As you’ve undoubtedly heard elsewhere, ESPN announced this morning they’d not be renewing the contract of longtime columnist,  Grantland & “30 On 30” creator Bill Simmons, a decision the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir claims came as a surprise both to Simmons and most of his co-workers.

Simmons’ differences with the network and resulting punishments have been well documented, though it’s being widely claimed that a Thursday appearance on former “SportsCenter” anchor Dan Patrick’s radio show in which Simmons sneered that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “lacked the testicular fortitude” to take action against Tom Brady without first gauging public reaction, was well, the straw that broke the camel’s back, if not the Worldwide Leader’s patience with arguably their most popular personality.

Simmons’ next move will probably be something more lucrative / prominent than say, former on-air personality Jay Mariotti’s current gig with a San Francisco coupon shopper. On Friday, Mariotti gloated that perhaps Simmons wasn’t much of a talent to begin with, adding, “ESPN created a superfan, now ESPN has uncreated him. Superfans are not real and don’t have staying power.” So congrats on achieving the impossible, Jay. You’ve now got me rooting for Bill Simmons.

Despite blocking me on Twitter (?), I wish Simmons no ill-will whatsoever. As implied or stated on countless occasions around here, I’m clearly not a fan, but yeah, compared to Mariotti he’s a fountain of wit and insight. Faint praise, sure, but when the guy loses a $6 million a year gig by running to the aid of the persecuted Tom Brady, you can’t say he’s strayed from his roots.