One way Reilly might still live up to his contract by playing to his strength: he is actually a talented and underrated reporter. (Remember in 2001 when he broke the news that Michael Jordan was considering coming back a second time? He was pilloried for that story, but it turned out to be spot on.) He seems to know it, too, which is why he was so insistent Monday night that ESPN host Stuart Scott credit him with breaking the news on Twitter that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was en route to the hospital with a serious shoulder injury.

There were three snags, however. First, anyone watching Monday Night Football knew Big Ben was in bad shape—he wasn’t playing, after all, and ESPN showed him leaving the sideline and heading down the ramp away from the field. Reilly added nothing of substance to the obvious conclusion that Roethlisberger was hurt. Second, several others, including Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Dejan Kovacevic, had tweeted the news long before Reilly. And third, when ESPN threw coverage back from Bristol to Pittsburgh, where Scott, Reilly, and others were covering the game, viewers were accidentally treated to the sight of Reilly telling Scott to make sure to give Reilly all the credit (which drew a hilarious “C’mon, dude” stare from Steve Young).

ESPN keeps telling sports fans that Rick Reilly is worth reading/watching/listening to. Sorry, guys, some of us are just not that far inside the bubble.


Robert Weintraub is the author of The House That Ruth Built. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Slate, and a television writer/producer based in Atlanta.