Though we’ve yet to find a report to this effect on the recently-streamlined alphabet junkyard known as, our friends at report that the ESPN bottom-of-the-screen crawl has been proclaiming that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a second X-ray on his back/ribs earlier this week.
Since all of the monitors in the media workroom are displaying only NFL Network (and we’re just fine with that), we sought and received confirmation from ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer regarding the content of the official crawl. (Not that we don’t trust our friends at Rotoworld — we’re just trying to be responsible this week. For a change.)
But the crawl doesn’t cite an internal ESPN reporter or any external sports news organization (such as, you know, the one that originally reported the news). The crawl doesn’t even include any version of the term “confirm,” a magic word that allows the ESPNs of the world to ignore that someone else initially reported the thing about which the organization in question is now reporting.
Making this whole thing even more interesting to us is the fact that, late Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s John Clayton mocked our report via a voice message he left for Omar Khan of the Steelers (or, possibly, Omar Sharif of Hollywood).
And Clayton made the call while sitting only five feet away from me.
In a sarcastic, smarmy tone, Clayton asked Omar to let him know about Ben’s condition, since it looks like Ben might not be able to play on Sunday.
I just smiled and continued to go about the business of typing whatever I was typing, knowing full well that at some point I’d be typing about this particular incident.
Look, I’ve got no problem with someone looking down his nose at one of our reports. But we all know that if Clayton or anyone else at ESPN had broken the news of a secret Wednesday X-ray on a Super Bowl starting quarterback — news that ESPN is now implicitly pawning off as its own — it would have been plugged into the continuous loop of updates on every ESPN video, audio, and Internet platform.


  1. My respect for ESPN continues to plummet… which is saying a lot given how low it is already.

  2. Mr.Florio,
    Peter King has you covered on the initial x-ray report.ESPN is reporting on a second X-ray.How did you miss this?

  3. Roethlisberger hasn’t missed a second in practice. X-ray or no X-ray, he hasn’t missed any practice. Why exactly does this story even matter?

  4. Mike – Good reporting it in the first place.
    Getting into a pissing match with ESPN is not going to work either way. After all you have been bashing ESPN for a while and we are all sure they know that. So, it is no wonder they look down on PFT especially after backing Adam Schefter over Chris Mortensen on the KC HC situation. (Which you again were right about.)
    BTW – there used to be an easy to find link on ESPN to the site. Now if there is one it is not easily found.

  5. Somebody might want to let Mike Tomlin know his QB had X-rays.
    Per King, Tomlin answered the question of whether the X-rays had occurred by saying, “Not that I heard.”

  6. florio, i love that you are there & continue to get in the situations. it must be sweet revenge for those poeple who continue to discredit PFT. keep the stories coming. they are great stories & for those of us that hate ESPN but are forced to watch it for a lack of other sports programing, it is great to see them exposed.

  7. Clayton is one of the singularly worst bimbos in the sports reporting world. He has a long history of mistakes that he never ever acknowledges. Tell the Crypt Keeper to go crawl back under whatever rock he crawled out from.

  8. You should have hit Clayton with a “Ewwww!! Tales From the Crypt! The Crypt-Keeper!!”.
    That gets him every time.

  9. This sounds like whining to me. PFT is a nice site if you don’t have anything better to do but it’s not nearly as funny as it used to be. But then again, I’m not either.

  10. Peter King also took a swipe at the xray report and also mentioned the site in a less than good way.

  11. Want some cheese with that whine? Give up on it already, its not an issue. Everyone is hurt this time of year. Ben loves drama, he is just creating entertainment.

  12. Clayton was actually making fun of you? That’s great.
    I wonder if there will actually be any issues with Big Ben’s condition come Sunday.

  13. Not a real surprise since Clayton is always smarmy and sarcastic, even by ESPN standards.

  14. Florio, I absolutely love that you are banging away at the Evil empire known as ESPN. To hear about snide J. Clayton and his demeanor towards you only reinforces my already negative opinion of the HAIR. Tell Florio JR. to start practicing drum solos on J. Clayton’s head the next time he sees him. The world and ESPN will be better for it.

  15. This is part of Ben’s strategery. Every time he loses a big game, he has an injury to fall back on.
    It goes like this.
    1. Big game coming up.
    2. Throw out rumours or make it look like you are in pain.
    If you win the game, you don’t bring it up.
    If you lose, you say “I’m not going to blame my performance on my _____. I’m just not that type of person. I take full responsibility.”

  16. Mike,you need to report that Big Ben will not return for the second half and Leftwich will win the game in over time for the Steelers.
    Please do this now.Let the “Real Media”have a little fun with you,and on Monday you will replace Clayton on ESPN.

