Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Jun 2007

UPDATE: Familiar Words on NFL.com

Our situation with NFL.com regarding the Gil Brandt article that sounded familiar to our college quarterback research has finally come to a resolution today. I just wanted to alert those readers who were concerned, and thank the people at NFL.com. Once the proper person found out what the situation was, he moved fairly swiftly to come to this resolution. We just had to wait a long time for the right guy to find out what was going on. There's a notation on this page, then click on the bottom of this page for Brandt's more extensive clarification. And, if you would allow me to completely switch topics for a moment, I apologize for the lack of XP posts recently. This really is the NFL dead period, and there's nothing for anyone to write about, which gives us very little to link to besides the usual minicamp "quarterback says rookie receiver Joe Schmo is awful swell" nonsense.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 12 Jun 2007

37 comments, Last at 13 Jun 2007, 10:50pm by Zac


by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:39pm

Good to hear this got resolved. And any press for you guys is good press, I suppose. I'd like them to pimp you out further as restitution, but that's okay.

Can we get some 'best of' hits from last year as article filler, perhaps?

by Zac (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:39pm

Good. I don't think this is Gil Brandt's death blow or anything, but at least you got him to admit that he took the information from somewhere.

by Tighthead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:42pm

is MMQB no longer an automatix XP? Or only for the offseason?

by eagletom (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:47pm

Victory for the Outsiders! That's a good good thing. It's such a small thing, but it's nice to know that NFL.com actually listen to their audience.
Interesting that Brandt's 'clarification' was more of an apology, not an explanation, but then again I guess you aren't going to get 'well, I had a deadline to meet before the draft so I just ripped some stuff off and hoped no-one would notice. After all, pretty much all football journalism on the web rips off other articles, pretty much verbatim, I thought we were allowed to be this crappy' up there in black and white, are you?

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:48pm

Glad to see this resolved.

The problem with the lack of XPs is that visiting a site is a question of habit. I would encourage you to run with one story a day - for instance today Pacman Jones dropped his appeal, surely worthy of some coverage.

Perhaps get an intern / volunteer to take over XPs during this period?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:57pm

Given the time it took get this from Brandt, it's fair to conclude he is a lowlife, which is something I've long suspected.

by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 4:59pm

Good. I wonder if Brandt was punished in any way by NFL.com.

As for the NFL dead period, what about an XP on the story linked in my name, which says Randy Moss was dogging it at Patriots minicamp? This story seems to counter conventional wisdom (cough "MMQB" cough), which gushes that the Patriots had "THE BEST OFFSEASON EVER" (in large part due to the acquisition of Moss) and suggests that the Patriots can start making space in the trophy case for another Vince Lombardi trophy next February.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 5:06pm

Good to see that there is some resolution here.

In the past 24 hours, I think the fact that Pacman dropped his appeal, and the fact that the NFLPA produced evidence (in the form of canceled checks) of giving more than $10,000 to one of the retired players that has been complaining about getting "nothing, never" might be worthy of XP's (the fact that said player's former teammates said they saw him a few weeks ago and he needed no cane nor assistance walking, yet did so severely during his press conference days later is also interesting).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 5:42pm

Yeah, like I said previously, the remarks Upshaw made are inexcusable for a guy getting paid several million to head up a union, but I think a lot of the criticism being directed at him is unfair, or actually concocted out of thin air.

by BruceNH (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 5:54pm


The article in question was written by Michael Felger, an ambitious contrarion reporter in Boston. He has been on this Randy Moss is a dog routine ever since they signed him. He has valid points, but he also has an agenda. My thought when I read the article was "How many veterans don't go 'all out' in mini camp." I am willing to wait until training camp at least before I say Randy Moss is dogging it.

by GregW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:00pm

Honestly, I seriously doubt any even contacted Brandt about this until recently. Probably caught in the quagmire that is corporate America.

