.

The problem for Schefter, however, is a history of controversial career moves that include writing a puff piece to help boost the image of Deshaun Watson and admitting to sending a complete draft of an ESPN story to an NFL team for approval. While Schefter is great at breaking news, he’s proven himself to be a shill for the NFL enough times that when it smells like he might be trying to help a team by squashing a potentially embarrassing story, he probably is.

[Adam Schefter, Ian Rapoport]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to