When the NFL finally ended its lockout, there was not only a collective sigh of relief from football fans, there was a deep breath taken by media and team staff as the free agent frenzy -- normally lasting weeks -- would be condensed into days. Teams, players, fans and the people who report on all of it would be scrambling to figure out just what the hell was going on.
In most years, that would mean keeping glued to ESPN or local media outlets for information about your team -- in the case of most Houstonians, the
Cowboys Texans. This year, there was a shift of dramatic proportions, likely hastened by the squeezed free agency period and rush to training camp. Instead of waiting for news outlets to broadcast information, everyone just watched Twitter.
Over the last few years, Twitter has become THE information source for breaking news. For those of you unfamiliar with the old school news biz, wire services like the Associated Press for many years sent news literally across wires to teletype machines in newsrooms across the world. This is how local outlets received and, ultimately, reported news.
Now, with hundreds of reporters in the field for dozens of national news outlets, news has to get into some form quickly. Twitter is how it happens. It may be a limited stream of information, but most breaking news is. People don't mind waiting for details as long as they get the headline now. News reporters are even competing with regular folks who have Twitter on their phones. If someone spots a highly prized free agent at a local airport, they just scooped the media.
Locally, we are fortunate enough to have a handful of reporters and media types to keep you posted on what is happening with our local team, the Texans. Here are five of our favorite follows locally when it comes to pro football in Houston.
5. @RichardJustice Love him or hate him, Richard Justice is one of the best follows in all of sports. Period.
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4. @awexler (Adam Wexler) and @MJ4Sports (Matt Jackson) It is difficult to separate the longtime on-air duo, now at 790 KBME. Both have their own unique takes on sports and both are active on Twitter. The combination of the two may provide one of the best link services for local sports out there as they re-Tweet pertinent information by national talking heads with regularity.
3. @StephStradley Many know her simply as "Texans Chick"; Stephanie Stradley has been a loyal follower of the Texans since day one, but, beyond that, she has become well respected for her thoughtful blogging about the team. When Andre Johnson dislocated his finger at practice on Tuesday, not only was she there, but she had photo evidence and gave play-by-play on her Twitter feed and blog.
2. @LanceZierlein Probably no one in the city of Houston provides the kind of comprehensive coverage of football Lance Zierlein of 1560 The Game does. He gets in depth and gives the kind of analysis hard-core football fans love.
1. @McLain_On_NFL Houston Chronicle NFL beat reporter John McClain has been covering football in Houston since before most of you were born. He is at virtually every practice, game, press conference, you name it. We wish he would Twitter a little more, but he has gotten substantially better over the last year and he usually has the scoop on the Texans.