Seriously, why would he choose to cite one source and not another? I honestly think he's just old, and can't remember where he put his pants, let alone where he got some info.

by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:05pm

BruceNH: Thanks for the insight. From reading this site for years, I knew that Ron Borges was hated in Boston/New England as an agenda-driven Patriots basher, but I didn't know about Michael Felger. After reading your explanation, I now know of his bias and will consider the source when reading his slant on things.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:10pm

GregW., I'm pretty certain that early on Brandt denied any knowledge of Football Outsiders or Lewin's work.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:21pm

Re: #14

In TMQ's column regarding the Draft, he added an addendum saying that he contacted Brandt and Brandt said he had never heard of FO or their work in this area.

Whether or not that's the case is up for debate, certainly, but via heresay (through TMQ), he gave some semblance of denying it (and I see no reason why TMQ would lie in that case).

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:45pm


Unlike Borges, Felger does generally have informative articles that show good journalistic skills, but like Borges, he has an agenda and tends to be more critical of Belichick et al. than many in the media. So he's worth reading, but you have to sift out his slant. I think it dates back to when Belichick took over. I've heard that Borges (Globe) and Felger (Herald) were very cozy with the Pete Carroll/Bobby Grier administration and had lots of access to the players/assistants/etc, plus inside sources and so forth. When Belichick took over, that ended and their inside information dried up, and they've born a grudge ever since.

I've read a number of articles about Moss in mini-camp, and Felger's is the only one that is significantly negative. Once source that I read (don't remember which one, but I feel like it was either Patriots.com's own mini-camp report, or one of the other Herald writers) implied that Moss, like many new veteran free agents, wasn't necessarily going all out in mini-camp because he's still learning the playbook, but that he did have some fantastic catches and did succeed in making Eugene Wilson and Chad Scott look bad on a few plays (not that that's an amazing accomplishment, but still...). We'll see after training camp.

From what I've heard, it sounds like Stallworth is performing up to expectations, Welker and Gafney are exceeding expectations, it's too early to tell with Moss, Caldwell is playing well otherwise but dropping balls, and Washingtong is struggling.

Sorry, this is turning into a Patriots thread-jack. I apologize. Back to Gil Brandt.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:47pm

The tone of the explanation/apology sounds like Brandt got his hand slapped, and NFL.com concedes that they did bad. This may be a case of FO going from a little-known private website to a major football reporting news-outlet, and the established media not noticing their new competition (or at least, taking a lot longer to notice than the fan base/public at large). Wouldn't be the first time.

by James G (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:56pm

16 - That seems somewhat likely until you consider that the examples were actually heisted from an article at espn.com, which probably actually has more readers than nfl.com.

by admin :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 6:58pm

Actually, ESPN Draft magazine. Our material does not appear on ESPN.com because of our relationship with FOXSports.com.

End Pats hijack; I added a Moss XP. I'm not going to add a Pac-Man XP because there is nothing to say and it will just degenerate into another racial argument and that drives me nuts.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 7:15pm

Why can't we have a MMQB XP?

by James C (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 7:18pm

Awww, why no racial argument?

That Gill Brandt, he is a thug!!

kidding, kidding ;)

by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 7:19pm

Well, the damage is done and the apology didn't do much. Now every time I think of Gil Brandt, I am going to think "plagiarist".

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 7:20pm

Glad you got the resolution you wanted, but it's a shame it took so long and that Brandt had to be pushed so hard.

Are we getting more minicamps this year?

by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 8:26pm

I'm not vastly impressed by that apology. How many people are going to read a seven-week-old article in the first place? NFL should have run it as a new story, dated 6/12.

Notice that even in his apology, Brandt still doesn't get it, referring only to games started, not completion percentage.

It beats nothing. I think better of NFL, not so much of Brandt.

by Sporran (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 8:30pm

Donovan McNabb practiced the other day. That might be worth an XP.

by morganja (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 8:40pm

I would be interested in what people have to say on the ongoing dog-fighting issue. There are lawyers and others here who have a lot of insights into the legal dance going on. The Feds stepping in, the DA trying to kill the case, the cousin trying to take all the blame while simultaneously claiming nothing went on, very interesting stuff.

by Jonathan (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 10:37pm

As a newspaper writer, I was pretty upset with what Brandt did. I think it's classless; if you aren't thoughtful enough to properly attribute who you've skimmed information from, you have no business being referred to as a writer (much less an "analyst"; how can he analyze if he's copying other people's analysis?)

