The NFL Correspondent job competition was in essence an opportunity for the average sports fan and amateur sports writer to win a real life sports job and gain access to their favorite team (their childhood team) in a way that only this competition could provide.
Bleacher Report itself is built on the average sports fan and the amateur sports writer. Bleacher Report even bills itself as being the, “The web’s largest destination for fan-powered sports content.” The mere association with Bleacher Report suggests that the competition was for the fan… the average Joe… the amateur sports writer.
The rules for the competition did not explicitly limit the competition to amateurs. However, it did limit the competition to those submitting their work on BleacherReport.com by the deadline.
How the Competition was supposed to work
Applicants were given several subjects to choose from in which they would have to write and submit a minimum amount of articles (5) within a specific deadline (May 29, 2009) about their favorite team. All submissions were to be posted on BleacherReport.com no later than the deadline date of May 29, 2009.
Once all of the articles were in, the articles would be reviewed by bleacher report staff for quality of work. The best two candidates for each NFL team would then be forwarded to CBSports.com staff for the final selection. The best candidate would then be chosen based on their written work, education, and experience.
How it really went down
In an email sent to the applicants through Bleacher Report’s Assignment Desk Editor, Rory Brown, Bleacher Report CEO Dan Kelley said,
This wasn’t an easy task since many teams had in our assessment a bench deeper than two talented writers, and in fact we ended up recommending more than 64 finalists to CBSSports.com. Additionally, as word spread about this new initiative, many veteran sports writers – most with past experience covering the NFL - submitted their resumes and writing samples directly to CBSSports.com. The backgrounds and credentials of these writers were such that it made sense for CBSSports.com to consider them in the mix as well.
Today we are pleased to announce 16 Bleacher Report finalists have been offered Correspondent positions. Unfortunately, two had to bow out for personal reasons, but 14 will begin work soon as official CBSSports.com Pro Football Correspondents. We look forward to following their progress and reporting over the course of the season.”
Dan Kelley went on to say,
And there it is. While Bleacher Report staff had so many excellent applications and written work that they submitted more than the initial 64 applicants to CBSSports.com, CBSSports.com chose to break their own rules of the competition.
What we do know is that the Bleacher Report writers were burned and CBSSports.com is to blame.