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

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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.

Tom Brady walked off under his own power with a slight limp, missed one play, then returned to practice.

— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 14, 2013


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

Brady is back on the field for one play but is clearly concerned about his left knee, same one as ACL in 2008. Cones off after 1 throw

— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 14, 2013


Uh oh. This doesn’t look good.

Tom Brady injured his knee and reminder it’s TIM TEBOW’S BIRTHDAY.

— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) August 14, 2013


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?

Tom Brady may be injured. Also, a single beam of light is shining down on and following Tebow wherever he goes but it’s probably nothing.

— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) August 14, 2013


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

VIDEO: Tom Brady clutches leg during practice

— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) August 14, 2013


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.

If Tom Brady tore his ACL I will cry for days

— Chris Murphy (@c_murphy22) August 14, 2013


If Tom Brady tore his ACL again I’m jumping off the GW.

— Tyler Fisher (@ty_fisher) August 14, 2013


If it helps I will gladly donate my left knee to Tom Brady and hobble around with a garbage jelly leg for the rest of my life.

— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) August 14, 2013


Not helped by this, just a couple minutes later:

This helicopter just arrived and the place is freaking out

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 14, 2013


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

Talk about sports world stopping: Tom Brady’s left knee injury has led to suspension of all Super Bowl, AFC, AFC East odds at @BovadaLV.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 14, 2013


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?

Kraft just got into the helicopter and it’s about to take off. Nothing apparently to do with Brady.

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 14, 2013


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

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