  17. I’m sure it feels good to say, “Who cares! Big Ben is gonna play so it doesn’t matta!” But if that’s how you feel then you are reasoning that Ben has just been feeling so super awesome this week that he talked someone into letting him get another x-ray. It’s not like something is still bothering him physically and they want to find out where the problem is coming from, right? Gonna play does not = 100%.

  18. Florio It’s great to read that you’re not intimidated by the
    crypt keeper John Clayton of ESPN. ESPN does need competition.
    Florio look at the positive side of being some what anonymous.
    You can get a lap dance in Tampa and not be recognized.

  19. Screw Clayton and “BS”PN.
    BSPN hasn’t been enjoyable to watch since Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann stopped doing SportsCenter as a team… about 15 friggin years ago.

  20. “Making this whole thing even more interesting to us is the fact that, late Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s John Clayton mocked our report via a voice message he left for Omar Khan of the Steelers (or, possibly, Omar Sharif of Hollywood).”
    I guess confidentiality of sources only count when they are your sources.
    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  21. I hate Clayton, I’m glad you’re getting under his skin. ESPN used to be the top dog in sports news, but now they’re just a second-rate organization. I used to visit that site 10-15 times a day, now i visit this site 25-40 times a day…yeah, my job is boring. Hey, anyone else miss Sean Salisbury?

  22. be careful florio, john clayton is an alien…how the hell else would he get a job on tv…it is called mind control…. watch out!!

  23. “Look, I’ve got no problem with someone looking down his nose at one of our reports.”
    Which is why you just trashed Clayton and penned this lengthy defense of your likely inaccurate report, right?
    You should stick to riling up the Dallas Cowboy haters for ad revenue.

  24. right-here-i-say says:
    “This is part of Ben’s strategery. Every time he loses a big game, he has an injury to fall back on.”
    Of course prior to the last Super Bowl there was talk of injuries to Brady….

  25. Kevin from Philly says:
    January 30th, 2009 at 11:14 am
    Just rub a pork chop on Claytons’ suit before he talks to Sapp.
    Great line! The picture this impresses is even funnier…

  26. right-here-i-say says:
    “This is part of Ben’s strategery. Every time he loses a big game, he has an injury to fall back on.”
    The only problem with your theory is that Ben doesn’t lose the “injury” games. He wins.
    Besides, how many big games has he lost? The 2004 AFC Championship and the 2007 Divisional playoff game.
    The dude is 7-2 in playoff games. I don’t think he’s making many excuses.

  27. Stay true to your guns Florio.
    You get more respect (not coverage) than those Espn clowns anyways.
    Clayton is a joke. Especially after the KC debacle.
    Espn should stick to showing games, not commenting on rumors and the such.
    Leave that to the guys who do it well.
    Nice work. It’s been great hearing you talk to all the guys on radio row.
    Your true excitement as a fan really comes through.
    Thanks again.

  28. This pussy has an x ray every time he has a bowel movement…such a pansy ass, drama queen.

  29. Mike, tell Clayton that all would be forgiven if he’d just cut/shave those 3 frigging strands of hair that cling lifelessly to his cranium.

  30. 1. AMEN!!!!
    2. TMZN sukz (except for Hoge)
    3. That’s Khan of Star Trek fame….KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
    4. *GOD* see #1
    5. Rich Eisen is a clown. Just sayin’.

  31. What you should be reporting on is the cheap shot that caused all this in the first place.

  32. Florio beats ESPN again… and they clearly hate it.
    Tell us more about Shanahan going to the Chefs, ESPN- we’re all ears.
    Trust in Schefter – all others pay cash.

  33. Well, anyone who thinks this injury drama that Ben has created is something to poo poo like Coach Tomlin is doing evidently is making a mistake. This sounds like the Brady ankle/foot bit again. Last year, the Pats and even ESPN poo poo’d the injury and said it was not gonna be a big deal. Well, it WAS. Yes, the Giants’ defense played a big part, but that ankle injury definitely limited Brady. He was not moving up in the pocket alot like he usually does.
    Same thing here. Not only does Ben have a back issue, he has a rib problem and that Cardinals Defense will want to take shots at him in that area. It will be a big deal if Ben takes enough shots. He is not SUperman. The body can only take so much.

  34. Douche Burns strikes again:
    Ben’s health is often the subject of inaccurate reports.”
    –Mike Tomlin
    That’s because he makes crap up. Francine Burns needs to stop trying to defend this prima donna drama queen because he’s making you look really stupid. Little Jen keeps making up injuries to get attention and somehow you keep defending him, even though he makes you look like a fool every time. Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sorry Francine, Little Jen is the King of all Drama Queens.

  35. I sometimes have nightmares about Clayton. He needs to stop doing tv and start doing radio.

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