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Alex Smith, The KC Chiefs & How Rumors Get Started

We’re not professional reporters here at Arrowhead Addict.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to hold ourselves to a high standard so that you, our readers, can trust the information we bring you.

There is a lot that goes on in the Chiefs world and we work really hard to bring you all the news and information that is out there concerning your favorite team. We try to stick to credible sources that are known for routinely breaking news. If Adam Schefter of ESPN or Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports the Chiefs may have an interest in a player or are in contract talks with a player, we do our best to bring you that information as quickly as possible. If it is a report, we tell you it is a report. If it is speculation, we tell you it is speculation. If it is confirmed, by the player, league or team, we tell you that.

In short, we try to scour the web for you and curate the most interesting and credible Chiefs information that is out there. We collect it in one place so you can come to Arrowhead Addict and have your finger on the pulse of all the Chiefs action. We supplement that coverage with our own columns and opinion pieces. We also occasionally,  break stories of our own.

This morning, while searching the web for Chiefs information for today’s “The Morning Fix,” I came across a headline that immediately sparked my interest.

Report: Former Ute QB Alex Smith will ‘likely’ be traded to the Kansas City Chiefs

This was news to me and it got me quite excited that the Chiefs would be having a very full news day. I clicked on the link and it took me to the DeseretNews.com.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I look at that headline I see a story that is claiming that there is a report out there that Alex Smith is likely to be traded to the Chiefs. It indicates to me that Smith and the Chiefs will almost certainly happen.

Upon reading the article, however, I could not seem to find where the writer, a Mr. Ryan Carreon, actually says that Smith to KC is likely. I found this strange, considering what the headline of the piece was claiming.

What I did find, was this:

Fast forward 20 years, and former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith, who after recovering from a concussion was benched in favor of the younger and more mobile Colin Kaepernick, is being pursued by the Kansas City Chiefs, according to reports.

New Chiefs general manager John Dorsey recently told The Kanas City Star that the Chiefs likely won’t use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback.

There are two things wrong with these paragraphs.

First of all, at no point did John Dorsey say the Chiefs were unlikely to use their No.1 overall pick on a QB. He said nothing of the sort.

This is what Dorsey said:

“There is no quarterback where personnel guys can definitely say, ‘He’s a first-round pick,’ There were so many inconsistencies in the collective group. There was not one guy that stood up and said, ‘I’m the guy in the position this year.’ There really wasn’t one clear-cut guy.”

So Dorsey is saying that there wasn’t a clear-cut guy, during the college football season, that separated himself from the pack. He’s saying there wasn’t a guy that showed himself to be a clear first round pick.

What Dorsey doesn’t say is that the Chiefs won’t use their first round pick on a QB. While Dorsey’s words might make us think his odds of taking a QB in the first round are less likely, Drosey himself has said nothing about his draft plans int he first round.

But the big error is in this statement:

Fast forward 20 years, and former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith, who after recovering from a concussion was benched in favor of the younger and more mobile Colin Kaepernick, is being pursued by the Kansas City Chiefs, according to reports.

So just in this article alone, we’ve gone from the headline that says a Smith to KC trade is “likely” to that Smith is being “pursued by the Kansas City Chiefs.”

I’m sorry but saying that the trade is likely and that the Chiefs are pursuing Smith are two totally different statements. Also, I have yet to see a report anywhere, from anyone, that says the Chiefs are pursuing Smith.

Now in the Deseret News piece, the bit of text that says “according to reports” is a link.

“Ok,” I thought. “So the Deseret News got their story from another report and if I am to get to the bottom of this, I must go down the rabbit hole here and follow this link.”

The link took me to NBCBayarea.com.

And we’ve got another headline that appears to corroborate the Deseret News story.

Alex Smith to Chiefs Likely: Report

It’s slightly different. Notice the NBC headline doesn’t say “trade” it just says “Smith to the Chiefs” but it also says that the move happening is “likely” and it also throws in “report” there at the end.

So is NBC Bay Area reporting this?

Not exactly.

Reading the actual piece paints a bit of a different story than the headline.

Here is the important part:

No quarterbacks in the draft. Really no quarterbacks available on the free agent market.

That boils down to one solution for the Kansas City Chiefs, according to experts.

Alex Smith.

The much-maligned, then briefly-beloved San Francisco 49ers quarterback could be the best fit under center for the rebuilding Chiefs, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which analyzed the words of Chiefs GM John Dorsey.

There are clearly a lot of things wrong here. This is how the article starts.

Lets break it down:

No quarterbacks in the draft. Really no quarterbacks available on the free agent market.

As Jeff Bridges’s character “The Dude” so famously delivered to John Turturros character “Jesus” in the bowling alley in the beloved cult-hit movie “The Big Lebowski…”

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, ah, your opinion, man.”

That boils down to one solution for the Kansas City Chiefs, according to experts.

Alex Smith.

Err, ok. I am not saying there are a ton of options out there for the Chiefs but I’d be so bold as to suggest that there is more than one option, outside of the NFL Draft, for the Chiefs at QB.

