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GREATEST MOMENTS IN PFT HISTORY: NO. 4

Well, you knew it was coming.  How could we ignore it?
Greatest Moment No. 4 in the history of ProFootballTalk.com wasn’t really all that great.  In fact, it kind of sucked.
It came on January 25, 2007.  On that day, we reported that Terry Bradshaw was dead. Actually, we didn’t report that he was dead.  We reported that he might be dead.  But that doesn’t matter to the Howard Eskins of the world who rely upon one instance of cranial flatulence as cause for disregarding anything and everything we say thereafter.
Here’s what happened.  We started receiving e-mails from a diverse collection of readers who had heard that Bradshaw had died in a car accident. Our error came in failing to contact FOX or anyone else who would have been in a position to know whether Bradshaw was in fact alive or not. We quickly learned that Bradshaw was still among the living.And so seven minutes after posting an item titled “Terry Bradshaw Dead?” we followed it with an article that began with the headline “Terry Is Fine.”
Because we never expunge one of our reports no matter how incorrect or embarrassing it might be, we left the original item on the site and followed it with an article setting forth the truth about Bradshaw’s condition.
As we posted several hours later, the rumors started via KTBS and KSLA in Shreveport.  “One theory as to how the rumor got started,” said an item posted at the time on KTBS, “was that a local radio station reported a wreck on the Terry Bradshaw Passway — part of the Inner Loop — and that was misunderstood to say Bradshaw had passed away.”  
So was there a rumor that Bradshaw had died?  Yes.
Was the rumor reported by multiple “real” media outlets in Louisiana?  Yes.
Should we have waited to confirm the situation before posting it?  Absolutely.
And thus it was one of the defining moments in our site not simply because it gives those predisposed to hating us an easy sound bite to justify attacks on our credibility, but because we learned a valuable lesson when it comes to matters of life and death.
When in doubt, we avoid the issue.  We applied that approach, for example, when rampant rumors were spreading through league and media circles that Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi had died several months after the Bradshaw debacle.
In fact, we went too far the other way on Bruschi.  We simply ignored the situation completely.  The better approach would have been to contact the Patriots and ask whether the rumors were true.  Then we could have posted an item acknowledging the rumors, and providing an answer.
It’s what we should have done when rumors flew that Bradshaw had died, but without that incident we wouldn’t be nearly as responsible about such sensitive matters as we now are.
So how did Bradshaw himself find out that he was dead?  As legend has it, Bradshaw was contacted that day by a FOX colleague regarding the situation, while the Hall of Fame quarterback was golfing in Mexico.
“Terry, are you dead?” the caller asked.
“No, I ain’t dead,” Bradshaw replied.  “But my golf game sure is.”

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20 Responses to “GREATEST MOMENTS IN PFT HISTORY: NO. 4”
  1. The Nomad says: Nov 5, 2008 10:34 PM

    I thought this would be #1…

  2. jamesage says: Nov 5, 2008 10:50 PM

    Howard Eskin is the Eddie Munster of sports radio.

  3. NonYahooHotmailAcct says: Nov 5, 2008 10:51 PM

    If anybody (cough, nomad, cough) doesn’t know what #1 is, they haven’t been here very long either.

  4. josereyes0 says: Nov 5, 2008 11:08 PM

    Glad to see you hold your low moments as importantly as your high moments.

  5. JAXSUN says: Nov 5, 2008 11:53 PM

    This is when the site started to become fun.

  6. kellyb says: Nov 6, 2008 12:43 AM

    Screw that contacting media outlets to confirm media rumors bs and all those pundits who wanna attack you. Do that and you’re just another everyday average news outlet. What makes this site good is it’s a “rumor” mill. You’re not afraid to speculate and throw things out there. Every once in a while you’re gonna miss but you gotta take the bad with the good.

  7. Crushing Touchdown Run says: Nov 6, 2008 7:15 AM

    “But that doesn’t matter to the Howard Eskins of the world who rely upon one instance of cranial flatulence as cause for disregarding anything and everything we say thereafter.”
    Yeah. Because YOU are the one that just lets things slide. Riiiiiiight.

  8. monger says: Nov 6, 2008 7:37 AM

    So Terry Bradshaw isn’t dead? When did that happen?

  9. bleedsorangeandbrown says: Nov 6, 2008 8:42 AM

    I thought Turkey Jones killed Bradshaw…

  10. zygi milf says: Nov 6, 2008 9:12 AM

    This just in….Generalisimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

  11. Vox Veritas says: Nov 6, 2008 10:25 AM

    Florio I’d feel bad for you if I didn’t know that you’re even worse than Eskin in that regard. Eskin worries about ratings, all you worry about is clicks and it’s obvious that you don’t care how you get them and will say absolutely anything about anybody except those that you like, and those that pander to you.

  12. Mike Florio says: Nov 6, 2008 10:30 AM

    Hey Vox, shouldn’t you be sitting on the floor turning the lamp on and off over and over again as your contemplate the reality that your Cowboys are 5-4?

  13. Pea Tear Griffin says: Nov 6, 2008 10:35 AM

    The Burger King mascot (Howard Eskin) is terrible. Cannot stand the guy.

  14. NoWearMan says: Nov 6, 2008 12:39 PM

    And Vox keeps on a-clickin’, doesn’t he?

  15. texasPHINSfan says: Nov 6, 2008 12:51 PM

    i appreciate the fact you can embrace & acknowledge the mistakes you’ve made… actually its humbling & as you said, florio, you learned from it.
    i remember this whole affair and it was a good source of enjoyment for me. :)
    keep up the good work!

  16. Skew says: Nov 6, 2008 1:01 PM

    Mike Florio says:
    November 6th, 2008 at 10:30 am
    Hey Vox, shouldn’t you be sitting on the floor turning the lamp on and off over and over again as your contemplate the reality that your Cowboys are 5-4?
    ———————————————————————-
    lol

  17. freedomispopular says: Nov 6, 2008 3:44 PM

    Florio, how about we add a greatst moments in PFT history number 8: FLORIO AND VOX GET IN A CATFIGHT. lol

  18. JawadSuggs says: Nov 6, 2008 4:22 PM

    Vox Veritas and I agree for the first and probably last time ever.

  19. PrettyFnTubular says: Nov 6, 2008 6:14 PM

    Howard who?

  20. Elaw6 says: May 8, 2009 1:50 PM

    Is He DIED?

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