By Patrick Imig
Cold Hard Football Facts' source sorcerer

In the aftermath of another miserable, suffocating season for the St. Louis Rams and their fans, the Steve Spagnuolo/Billy Devaney era has come to an end. This rumor mill swirled and nearly blew over Sunday evening like the home of the 3 Little Pigs. In this case, the pundits represented the Big Bad Wolf. These pundits helped inspire a story filled with many different sources - or just one really resourceful little source. We'll never know because sources aren't required to attach their name to their news. This isn't an indictment of incorrect guessing or reporting, it's just funny to try and figure out who these nameless, faceless people are.

So, just what did the future hold for the Rams regime after Sunday's loss to the 49ers?

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: “A Rams team source said it could go either way.”

This team source probably will be gone now that the regime is gone, so maybe he or she was holding on to the delusional faith that just maybe he or she would be around next year. How do I know? I consulted with a source profiler and this is what I was told.

ESPN's Mike Sando: “The St. Louis Rams will fire both coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney, according to a team source.” 

This is either a completely different source or Pro Football Talk only listened to half the source's statement.

Albert Breer, ”Jeff Fisher is ready to return to coaching, according to sources with knowledge of his thinking, and will be looking for a job with, first and foremost, a stable situation at quarterback.” 

Knowledge of his thinking??? Congratulations to Albert Breer for creating a source I never heard until Sunday. I wonder what the boundaries and parameters are to claim to know Jeff Fisher's thinking? It's probably somebody we would least expect who worked for/with him for years. Somebody like the equipment guy or team barber/shoe shine guy. People often talk to them like they aren't really there or at least, capable of comprehending a discernible language.

101 ESPN's Tony Softli: ”Sources say they saw Rams GM Billy Devaney clearing out clothes and his basketball a few weeks ago, loading items into his car.” 

A basketball? What about his Nerf Turbo Football? Geez. Softli, by the way, has one of the greatest mustaches in the world of football, which you can view here. A sit down interview between him and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan would be impressive.

Mike Bush, KSDK in St. Louis: “The St. Louis Rams will fire head coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest. That's according to a broadcast report by an NFL insider on ESPN.”

And with that, the local news anchor and former Rams play by play man hit the bottom of the Chain of Sources. An insider falls below the anonymous source, team source, source close to the situation, deep undercover anonymous source, source with knowledge of the subject's thinking and team official. The insider simply collects. He/she is the catfish of the pond, swimming at the bottom and eating all the source scraps that drop his/her way.


Anyone else catch Tony Romo's 1st half penalty for throwing beyond the line of scrimmage on a 3rd and 6 Sunday night? It happened midway through the 2nd quarter and was so clear and obvious that I noticed it in real time. Naturally, Cris Collinsworth offered up a goody to describe the miscue: “Alright, that was a penalty and it doesn't count. But that was also one of the most brilliant plays I've seen in a long time. As you could imagine, Romo completely lost track of where he was on the field. But to escape three or four times (pause) is just incredible."

I listened to this soundbite several times and still don't know where Collinsworth gets the idea the penalty didn't count. The penalty resulted in a loss of five yards from the spot and a loss of down. Instead of a first down or 4th and short (if Romo kept scrambling and fell forward), the Cowboys punted on 4th and 8 (the spot foul resulted in a five yard penalty after he was three yards (YES THREE) past the line of scrimmage. 

The color analyst equivalent of the Romo penalty goes like this: during a pre-recorded pre-game session, Al Michaels sneezes while asking Collinsworth if Tony Romo prefers blueberry or raspberry Toaster Strudels. The producer yells cut-cut and orders a retake, but Collinsworth answers Michaels anyway and says one of the smartest things in the history of man (Toaster Strudels are better than Pop Tarts). Even though it never aired, Collinsworth stands in awe of his commentary saying it's "one of the most brilliant things I've heard in a broadcast in a long time". 


Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons quarterback"We had opportunities the week before and just didn't make the plays. Today, we made the plays and I think that's what we needed moving forward."

Perhaps this is the difference between playing the Saints and the Buccaneers. We will see.

Rob Ryan, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator: “What the FU#K!”

The NBC cameras picked the perfect time to pan the sidelines following another Giants gash and run. 

Tim Ryan, Fox Sports commentator: “(Aldon Smith) is rock hard everywhere."

Check your physical descriptors at the pundit checkpoint next time, Tim. Or stop giving us too much information. Whichever applies we'd rather not know.

Rex Ryan, NYJ head coach: "I will always chase the Super Bowl. I believe we’ll win the Super Bowl and will believe it for the next 15 years."

Lesson to be learned: 8-8 and no playoffs whittles the Guarantee down to a Belief. By the way, the 80s hip hop group WHODINI has a message for Rex Ryan which you can listen to here.


That which is publicly stated not by the teams but by Pigskin Detention ... 

Chicago Bears: "Had no idea Jay Cutler was that good, either."

Minnesota Vikings: "We scored more points than the 12-4 Steelers."

Philadelphia Eagles: "Dreams have a better shot at coming true in 2012."

St. Louis Rams: "We beat the New Orleans Saints in 2011." 

Seattle Seahawks: "Sorry fans. We thought seven wins won you the division."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: "Our schedule was harder this year. Out of our control."

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