But that is cool. If this is a blog post or whatever, I’ve got no problem with the writer throwing in their opinion. None at all.

What do do have a problem with is when I am unable to reconcile whether or not what I am reading is supposed to be opinion-based or if it is a news report. The title of this piece, sure as heck makes it seem like news is being report here…you know, because they used the word “report.”

Then we really get down to it.

The much-maligned, then briefly-beloved San Francisco 49ers quarterback could be the best fit under center for the rebuilding Chiefs, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which analyzed the words of Chiefs GM John Dorsey.

Holy crap! We’ve found ourself making yet another tremendous leap from the headline to the actual part in the article that is supposed to be the explanation of the headline. In the Deseret News article we went from the “Alex Smith will likely be traded to Kansas City” to Smith is “being pursued by the Kansas City Chiefs, according to reports,” to this article which leaps from “Alex Smith to Chiefs likely: Report” to “quarterback could be the best fit under center for the rebuilding Chiefs, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.”

By now you should be pulling out your hair because it is becoming pretty evident that these guys are just making stuff up. Smith likely going to the Chiefs and a veteran QB, maybe Smith, maybe being a good fit under center in KC aren’t remotely the same thing. There sure as heck isn’t any reporting going on.

Going further down the rabbit hole, we must click on this San Francisco Chronicle article and it is there where the trail runs cold.

The Chronicle, has a totally different headline than the other two.

Alex Smith, anyone? Chiefs GM doesn’t see clear-cut, first-round QB in draft

This headline, unlike the other two, is based in reality. It appears as though the Chronicle is suggesting Alex Smith as an option for the Chiefs and it is basing that suggestion on the recent words of the team’s GM, John Dorsey.

Let’s explore the article.

First the opening of the piece:

Two weeks after ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said Chiefs coach Andy Reid “really likes” Smith and courted him a bit last offseason, there is another bit of news suggesting Kansas City could have interest in making him the latest 49ers quarterback to end up with the Chiefs.

And then later:

Assuming Dorsey’s assessment is genuine, it would seem likely Kansas City would look to a veteran to improve its quarterback play in 2013. In 2012, the Chiefs went 2-14 while Matt Cassel and free-agent-to-be Brady Quinn each started eight games. The duo combined to throw eight touchdowns, 20 interceptions and post a 63.9 passer rating.

Similar to this year’s draft class, the group of available free-agent quarterback isn’t exactly loaded, with Miami’s Matt Moore and Carolina’s Derek Anderson among the headliners.

Now just to catch you up on the Dilfer stuff, the former QB mentioned that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was interested in Alex Smith “last year,” meaning when Reid was with the Eagles. That statement, naturally, set folks off on the path that the Chiefs might consider Smith, given Reid’s past interest in the QB.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Chronicle article. The writer of this article is doing what we do on Arrowhead Addict all the time. They are gather information and buzz and are speculating on what that information could mean for KC’s QB strategy moving forward. The headline is not misleading and the article makes it very clear that the writer is in no way reporting anything. The writer is simply saying that the move is a possibility and here is some evidence to back up my theory.

The whole mess seems to stem from these two lines:

there is another bit of news suggesting Kansas City could have interest in making him the latest 49ers quarterback to end up with the Chiefs.

it would seem likely Kansas City would look to a veteran to improve its quarterback play

Notice the parts in bold?

The Chronicle doesn’t even use Smith’s name in conjunction with the word “likely.”

The NBC Bay Area and Deseret News articles took this article and turned it in to something it is not. They totally ignored parts like “would seem likely” and “suggesting” and “could” and turned them in to “trade” and “likely” and “report.”

So we can see what happened here. The NBC writer read the Chronicle article and turned it into something it wasn’t, complete with a sensational and untrue headline and then the Deseret News came along, read the NBC Bay Area piece and picked up the story, clearly not bothering to trace the information back to the source, which really wasn’t source at all.

What NBC and the Deseret News did here is not much different than passing along the opinion a friend gives you in a sports bar or bowling alley as a factual report.

For instance:

Jeff Lebowski:

Hey Walter, man, what do you think the Chiefs are going to do at QB?

Walter:

Let me tell you Dude, in ‘Nom, QB’s were the first ones to get killed. But I did read in the Kansas City Star that that new GM, John Dorsey, isn’t sure if there is a QB worthy of a first round pick. If that’s the case dude, the Chiefs might have to pick up a veteran like Alec Smith or Nick Foles in a trade. OVER THE LINE! MARK IT ZERO.

Meanwhile, Donny, who also freelances for The Daily Planet, begins composing a piece for tomorrow’s paper with the headline “Alex Smith trade to Chiefs ‘likely’: Report.”

Nothing is likely. The Chronicle isn’t reporting anything.

The Chiefs may have interest in Alex Smith and they may trade for him. That isn’t likely.

It’s just my opinion.

 

I reached out to both NBC Bay Area and the Deseret News concerning these stories. I have yet to hear back from them. If I do, I will update this post.

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