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Chris Mortensen

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This article is about the journalist. For the supercentenarian, see Christian Mortensen. For the Danish ornithologist, see Hans Christian Cornelius Mortensen.
Chris Mortensen
Born Torrance, California
Occupation Sports columnist

Chris Mortensen (born November 7, 1951) is an American journalist providing reports for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and He also has his own Web page (linked off that launched in 2000.

Early life

Mortensen attended North Torrance High School in Torrance, California, and El Camino College before serving two years in the Army during the Vietnam War.[1] He is the author of the 1991 book Playing for Keeps: How One Man Kept the Mob from Sinking Its Hooks into Pro Football, currently out of print.


Mortensen says his journalism career began once he realized that he no longer could compete in football, basketball and baseball beyond high school. He forsook his goal of being a teacher and coach when he realized how competitive sports journalism could be. Since starting his career with the Daily Breeze newspaper in Torrance, California in 1969, Mortensen has received 18 awards in journalism. In 1978, he won the National Headliner Award for Investigative Reporting in all categories. In 1999, he made a film on "The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling".[2]

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From 1983 to 1990, Mortensen worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, filing investigative reports and covering the Atlanta Braves (1983–85), Atlanta Falcons (1985–86) and the NFL (1987–89). In 1987, he was honored with the George Polk Award for his reporting, and he remains the sole sportswriter to receive the award since Red Smith in 1951.

The National

He previously covered the NFL for The National (1989–90), where he was one of the first writers hired by editor Frank Deford.


Since first appearing on ESPN in 1991, Mortensen has provided reports for the network's Emmy Award-winning programs NFL GameDay/NFL Countdown/Sunday NFL Countdown and the Outside the Lines series. He has also served as an analyst for ESPN's coverage of the NFL Draft.


Mortensen is a Christian.[3] Mortensen's son Alex Mortensen was a free agent quarterback in the NFL. He was cut from the Tennessee Titans on August 11, 2009.

Deflategate controversy

On January 21, 2015, Chris Mortensen reported erroneously that 11 of the 12 footballs used in the American Football League (AFC) Championship Game on January 18, 2015, between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts were 2 pounds per square inch (PSI) under NFL regulation.[4] The Wells Report findings showed that only 1 of 22 readings (with each ball tested twice with different gauges except the intercepted ball) showed to be under by 2 PSI. The rest ranged from 1.8 to 0.2 PSI below.[5][6] Despite being debunked in the Wells report, Mortensen's original story remained posted on ESPN as late as August 13, 2015 with no retraction, clarification, or apology.[7]

Chris Mortensen was set to appear on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan radio show on July 31, 2015, but cancelled. According to WEEI, Chris Mortensen stated he "will not allow WEEI, [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft or anybody to make me the centerpiece of a story that has been misreported far beyond anything I did in the first 48 hours."[8]

On August 3, 2015, Chris Mortensen attended an interview regarding his controversial tweet about the underinflated footballs on ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show. Shortly after, he deleted the controversial tweet from Twitter.[9]


  1. ^ "Chris Mortensen - Chris Mortensen bio -". Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ Ingle, Zachary; Sutera, David M. (2013). Gender and Genre in Sports Documentaries: Critical Essays. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 171. ISBN 9780810887879. 
  3. ^ "Chris Mortensen". 
  4. ^ Chris Mortensen, "11 of 12 Pats footballs underinflated", ESPN, January 21, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  5. ^ Doug Kyed, "DeflateGate Fact Or Fiction: Wells Report Findings Expose Media Leaks", NECN, May 7, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Michael David Smith (August 4, 2015). "Six months later, Mortensen deletes inaccurate Deflategate tweet | ProFootballTalk". Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ Chris Mortensen, "11 of 12 Pats footballs underinflated", ESPN, January 21, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  8. ^ Mike Florio, "Mortensen pulls plug on WEEI appearance", NBC Sports, July 31, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  9. ^ Mike Cole, "ESPN’s Chris Mortensen Deletes Tweet Containing Incorrect Deflategate Report", NESN, August 4, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015.

External links