The Anatomy of the Freak Out Over Tom Brady’s Knee

How everybody absolutely lost it over Brady's injury.

So what is the Boston Twitter equivalent of somebody yelling fire in a crowded movie theater? We found out at just about 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday. Let’s relive the Tom Brady total knee freak-out of 2013, shall we? Here we go:

To set the stage, the Patriots were having a joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Foxboro, in anticipation of their preseason game on Friday.


Hey, but everything’s OK, he returned to practice, right?


Uh oh. This doesn’t look good.


Oh, for Christ’s sake, you have got to be kidding me. Like, literally, for Christ’s literal sake. Could somebody please make me feel better about this?


Not helping, pourmecoffee guy. Has anyone even actually seen the injury? Do we know what actually happened?


Ooooh, that does not look good. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had definite flashbacks to Bernard Pollard, Week 1, 2008. But still, we don’t actually know what happened. This could be anything. A twist, a sprain, an owie, a boo-boo. There’s still at least a 50 percent chance here that Giselle could kiss his knee and make it all better, right? What are the odds that Brady could blow out the same ACL twice?

Aaaannnnd, this is where things get funky. Around about 4:30, this tweet from a guy named Michael McDonough started popping up in everybody’s timeline: “NFL Football: Report: Brady tore ACL and MCL -via Bloomberg.” WWWWHHHHHAAAAAA? Michael McDonough’s Twitter bio says he’s the “Global Head of Economics/Chief Economist at Bloomberg LP in Core Product,” which I guess makes him a credible person. And it looked like he was citing a report from Bloomberg, a credible news agency. As a result, everybody pretty much lost it.




Not helped by this, just a couple minutes later:


OH MY GOD. THEY GOTTA AIRLIFT TOMMY SO HE CAN EVAH WALK AGAIN! Las Vegas practically had a moment of silence.


But, deep breaths guys, deep breaths. McDonough, it turned out, was the only person saying Brady’s ACL and MCL were busted. And he’s an economist. Economists barely know anything about the economy, let alone Tom Brady’s knee. And the alleged report he was citing was supposed to be from Bloomberg, which, though a very fine news organization, is not exactly known as a sports powerhouse. At the risk of recycling a fairly mediocre joke I used on Twitter yesterday, this would have made sense if Brady’s knee were listed on the NASDAQ. Otherwise, why would Bloomberg know anything about it? The answer: Bloomberg didn’t know anything about it. None of Bloomberg’s actual websites or Twitter feeds were reporting anything about Brady’s ACL or MCL. This McDonough character tried to defend himself by saying he wasn’t reporting anything, rather he was pulling from some other website that had reported the news, but he’d already been retweeted about a zillion times and caused approximately 43,234 heart attacks within the Greater Boston area.

Soon enough, word started trickling out that Brady’s injury was not serious, that it was just a sprain, and everyone was able to calm down. But it’s pretty amazing what one dumb economist can do with a single tweet. Not surprisingly, McDonough has deleted all this Brady tweets from his timeline today.

But wait, what about that chopper?


Oh, right. Bob Kraft is really rich. Everybody carry on.