Even as we’ve had the day to digest the news that Andrew Luck is retiring at 29, Adam Schefter’s Saturday night scoop came from beyond the clouds. You had to check the news eight times to make sure it wasn’t some troll job. When it became clear the news was real, it was jaw-dropping. Thinking about it, it’s the biggest single NFL scoop since advent of Twitter in 2006, and it could even go back a lot further than that.
Certainly, there have been bigger broader stories than this one. The Mort 12 football Deflategate scoop would’ve been bigger than this had that info not wound up being marred by intel from the league side that was at best misleading and possibly false. Colin Kaepernick, Aaron Hernandez, Darren Sharper, Ray Rice, Spygate, Bountygate and CTE have all been bigger story subjects but there’s not really a transactional scoop that everybody associates with them.
That said, TMZ’s obtaining of the Ray Rice videos outside and then inside the elevator were absolutely massive procurements; so was Jay Glazer getting the Spygate tapes. If you count those video revelations as scoops, they may be bigger but I put them in a bit of a different category. Pete Thamel and Greg Bedard, then of Sports Illustrated, broke the news that Hernandez was questioned about the murder of Odin Lloyd, but also said he was not believed to be a murder suspect.
Brett Favre’s retirements and returns were a big deal but not quite as surprising as the Luck news. Same with Peyton Manning joining the Broncos, or any other number of surprising coaching hires or fires — Jon Gruden returning to the Raiders, Mike Shanahan fired by the Broncos, etc.
To get to the same scoop realm, I think you need to go all the way back to Chris Mortensen breaking the news late at night on ESPN in July of 1999 that Barry Sanders was retiring from the Lions. In a brief Twitter exchange with me, Mort said he agrees that Luck is the biggest scoop since Sanders and that this one is even bigger. I’ll defer to his knowledge here, but think you could make a reasonable argument the Sanders news was a bigger stunner since he was healthy whereas Luck has been battling arm and leg injuries for several years.
In any event, Schefter’s Andrew Luck scoop right now feels like it was firmly the biggest NFL scoop of the last 20 years. Even if people want to act like this was something they’ve been hearing about for weeks it was a bombshell to learn about it when we did.