The breaking news of Sean Payton and DeMeco Ryans landing head coaching gigs put ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport in a source-off earlier this week.
Rapoport joined The Pat McAfee Show Thursday afternoon, and while the NFL Network reporter claimed he doesn’t personally feel like he’s in competition with Schefter as the sport’s two foremost insiders, he’s fine with people talking about it.
Ryans’ agreement with the Houston Texans and Payton’s deal with the Denver Broncos were announced ten minutes apart. Shortly after, Rapoport reported the Broncos were still pursuing Ryans right up until the minute he signed with Houston. That forced them to reportedly pivot back to Payton, whom they ultimately acquired by trading two first-round picks to the New Orleans Saints. 11 minutes after Rapoport’s report, Schefter sent a conflicting tweet claiming the Broncos moved off Ryans days ago.
“I don’t mind people talking about it, just like I don’t mind people reporting something anything contradictory to what I said,” Rapoport told McAfee of his conflicting report with Schefter. “I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me. I reported what I had based on the best information I can get, based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month. And then whatever happens as a result of this, I don’t really mind.”
You were in the middle of a SOURCE OFF @RapSheet…#PMSLive pic.twitter.com/VuaoSRgO0X
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 2, 2023
“I know people sort of seem like it’s me vs Schefter, I don’t even think that,” Rapoport continued. “It’s just I report what I know, he reports what he knows. And then everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”
During his introductory press conference, Ryans stated he was thankful for the interest from Denver, but added “it wasn’t a difficult decision.” Claiming he chose Houston over Denver kind of supports Rapoport’s reporting, whereas Schefter made it seem like the Broncos made their own decision to move on from Ryans last week.
Rapoport’s report, meanwhile, made the Broncos look unstable and indecisive. That’s a narrative that a franchise with new ownership would prefer to squash. Schefter previously proved he’s willing to use his massive platform to be a mouthpiece for NFL organizations. So it’s reasonable to believe the Broncos may have fed him the nugget. That they moved on from Ryans and zeroed in on Payton days before the announcement. But as Rapoport noted, everyone can judge for themselves.