Man Who Accidentally Stole Falcons’ Super Bowl Game Plan: ‘Bill Belichick Didn’t Pay Me Off’
During media night, San Francisco Examiner columnist Art Spander accidentally took the backpack of Atlanta Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan—which contained his game plan—and promptly walked away.
He had no clue what chaos he had just caused.
“You know how you land at the luggage area and they say, ‘If any bags look the same?’ That’s what happened,” Spander told SB Nation. “The good thing is I got my computer. He got his game plan. Neither bag was opened.”
“Bill Belichick didn’t pay me off. He doesn’t even know who I am,” Spander said. “My favorite Belichick interview was after they lost to the Giants about five years ago, it was in Arizona for the Super Bowl, and he was about as sour as a lemon — ‘Yeah. No. They played well. We didn’t play well.’ So I’m certainly not going to be an advocate of his.”
Spander had Shanahan’s bag for about 25 minutes.
“And all of a sudden I’m getting these phone calls — ringing, ringing, ringing — one after another,” Spander said. “I don’t know what’s going on, and I see the number ‘703,’ which is the area code here, and I thought it was somebody trying to reach me from one of the papers, and I get this message talking about, ‘come back to Kyle Shanahan.’
“I don’t know what they’re talking about. But I had my backpack with me, or I think it’s mine. I walk back, and I see somebody from the Falcons go, ‘There it is! You have it!’ And I say, ‘What?’ And he says, ‘Shanahan’s backpack.’ I said, ‘Oh!’”
After the mix-up was resolved, Shanahan told Spander that the bag had all of his game plans in it. Spander told Shanahan, “’I don’t care about the game plans, I’d be lost without my computer. That’s more important to me than game plans.’”
“Nothing phases me. I covered Marilyn Monroe’s funeral, I covered a riot in Los Angeles,” Spander said. “In other words, this is sports, fans are crazy, I understand that, they don’t like what you write.”
Then he added: “I don’t even know how to read a game plan.”