Thank you. It’s a simple statement. My articles had a lot of them. Other musings were much more detailed, taking more time than anyone but other writers would realize. Even though I have been told it is a mistake, there were several instances where I came up with an article title before I even wrote the words. I knew the subject matter and had an outline in my head, but I also wanted to be sure the title had some sort of meaning behind it. I can’t say this one is any different. Mostly, I want to thank Andy Freeland and Cris Collinsworth for the opportunity to write and to do something I had never thought I could do. I am grateful that they saw something in my words and granted me my space on this web site for the last four years. I want to thank every single person who has taken the time to read my words. This includes the people that did not agree with me or thought my conclusions were stupid. Criticism is necessary for real solutions to occur. I thank my wife for being so patient with me and I thank the other writers at FootballPros. Some really nice friendships have formed over this little site. While I hope that all of you thought that this “thank you” existed even when unwritten, I say all of this now because I am no longer going to be writing my weekly columns here at FootballPros.
I don’t think I am going to be gone forever. As long as the site exists, I may get the urge and the time to write about something, but life has gotten to the point that the weekly submissions are no longer feasible. I’ll certainly continue to comment on the great content here.
For those interested in my journey to this point, please keep reading. I would like to lay everything out not just to give my perspective, but also to provide information to anyone willing to read. Maybe you just like reading stories. After all, telling stories is what I hope I was doing for all this time.
There are three reasons why the weekly submissions just aren’t feasible for me. First, my “real” job has gotten to the level where it requires even more of my time than ever before. I am a CFO for a small business. We have grown over the past three years, so the time commitment has grown as well. I had less time to write this season and I was less happy with my articles than I had ever been. If the readers are willing to take the time to read, then they deserve the time it takes to write a good article. Secondly, my wife and I are planning to increase the human count in our family in the near future (we include our dogs in our family). This will obviously put another strain on my time and I don’t think I could possibly ask my wife for more patience than she has already given during all those nights when I came home at 7pm, watched condensed games until 9:30pm and then wrote until after she went to bed. Maybe the real problem is that we haven’t been married long enough to get sick of each other. The third reason is related to the second reason. I just don’t think I can do the writing without a major change. Whether that change deals with my job or receiving compensation for my writing, I don’t know. Still, I do believe in the hard work it takes to succeed. If I felt that something big could happen for my football writing or for a sports career in general, I would continue.
I never really envisioned the idea of writing about sports. Despite loving sports since I was 3-4 years old (that’s when I started reading in a functional manner), my thoughts always revolved around being an announcer or being on a sports trivia show. It certainly did not help that I took a journalism class in the 11th grade and was told that I would never have the skills to write in any professional manner. So, since I loved the stats as much as I loved the sports themselves, I gravitated towards a business background in school. I gave up on any idea of having a career in sports. Being shy and too interested in trying to hang out with my close friends in college, I had no professional contacts. I trudged into the real world and got a couple of jobs before landing a growth opportunity with a small business. Six weeks before that, the sales start-up I was working for had lost the lead base and didn’t need me anymore. Interestingly, that was the day I met my wife; but that’s a story for another time.
The idea of sports popped back into my head when I thought the little company I am still with wasn’t going to make it. At the time, I was called the Business Manager. In reality, I was nothing more than a glorified clerk. I wasn’t an integral part of the business yet. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a clerk, but I wanted more and was also scared about the future. Around that time, after Bill Simmons and Adam Carolla started podcasting, I taught myself how to do it and just started recording my own. I would make sure I did the research and tried to discuss the truths that were not obvious or were not discussed in the mainstream media. For laughs, I added something like the end of The Jerry Springer Show called “The Model American of the Week.” I approached my podcasts the way I would eventually approach my writing. I tried to tell a story and wanted to make you laugh once while also hoping to make you think once during every podcast.
