Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

The Shanahan to KC (Just Kidding!) Saga

Posted by mizzou1028 on January 27, 2009

Last week was crazy for me for so many reasons, but I do have to recap some of my work week last week though.  It was hilariously entertaining (thanks to some REALLY boneheaded reporting by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in particular). 

It started Wednesday night, when the NBC affiliate in Kansas City reported that the Chiefs were negoitating with Mike Shanahan and that he could be named Chiefs coach “within 48 hours”.  I was immediately skeptical about this when I was researching it that night and Thursday night because no other media outlet anywhere was reporting it.  Not ESPN, SI, or any of the other KC media outlets or Denver media.  Being that the Kansas City Star and Denver Post both completely ignored the story in their Thursday morning editions, I was 100 percent not worried. 

I get to work on Thursday morning, and I receive the following google chat message from one of my best friends who is a die hard Chiefs fan: “One Bronco fan on the Chief board said he bumped into Shanahan’s son at a mall in Denver, and his son said he would be coaching in KC.”  My immediate reaction to this is that if the source is a fan message board, it’s automatically garbage.  Mind you also, at this point Herm Edwards wasn’t fired yet, so the whole thing seemed very sketchy at best.  Nevertheless I figure it can’t hurt to check it out, and I quickly find that there is no truth to that rumor.  It seems as though Mike’s son Kyle, who is offensive coordinator of the Texans, is not even in Denver these days, so there is no chance anyone could run into him in a Denver mall.  Further, the NFL Network’s Adam Schefter informs me in an e-mail that there has been no contact whatsoever between Shanahan and the Chiefs.  Later that afternoon we put him on our show (he is a regular contributor for us during the season) and he makes it clear that there has been no contact and that Shanahan will not coach the Chiefs in 2009.  At this point I’m very convinced that this story is done and doesn’t have any legs, even though the NBC affiliate in KC stands by its report that night that Shanahan will be the coach. 

Last Friday is when things started to get really interesting.  Right before we go on the air for our show, we see that the Chiefs fire Edwards.  We thought nothing of it because it seemed to be a matter of time.  Roughly half an hour later, my email starts to blow up with notes from Kansas City:

“The ESPN ticker is saying that Shanahan is the new KC head coach!”

“KC radio stations are reporting it too!”

“Shanahan to KC likely.  It’s showing up on the ticker!  They got the KC media guy on saying that he knows this has been in the works!”

“It’s being reported by Chris Mortensen, wow!  He really knows his stuff this is freaking happening!”

Now, I don’t get ESPN news at work, so I’m puzzled by these reports I’m getting, being that there is no mention whatsoever on actual ESPN.  Sure enough though, the phones start to ring on the call in line: “Is there any truth to the report? Is Shanahan going to the Chiefs?”  It starts get crazy, so I email our trustworthy insider Schefter.  He emails me back one word, “FALSE!!!!”.  He offers to come on the air and explain.  He starts his comments with “ESPN is wrong”.  He clarifies for us that he had just talked to Shanahan’s agent, and that even at this point there has been zero contact between the two parties.  He once again makes it very clear that Shanahan will not coach the Chiefs in 2009.  At this point we have a full blown NFL Network vs. ESPN battle, because ESPN is now blowing up Mortensen’s report, saying that Shanahan and the Chiefs are “close to a deal.” 

We were very pleased to see very quickly that Schefter owned Mortensen on this story from the word go, because it wasn’t long before Mort had to embarrassingly backtrack on air.  The language in the ESPN story changed from “close to a deal” to “the Chiefs are targeting Shanahan.”  That is a HUGE difference.  To say the Chiefs are “targeting” Shanahan only means they are interested, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the interest is working both ways.  The story even backtracked more later on from “targeting” to “eyeing”.  Mortensen even later admitted on air that his original source eventually told him there had been no contact.  So how could the sides had even been close to a deal? 

Needless to say it was very entertaining to see Mortensen stumble over himself while trying to recover from the embarrassment of being so blatantly wrong on the story.  It was very comical to see big bad ESPN be so wrong, and to see them try to cover up their mistake with creative language for the rest of the night.  On the flip side, I really have to give kudos to Schefter, who was spot on in his reporting the entire time and has been tremendous in that regard his entire career.  Schefter told us from the beginning that the Chiefs and Shanahan were never in contact, in spite of rumors to that effect for at least a week, and he was absolutely correct.  Needless we are extremely pleased to have Schefter as a regular contributor on our radio program, and I would like to take his opportunity to thank him for his wonderful and accurate reporting.  I also don’t mean to completely bag on Mortensen, who has given years of good reporting to ESPN, but he really messed this story up.  Schefter did not.  I’m still extremely perplexed at who may have given Mortensen his information that was so clearly wrong. 

For me personally, the idea of Shanahan coaching the Chiefs would been gut wrenching.  While I am optimistic about Josh McDaniels, I’m frankly still not sure if the Broncos made the right move in getting rid of Shanahan.  The idea of Shanahan enjoying great success in Kansas City would be very difficult to process, so I am glad that Arrowhead is not where he is going.  I want to root for Shanahan at his next coaching stop, for I will always appreciate the two Super Bowl wins  he helped lead the Broncos to, but that would not have been possible for me if he went to the rival Chiefs. 

My Super Bowl pick is coming later this week.  I’m honestly not sure who is going to win yet, and I need to think about it a little bit more.


2 Responses to “The Shanahan to KC (Just Kidding!) Saga”

  1. Doug Baker said

    Wasn’t it Mortenson who said Brady’s recovery was going bad and then there was this denial by other media sources? I won’t be listening to anything Mortenson says again.

  2. mizzou1028 said

    I believe that was Mortensen too. Now it seems like Brady will be fine. I’m still puzzled by who the source was that ESPN went with the story.

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