Archive for August 2012
Earlier this summer, NFL Editor Dylan MacNamara asked me to help out with writer recruitment. Now, it was already something I had been doing on my own–mostly in my spare time, but Dylan wanted me to spend more time on it and gave me some specific goals. Later, as I transitioned from editor to writer, I had a lot more time to spend reaching out to great writers around the web.
Just a personal note: doing this exercise helped me broaden my horizons a little bit as I read lots of great writing I never would have sought out otherwise. It also gave me a greater appreciation for the talent that is at Bleacher Report. For every writer we brought on, dozens lacked the creativity, the talent and (mostly) the polish I was looking for.
This is just some of the great talent that has come to B/R’s NFL coverage in the past few months, I wasn’t responsible for every one of these names coming on board, but I am very proud to call them all colleagues:
Sam Monson–NFL Featured Columnist–One of the main men over at Pro Football Focus, Sam has lent a tremendous amount of scouting talent and football acumen to B/R. Sam was one of the first people I reached out to as a guest columnist and we’re excited to bring him on board full time.
Stephen White–NFL FC-A former SEC/NFL lineman, Stephen was another person I reached out to early to be a guest columnist, but he told me that he’d lost the blogging bug. Almost a year later, I’m glad he got it back!
Ryan Riddle–NFL FC–I had zero part in bringing Ryan to B/R as he’d already been posting periodically on his own as a contributor. However, once Collin McCollough and I read through his stuff, we became huge fans advocates to get him on board in an FC capacity. Ryan is a former Pac-10/NFL lineman and one-time suitemate with Aaron Rodgers.
Marc Lillibridge–NFL FC–Marc played in the NFL, scouted for the NFL and currently represents NFL athletes as an agent. Marc reached out to me with interest in writing and bringing him onboard was a no brainer. No idea how he finds time to write AND be an agent, but we’re glad he does.
Dylan DeSimone–San Francisco 49ers FC–I found Dylan writing for SB Nation’s 49ers site and was very impressed at the quality and polish of his writing.
Brian Carriveau–Green Bay Packers FC–I had followed Brian’s work for a few years at Cheesehead TV and have actually been on his podcast. When a Packers spot opened up, he was a natural fit.
Scott Kacsmar–NFL FC–Scott has written for a ton of outlets and brings an extremely well-researched, analytical bent to his writing.
Chet Gresham–Fantasy Football FC–Chet is one of the most respected fantasy guys out there and someone we had targeted for a while.
Ian Kenyon–Green Bay Packers FC (Has since replaced me as Associate Editor)–Actually tried hiring Ian before the 2011 NFL season, but he was starting an internship with ESPN. We snagged him as a Packers FC and then locked him up to replace me as AE right before ESPN could steal him again.
Phil Gentile–Baltimore Ravens FC–Phil is better known as “I Hate JJ Reddick” on twitter and is one of the top Ravens bloggers on the internet.
Jim Day–Fantasy Football FC–Have been on Jim’s podcast a few times and followed him on Twitter @FantasyTaz. He knows Fantasy Football as well as anyone and is a talented writer to boot.
Melissa Heyboer–Detroit Lions FC–First became aware of Melissa’s writing on SB Nation’s Tigers site, then found out she was writing Lions stuff for Aerys Sports. Her writing is technically sound and translates well to the fan base.
Tyson Langland–NFL FC–Another PFF writer, Tyson has worked closely with NFL teams and agents. He promised to bring a statistical element to his writing and delivered.
Sarah Marshall–Denver Broncos FC–Found Sarah Marshall (real name, don’t forget her) at SB Nation’s Denver Broncos site.
Jordan Rogowski–Buffalo Bills FC–Came to the site through Aaron Nagler, formerly of Patch.
Brett Solesky–Chicago Bears FC–Found Brett at Midway Illustrated (Bloguin).
Alex Dunlap–NFL/Fantasy Football FC–Alex is a friend of Matt Miller and myself on Twitter and runs the Pro Football Writers of America twitter account. A radio guy in the Austin area, Alex hopped right on and became one of B/R’s best NFL writers.
Bryan Fontaine–NFL/Fantasy Football FC–Bryan is yet another PFF guy who reached out to me a while ago for writing opportunities. A very exciting addition to the team (for both B/R and Bryan!)
Charles Edwards–Carolina Panthers FC–Came over from SB Nation’s Panthers site.
Jesse Reynolds–Arizona Cardinals FC–Came over from SB Nation’s Cardinals site.