Then, Cris started FootballPros and promoted it on a podcast with Bill Simmons. Believe it or not, until that day, I had never written a sports opinion down or joined a message board or fan web site of any kind. I was hooked. I had fun coming up with ideas and seeing them play out. I still consider “The Draft Analyzer” as one of the greatest things I have done. If unfamiliar, I was compiling draft data on my own to figure out stats on busts, retention rates and such about a year before they started getting published by big name media outlets. One day, Andy contacted me and let me know that they wanted me to write for the site. Even now, it is pretty unbelievable to me that it happened. What about that Honors English teacher who taught the journalism class?
Well, she was somewhat correct. My grammar and sentence syntax have never been up to snuff. It’s gotten a lot better since those first few articles, but I change tenses and commit comma splices at a rate faster than Belichick spews snarky responses at a presser. Still, I did realize that I could always do the research and could always tell a story. I feel that my content allowed the reader to get past all the bad English. I really wonder what level I could have been (or still could be) at with more practice and with an editor who only needed a little bit of time to polish my pieces. All in all, I haven’t written very much for very long.
Overall, I think I missed whatever window I might have had. There were a couple times that I thought something big was going to happen for me. Sometimes, I considered just putting any bit of money I had to promoting myself or creating a real web site. Sometimes, I considered applying to some sites out there, but ultimately, I remained loyal to Cris and Andy and never took an extra step forward. Plus, I never really felt that I could go anywhere else. Being too self-aware on the critical side of things has always made me a less than confident person. Sure, I could feel it when an article was good, but I never could get past the errors I would later find. A sentence forgotten. A stat I should have written. Anything. We all have our things, but that is one that runs deep and holds me back. I can be my own worst enemy. Also, I missed the window of having a ton of time on my hands to work for free by about 4-5 years. I was already at the part of life where paying student loans and such prevented any notion of working for small amounts of money during the day and for no money at night. Still, that’s more of an excuse than a regret. It’s something I am comfortable with. If I didn’t take the routes I did, there is a good chance that things would be much worse than they are now for my family.
My biggest actual regret is that I didn’t do a better job with the PFF writing in 2014. There were logistical problems, but it was also true that I never could quite get down to the word limit needed. While I think that a good editor could make me better, I was creating an editing problem. Brevity just wasn’t something I was getting better at fast enough. I do think that my best writing was always between 750 to 1,500 words and I am not sure if that is something that can truly change about me. However, at the time, all I needed to provide was a sufficient adaptation of my style.
Despite that frustration, pretty much everything else has been a high note. The highest of high notes was the 42 minutes of podcasting bliss with Cris himself. That’s an audio file I hope I never lose. It’s nice to find out people are as you hope they are. I can tell you all that Andy is just as sarcastic in his emails as he is in his articles. He’s also a good guy. I’m happy that I have the rules for Beer Darts. I’ve enjoyed the 2.5 hours of research it took sometimes to write one sentence. Even the research that led to squashing article ideas was fun. Mostly, I am thankful for the fact that anybody took the time to read. My favorite things to write were the time-stamp articles for the NFL Draft and the ones where I took an old game and replayed it with words, adding comments, facts, and stats.
This is not goodbye, but it is a change to what is currently happening, so I figured that every single person who gave me the honor to read my words deserved an explanation. Maybe I even gave a few of you a reason to slack off at work. When I do fade into the internet abyss, I hope you have enjoyed or respected what I have said over the years. Thank you.
My favorite NFL Draft Article: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...-What-Happened
My favorite "Rich Watches Old Games:" -- It had two parts:
My favorite Bears article: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...Eyes-on-Cutler
My favorite article bashing the league: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...Pats-Penalties
My favorite humor article: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...he-Jets-Circus
My favorite Super Bowl article: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...-Super-Bowl-50
Aaron Hernandez: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...-Circumstances
My favorite idea that we should re-visit in the future: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...back-Portfolio
42 Minutes with Cris Collinsworth: http://footballpros.com/content.php/...cast-With-Rich