As far as XP's are concerned, as a Bolts fan I'm reading that the Chargers had a 100 percent turnout for their three days of voluntary minicamps this weekend; I think it'd be cool to get some sort of graph showing the percentage of each team's players showing up for voluntary practices ;)

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 10:56pm

Re: 23

I’m not vastly impressed by that apology. How many people are going to read a seven-week-old article in the first place? NFL should have run it as a new story, dated 6/12.

Not many, but Brandt's correction is the top story under his archive of articles. So if there are any Brandt fans who want to read the last thing he wrote, they will see it.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 1:50am

I always thought Brandt was a cerebral fan favorite who was a deceptively fast typist.

Now I know he's a thug who makes the throat-slashing sign to other guys in the press box as he steals their stuff. Calling the Bengals front office.....

by bengt (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 4:41am

#14: Unfortunately, TMQ's archive has wandered to 'ESPN insider', but I guess everybody here read the Brandt quote in the original 'familiar words'. So, is it only his archive, or the new articles as well? No more XPs for TMQ either?!
#24: Daunte Culpepper was not allowed to practice the other week and complained to the NFLPA, at least according to german Videotext.
#25: Please no. It may be interesting, but certainly not on a football site.

by RMGreen (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 9:42am

Glad to hear things worked out. I think changing the article and the apology are good gestures, especially considering that NFL.com could have just done nothing at all. It's about as much as you can reasonably expect.

As far as why MMQB and TMQ are not linked in extra points anymore, I'm guessing it's a similar reason to why Aaron dosen't want to post a 'Pacman Jones' article. They immediately turn into major flame-fests where posters here relish tearing the respective author (King or Easterbrook) apart for every little thing they write. Why should Aaron link to an article when 95% of the posts are negative? All it does is make FO look bad.

by James G (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 9:45am

I apologize for my error above. I misunderstood the first article.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 9:47am

Well, as to why TMQ, it's likely because TMQ has done only two columns, around the draft, since the season-ending columns. It's easy to miss the fact that he's even done a column during an otherwise long break.

As for MMQB, I think those XP's are worthwhile. Certainly there's a lot of diatribe but they also end up containing some of the longer offseason conversations.

I still think an update re: the retired player situation could merit an XP as I thought the discussion in that thread was interesting but I can live without :)

I also noted that the NFLPA filed a grievance on behalf of Culpepper this morning.

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 1:01pm

In the article, he mentions two schools had two QBs drafted the same year like it's never happened otherwise. However, Nebraska had two QBs drafted in 1972 (Jerry Tagge, Van Brownson). Florida State had two QBs drafted in 1992 (Brad Johnson, Casey Weldon). I'm sure there's more, but I don't have the time to look up stuff like USC had two QBs drafted in 1991 (Todd Marinovich, Pat O'Hara).

by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 2:07pm

It's true the crowd here tends to be harsh on Peter King, but think how much we miss him! Or more importantly, how much we miss the 100+ comment threads about his articles!

Man, you can't buy publicity like that, let alone genuine furor.

by morganja (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 6:29pm

Re: 29
That's just it. I love football because of it what it tells us about human nature. When I play, it's a completely different experience. But what I do with the NFL, follow it as a fan, is all about how people act and react to their environment, strive to be the best, compete, and choose to conduct themselves as men, or as punks. If all you are interested in is the actual contact for 10 seconds or so every minute on the field, you are really missing the entire point of sports.

by Zac (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 10:40pm

Hey, the cover to PFP '07 changed. Who is that on there? That's Randy Moss on the right. Who else is there? A SF guy, An ARI guy ... and Kevin Kolb?

by Zac (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2007 - 10:50pm

Never mind. I found the big version.
"Brady Quinn: He will prove the doubters wrong
Larry Johnson: Latest victim of high workloads
Adrian Wilson: The best safety in the NFL
Brett Favre: Going out a winner
Frank Gore: Big reason why the 49ers are back
Randy Moss: He's a cog, not a superstar"

Nice work.