All I can really say is read this story by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard. I don’t even know where to begin in terms of describing what it is about.
Just set aside a few minutes to read this wild and highly entertaining tale. You will be glad you did.
When you begin working at a new job you’re bound to hear certain tales, perhaps apocryphal, perhaps embellished. For those of us who arrived at SI around the turn of the millennium, such was the story of Rick Telander and the Super Bowl hobo. The tale usually came out over beers at some dive bar, late on a hazy New York City night when the magazine had been put to bed but we were still wired. Inevitably, someone would bring up the story about the time that Telander, the bard of SI, decided to write the magazine’s biggest story of the year from the perspective of a hobo. As the tale went, Telander wrote the piece on a Sunday-night deadline, filed at 6 a.m. Monday, and then was ordered to rewrite it—on no sleep, in a matter of hours—before the Monday night close. As reporters, we loved this anecdote because, for starters, Who writes that story to begin with? The balls on Telander! Second, He wrote a Super Bowl gamer in two hours!? We also derived a measure of comfort from it all. Even Telander got his copy ripped by editors; we could all feel better about our own failings.
For all the tellings, however, we never found out if that story was true, perhaps out of some fear that it might disappoint.
But it does not. It is grander and stranger than we imagined.