If you’re a male, you like football, have a Twitter, and cared even an ounce about NFL free agency this past week, you probably know who Incarcerated Bob (@incarceratedbob) is. If you are a Jets fan, you most definitely know who he is.
Incarcerated Bob, or for short #IBN (which stands for Incarcerated Bob Nation), played a most vital role during the first week of NFL free agency. For the past year, as Twitter has expanded more and more, his coverage of professional sports transactions and news has been more impressive than Adam Schefter’s and John Clayton’s combined. Whether it be an injury, trade, signing, or whatever, this guy gets it first. And to be completely honest, I have no clue how.
As a diehard NFL fan, getting the quickest news about the league has always been something that I hold very close to me. I fein Rotoworld just as much as the next guy and refresh Pro Football Talk on a daily basis when I know something is going to go down. For the first time in my life I can honestly say that Incarcerated Bob has delivered the news quicker and better than anyone else.
Now, before in my post I said that if you were a Jets fan you must know who #IBN is. Last Thursday, he tweeted that the Jets had a deal in principle with CB Nnamdi Asomougha. When I received this news I really thought the Jets had just made the best CB duo in the history of the game. Boy was I wrong. You see, before his tweet about Nnamdi, Bob had been right about 11 of 11 free agent signings, and on this one he was finally wrong. Bob would tweet about a player agreeing with a team and then an hour or two later you would see Schefter or someone from ESPN report the news. Was he for real? Did I really just take this guy’s word to heart? I usually trust Florio, Silva, and some of the best that report true NFL news, but with the biggest free-agent signing the Jets were making in years I suddenly trusted Incarcerated Bob. Honestly, I trusted him from the start because he was the one to break the Darrelle Revis story last summer, so I still had that in mind. But at the end of the day, really? I, along with other Jets fans, was devastated when ESPN reported that Nnamdi would be signing with the Eagles. This has been his one and only slip up.
A man that could be sitting in his basement somewhere in New York (he is a NY sports fan, and he is very open about that on his Twitter) is reporting news quicker than ESPN. Are you kidding me?! ESPN pays a lot of money to get the news fast, which they never do because they are more concerned with boring features, which is beside the point. The point is that during the most important free agency period in probably the history of the league, a man who has absolutely no credibility is being taken seriously. Wow. All I can think about is a 30-for-30 produced in the near future about Mr. Bob, but probably not by ESPN (if you catch my drift).
The madness hasn’t ended yet. Minute by minute he has been reporting what free agents are going where. He has nailed every one (minus Asomougha), and I truly believe he will continue to do so. Today, he even has been tweeting about Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin’s illness by the minute, without him even being at Eagles training camp. To give you an idea of how impressive that is, there hasn’t been one report from one source besides Bob giving updates about it. Just him. That is it. Not only does this prove to be a breakthrough in a new source of sports media, but a breakthrough in the world of social media. Twitter has given anyone the chance to be a journalist, and Bob was one of the few who took his chances with his sources and has turned really himself into a fairly credible source (in some eyes). We have never seen journalists and reporters argue and talk smack over any platform of media, but things are quite different now in this day and age. Now, we will see Steven A. Smith jaw at Skip Bayless over Twitter. Or, in this case, see Incarcerated Bob talk down to the reporters from ESPN, CBS, and SI. Incarcerated Bob tweeting at Greg Papa of CSNBA, “Has anybody heard frm Greg Papa 2day? #RaidersNation has he climbed out of his “BLACK HOLE” yet? Told every1 i was wrong on Z Miller 2 Hawks.” He isn’t just calling out the radio personalities in New York sports radio and great reporters, but also the sports books that set the lines for NFL and NCAA football games. Just today he tweeted out, “#IBN we will move betting lines this year NFL / CFB Guaranteed!” What is so ridiculous about this tweet is that it is true. Until someone figures out where he is getting his information from, a tweet from #IBN will create movement on spreads we have never seen before. Bob is proving that Twitter has revolutionized communication in sports, something that has gone completely unnoticed.
So, what does this all mean? Can we believe what everyone says on Twitter? No, we cannot. But we can take everything with a grain of salt to begin with, and wait to see if it turns into so much more. Bob broke the heart of thousands of Jets fans this past Thursday. But last summer he fulfilled the dreams of those fans when he reported the Revis deal getting done. It is only a matter of time until we find out who this Bob guy is. It is also only a a matter of time until ESPN cuts him a big fat check.