Mike May–Arizona Cardinals FC–Has been writing for Examiner and had started his own site–Sports Beatdown.
Aaron Lowinger–Buffalo Bills FC–Came over from SB Nation’s Bills site.
Ryan Talbot–Buffalo Bills FC–Came over from QueenCitySports.net
Todd Edwards–Cleveland Browns FC–Has been managing his own personal sports blog.
Nick Houllis — Tampa Bay Buccaneers FC–From BucStop.com (Bloguin Network)
Bo Martin – Dallas Cowboys FC–Has written for The Landry Hat (Fansided), Dallas Cowboys Nation, and NFL Mocks
Jonathan Barger – Dallas Cowboys FC–Writer for The Landry Hat (Fansided).
Shane Clemons–Jacksonville Jaguars FC–NFL and Jaguars writer for the Bloguin Network.
That’s 28 talented writers from various backgrounds covering various teams that have been added to the B/R NFL writing stable in the past few months. With training camp in full swing and the NFL season just around the corner, it will be exciting to see how the coverage at B/R benefits from this tremendous infusion of talent.
I said that not every one on the list had been added by me, but it’s important to point out that the last nine were all added by Ian Kenyon and Wes O’Donnell as they transitioned into my replacements as NFL editors. With their efforts proving so fruitful, I’m confident that B/R NFL is in great hands as they take over the reigns.
Today, August 1, 2012, I start my tenure as NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report–the company I’ve written and worked for since 2009. During my time there, I’ve been an unpaid contributor, one of the first Featured Columnists, an assignment editor for their college internship and an NFL Associate Editor. While I’ve worn a lot of hats, the desire to write full time has always stayed in the back of my mind.
So, at 26, I’ve managed to land the exact job I’ve been working for and there is little chance I could’ve done this on my own. So, a word of thanks:
- First and foremost to my Heavenly Father, without whom I could do nothing good. I’ve not always understood the paths he’s led me down, but I’ve always been confident that he knows what best to grant me. With an amazing family, friends and career, I could not be more blessed.
- My wife, Stacey, who married a young pastoral ministries student and assumed she would live the quiet life of a pastor’s wife and elementary school teacher. She doesn’t even like sports! Thank you for understanding my passion and being there to support me.
- All the teachers who pushed me along the way–Mr. Ristow who (along with my father) modeled what a hardworking husband and father should look like. Professor Bode taught me Latin against my wishes but (moreover) convinced me that laziness wasn’t the path to success. Professor Manthey who always pushed me to think outside of the box and demanded the best out of me. Mr. Sting taught me the mechanics of public speaking and developing convincing arguments. Professor Koestler taught me that good writing isn’t good if it isn’t clean. Professors Koelpin and Paustian who helped me make important career and life decisions.
- Joel Cordes who gave me a chance to do unpaid color commentary for one of the smallest NCAA Div III schools in the country on one of the smallest AM radio stations. He and Dan Lewig also let me “third-wheel” on their tiny little sports show which gave me the chance to professionally cover sports for the first time. Also, Nick Holz and Paul Taylor (and others) who always provided tons of material to argue against and kept me going. Without AJSS, this dream never would have happened.
- To Warren Hauck who gave me my first real paid sports media job at DraftTek. Thank you for giving me a chance to help the site grow into what it’s become.
- The people at Bleacher Report who gave me the chance to succeed and plenty of help along the way–Dylan MacNamara, Rory Brown, Joe Yanerella, Tim Wood, Tim Coughlin, Max Tcheyan, Andrew Brining, Collin McCollough, Matt Miller, King Kaufman and so many others.
- “The Crew” of Wes Bunting, Cecil Lammey and Chad Reuter who have been friends, mentors, teachers and so much more over the past few years. You guys taught me professionalism and that sports media doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.
- All the others who have given me guidance, advice, and help along the way–John Niyo, Hunter Ansley, Russ Lande, Gregg Rosenthal, Tom Kowalski, Dave Birkett, Liz Mullen, Jim Trotter, Sean Jensen, Phil Zaroo, Mike Donnelly, George Atallah and so many others.
- Finally, my pastor and friend, Phil Huebner. You gave my wife and me a shot and brought us down to Florida, “saving” us from another year (or more) in New Ulm. You and your family have been such a blessing to me and mine.
Again, thank you (those listed above and all the others I’ve egregiously missed) for any part you had in me getting to where I am today. I have a truly unexpected and undeserved life and I hope the work I have done and the work I will do makes you proud.