Often, you can read the headline of a story and immediately know who the author is. Some headlines by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee will include his uniquely fun brand of wit. Tim Kawakami often seems like he is trying to break records for the most words in a headline. Then there are the headlines from Pro Football Talk. If it sounds like a negative take on a San Francisco 49ers topic, it will most likely be a Mike Florio article. However, one of his most recent articles was a pleasant surprise.
On Thursday, Brian Baldinger said on 97.5 The Fanatic, a Philadelphia radio station, "I already hear there's problems in the building between Chip and Baalke." He was referring to new 49ers head coach Chip Kelly and team general manager Trent Baalke. Given the source, which we will get to shortly, most within the media dismissed the quote and went on with their day. When a story on the topic emerged Friday on Pro Football Talk, fans likely groaned and figured that it was Florio adding fuel to the fire and trying to make a story out of something others had just ignored. Actually, what Florio wrote was the exact opposite and somewhat refreshing considering it was coming from the national media.
Florio started his article by stating that the only reason he was addressing it was because he was receiving so many reader submissions.
"NFL analysts hear a lot of things. And just because they hear things, it doesn't mean those things they hear are accurate," said Florio regarding the Baldinger quote. He went on to say, "So I'll wait until a reporter from NFL Network or ESPN or FOX Sports or CSNBayArea.com or the Sacramento Bee or the Bay Area News Group or the San Francisco Chronicle reports this before concluding that it's true. Or I'll wait until I've heard the same something from a sufficiently reliable source or sources."
He would end the article saying, "While it may be inevitable that problems arise between a coach and G.M. whose marriage feels like a ceremony that involved a shotgun, it seems too early for problems to arise, especially since Kelly is smart enough to realize that he needs to conduct himself differently than he did in Philadelphia."
On Friday, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee also shared his thoughts on the topic when asked by a reader. He had the following to say.
"Well, you have to first consider the source. Brian Baldinger (Fox Sports NFL analyst; Eagles preseason TV analyst) is affiliated with the Eagles, who have been tripping over themselves to undermine Chip Kelly since he left town. One probably should take anything the Hatfields say about the McCoys with a grain of salt.
"Kelly and Baalke were hanging out next to one another during the 49ers' recent pro day – they were watching Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan throw passes to receivers, including Stanford's Devon Cajuste – and seemed to be perfectly chummy."
Barrows would go on to speculate that the Colin Kaepernick situation might be the source of the tension. "Maybe Kelly arrived in San Francisco thinking he would have two former starters in Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert to work with and is dismayed that the 49ers are prepared to trade Kaepernick," said Barrows.
The remark by Baldinger appears to be a non-story for now and the media is treating it as such, which is a refreshing change. It will likely remain as such until someone more objective reports the same thing.