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On same day ESPN article attacked Bill Belichick, ESPN announced hiring of Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick made plenty of news on Wednesday, in two different ways.

In the morning, Belichick’s failed job search for 2024 became the focal point of a lengthy article on In the afternoon, Belichick was introduced as ESPN employee on ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show.

In the interim, McAfee’s show dropped a sizable deuce on the ESPN report. The folks at have collected the clips and quotes.

It’s a sharp contrast from the days of the author of a #LongRead appearing on every ESPN show to discuss and promote it. None of the authors appeared on McAfee’s show to discuss or defend the reporting. Instead, the article was attacked and undermined, with words like “bullshit” used.

The most significant item in the report seems to be very flimsy, flimsy. The notion that Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Falcons owner Arthur Blank not to trust Belichick wasn’t attributed to a source with direct knowledge of the conversation. It was multiple steps removed, with a source who had two other sources and sources, sources, sources.

I can’t remember any NFL-related report that inflammatory being tied to a convoluted chain of human beings. So why and how did it happen?

Here’s a theory. Or at least a hypothesis. ESPN surely knew Belichick would be announced as an employee on Wednesday afternoon. Maybe someone at ESPN decided that, even though it would be an awkward contrast to have the report land on Wednesday morning, it would have been far worse if it had landed, say, today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or whenever the sourcing had been sufficiently tightened to allow such a major claim to be made on less shaky ground.

So maybe, just maybe, they got it done and pressed “publish” because they had to get it done because it would have been much harder to get it done after Belichick was announced as a contributor to McAfee’s draft show on ESPN+.

On one level, it’s refreshing to see ESPN honor its commitment to let McAfee and his crew say whatever they want. At a deeper level, this is the kind of thing that creates hard feelings and lingering grudges that can become problematic for those charged with creating a true sense of team in the building.

It’s be interesting to see what the authors of the article will do about this. Will they just let it go? Will they push back internally? Will they push back externally? These are all fair questions given Wednesday’s developments — and they add a pro wrestling/soap opera vibe that might ultimately result in greater readership and/or viewership and/or engagement for ESPN and its various platforms.