I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect that in private life, Dan Shaughnessy is a man of iron routine, someone who finds something that works for him, and then does not deviate from it. He’s likely someone who doesn’t handle change very well, and tries his hardest to manage his life in such a way that not much surprises him. We heard stories about how he had the same crappy car for years and years – it was an ongoing joke during the early WEEI days, before the Globe ban. He’s written a column about his obsession with running exactly one mile on a treadmill every single day no matter what. (A MILESTONE, IN SLOW MOTION)

This resistance to change is apparent in his work, where he provides a mad-libs series of column templates, which are used over and over again. Within these recycled columns, he even recycles elements and references, (tomato cans, Animal House, Warren Zevon, Amos Alonzo Kraft, etc etc etc) most of which are terribly dated, but as mentioned, Shaughnessy’s not big on change.

Where’s the genius part, you ask?

Somehow, Shaughnessy has managed to continually pull off the exact same Jedi mind-trick over and over and over. He gets not only Boston, but opposing cities, and national networks to fall for his schtick and give him the attention (and yes, money!) that he is looking for.

Let’s run through the last 48 hours, so that you can see what I’m talking about here.

On Tuesday, Dan’s horrendous column on Patriots/Colts is published. It’s written in such a way that it will make both sides angry. In a nutshell, the theme is The Patriots suck, but the Colts still can’t beat them.

Patriots fans who read the column – and that number dwindles by the day – were furious. Just another hackjob on the Patriots, and this time he included among the usual drivel, the jab that Gerry Callahan suggested he should use – the one about the life guard chairs.

Even though the column is decidedly anti-Patriots, the title is Colts won’t be a challenge for the Patriots.

Naturally, that headline made its way to Indianapolis, where people who aren’t familiar with Shaughnessy on a daily basis took it at face value and were outraged. One semi-prominent Indianapolis blogger said the following of the column:

…since when is a columnist nothing more than a cheerleader for a team they cover?  This column would have made for a good call to a sportstalk station from a deranged and myopic fan.

Just stop and think for a minute here. Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column that bashed the Patriots, and yet there are people out there who think that the column was him cheerleading for the Patriots.

Talk about Jedi mind tricks…

There is just enough in the column for both sides to pick and use as evidence for their side. Genius!

What does this get Dan? He gets to make the media rounds. When doing shows, invariably when he is in the opposing city, instead of being the bombastic columnist, he becomes the humble scribe who is really just a nice guy doing his job, who doesn’t really know much about football, and Gee whiz fellas, I sure hope the Colts can come in here and beat the Patriots!

He writes the column prior to his weekly appearance on 98.5 the Sports Hub – think about it, he could’ve easily written that column to appear today, but instead, he got to bask in the attention yesterday on the radio, and then in the evening do the TV side, which gives us this.


NFL Network mentioned the column last night, had Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star on to give “the other side” thus portraying Shaughnessy as some sort of homer columnist blindly rooting (ironic, huh?) for the Patriots.

So with one trolling column, Shaughnessy managed to do the following:

  • Get both fan bases steamed at him- and talking about him.
  • Cause an uproar on Twitter and the blogosphere. ( I SWORE I was not going to write about this. And I still did.)
  • Get national attention for himself.
  • Make multiple (paid) radio and television appearances.

The thing is, HE DID THIS LAST YEAR TOO. Exactly a year ago. He’s done it dozens of times.

The exact same playbook.

And yet, everyone falls for it again. They give him exactly what he is seeking, and do so without hesitation. I’m doing it right now.

The man is a genius. He just is.

He revels in your hatred, and has for a long time.


The only way to make him go away is to ignore him, and many out there have been able to do that, and their sports lives are happier for it.

Unfortunately, there are plenty who can’t, and the biggest offenders are his fellow media who, mindless drones that they are, when he writes something like this can’t wait to get him on as a guest and take advantage of the publicity (and most times, anger) of the local fans.

Forget the Jedi mind tricks, Shaughnessy is The Emperor.

You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.

The more we get angry at him and give him attention, the more power he has over us. He knows that, and keeps it coming. We need to break the cycle.

I’m as guilty as anyone else. I try not to mention the guy, and yet, I still get sucked in and find myself writing 1000-word posts like this one.

For that, I apologize. I’m apparently no match for the genius of Dan Shaughnessy.


14 thoughts on “Appreciating The Unmatched Genius Of Dan Shaughnessy

  1. He claims to know nothing about football yet he has football journalists and columnists alike referring to his work as Gospel. Genius.


  2. With John Henry piloting the Globe ship now, and with Shaughnessy toiling behind their ‘You’ve-Been-A-Bad-Boy’ pay-wall, someone is going to decide that his largess is uneconomical…especially when the only way he can broaden his reach is through antics like this. I cannot believe Shaughnessy is any more popular inside the walls of The Globe’s Soviet-styled fortress than he is on the outside.


  3. I don’t read the physical paper and he’s behind a paywall, therefore this troll doensn’t exist unless he’s directly in front of me.


  4. It’s a lose lose. If you say nothing about his dumb crap it is like he is getting away with something. If you point out the crap he wins because he got you reading and talking about him. I guess we can all take comfort in the fact that with each passing day he is one day closer to retirement.


  5. Bruce, I’m a big fan of the site but I really think you should just table any and all CHB posts. Why play into his game?


    1. I really agree. Bruce, you run a great site but I’m pretty confident that most of your readers know exactly what CHB is and does and don’t need to be reminded. He’s not going to get away with anything if you don’t call him out because – as you note – calling him out is exactly what he’s playing the game for. He’s a classic troll.


  6. I saw that, and immediately thought of his I’m-just-asking-questions Ortiz column from this year. Pretty much sums him up – not willing or able to do any real research or investigation, just interested in raking muck. I guess it works!


  7. Keep up the fight. His laziness evident in his HoF column today. Makes a reference that if the character clause went away then Rose and Joe Jackson would get in. Not much of a baseball journalist either if he fails to grasp that they are banned from baseball and the character clause has nothing to do with their failure to appear on the ballot.


  8. Shank-free post from me about something totally off topic as I’m tired of anything having to do with that track (combo troll-hack).
    This year’s Pats roster features no fewer than 11 guys that weigh 300+ pounds with another just behind at 295. A linebacker (Dont’a Hightower) is 6′ 3″ and weighs 270 pounds.
    In contrast, a generation ago the highly entertaining and competitive 1976 team (which was robbed in a playoff game by the ultimate phantom call of all time by a corrupt ref) had ZERO guys who weighed 300 or more pounds (its heaviest player weighed “just” 275), and had a guy playing defensive end, Julius Adams, who was the same height/weight as Hightower.
    Yeah, I’d say the game has changed just a bit.


  9. “So with one trolling column, Shaughnessy managed to do the following”

    You forgot one: Generate Globe publicity.


  10. WSJ had some fun:

    How many times has Bill Belichick smiled this season? @WSJSports put it to a count. on.wsj.com/1gmFJvv


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