Archive for January 2014
For a while now. I’ve been maintaining this list of little-known/very-useful Twitter follows. I am “rebooting” the list, as it were, to get it to the top of the page and to freshen things up a bit.
If you’re not following these people on Twitter, you’re simply doing it wrong. (Also, if you stumbled here without following me (@Schottey) feel free to do so as well.)
Note: ALL of these people talk about NFL at the league-wide level most of the time. While there are plenty of other great team-based tweeters, I tried to keep this list more globally-focused. The one thing I hate about making lists like this is leaving people off, so my apologies in advance.
**NEW** @ (9885)—Pro Football Focus
At almost 10K followers already, Steve won’t be on this list for long, but he’s a welcomed addition. Perhaps most famous for being the guy whose writing helped convince NFL teams that right tackles were just as important as left tackles, Steve is a film-junkie who can handle just about any topic with ease.
@Ted_Sundquist (9511)—TheFootballEducator, Former NFL GM
Mr. Sundquist has insight that very few in the media can match after spending time in the Denver Broncos front office and at the Air Force Academy as an assistant coach. He has a way of looking at things from an angle no one else takes.
Former NFL scout and burgeoning radio superstar, Middlekauff has become a prolific tweeter who tells it like it is and has both the knowledge and perspective to be worth following.
@SGW94 (9083)—SB Nation
Stephen White is a former defensive lineman and one of the smartest, most-opinionated football minds on Twitter. He’s also unabashedly liberal, which is a plus for me. A large part of me believes he was the driving force to getting Greg Schiano fired.
@CorryJoel (9056)—National Football Post/CBS
I like to think that I know a little bit about the business side of football. If I need to know something about a player’s contract terms, I can usually dig it up. Joel Corry, on the other hand, lives and breathes this stuff. He’s become a great resource not only for media, but also for the casual fan.
One of the best young writers around, Robert joined MMQB and has dominated with great features and interviews. He’s a must-follow and a must-read. Seriously, I have no idea how he’s still on this list.
Mark Fainaru-Wada co-wrote “League of Denial” about concussions and their long-term effects on football. Even if that’s not something that interests you (it should), Mark is a fantastic investigative journalist across the board.
@FOX_JayClemons (7761)—Fox Sports
Disclaimer: I’m horrible at fantasy football. Well, not horrible as much as “lose interest.” For me, fantasy is a whole lot like my day job, and when you’re working 70+ hours most weeks, it’s difficult to get excited about anything other than sleep. That said, my fantasy life has been enriched (read: I do a lot better) because I follow Jay’s advice. He’s also a surprisingly great guy for being a Michigan State alum.
@Ryan_Riddle (7612)—Bleacher Report
Ryan set Cal’s single-season sack record and was drafted in the 5th round by the Oakland Raiders in 2005. Now, Ryan writes for Bleacher Report and provides readers with an inside look at the game they can’t find anywhere else. Whether it’s personal stories about Ray Lewis and Aaron Rodgers or a breakdown of defensive line play, Riddle brings the heat with every tweet.
Want the “fairer side’s” perspective on the game? Screw that…Melissa Jacobs is one of the smartest and most opinionated NFL bloggers out there and will make anyone man or woman smarter with each tweet.
**NEW** @ErikFrenz (6166)—Bleacher Report/Boston.com
Frenz is a Patriots fan and covers them for Boston.com, but he handles the entire AFC East for Bleacher Report and tweets about any big topic that comes along at a league-wide level. One of the first stat heads I started reading regularly, Frenz refuses to let narrative overtake the facts.
**NEW** @Cianaf (6050)—Bleacher Report/Football Guys/Football Outsiders/Rotoworld
Another one of those film guys from the other side of the pond, Cian writes for just about every outlet there is and just about everything he writes is pure gold.
@Andrew_Garda (5942)—Football Guys
Andrew has written for countless outlets and has a well-rounded approach to the game while never shying away from tough topics. If it’s happening, Garda has an opinion about it.
One of my favorite writers, Andy had spent some time bouncing around with his own site and on the NYT’s Fifth Down blog. Peter King’s new site wisely grabbed him and he’s been knocking it out of the park.
@Dumonjic_Alen (5401)—The Score
Speaking of fantastic insight, Alen Dumonjic is one of the smartest football minds that no one knows about. His X’s and O’s analysis of NFL games is almost instantaneous and will teach you what just happened before the replay.
@AndrewBucholtz (5197)—Yahoo!; AwfulAnnouncing
Hailing from north of the board, Andrew tweets a lot about the CFL, but knows its American “big brother” pretty well too. Of course, you’ll get plenty of analysis of the analysts as well, which is always fun.
@patrick_hruby (4936)—Sports on Earth
If you care about the social issues around the game (I do, you should), Patrick is a must-follow. From player safety, to labor issues and everything in-between, Patrick has a great perspective.
Once upon a time, I remember thinking it was crazy that Frank Schwab’s paper was relegating their best writer to the Air Force beat. Now, he’s helping hold down Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner and doing a fantastic job.
@TySchalter (4552)—Bleacher Report
Ty Schalter is a Lions blogger turned national lead writer (hey, that sounds familiar!) for B/R and unabashed MSU & American soccer fan. Follow him for just about anything, but just follow him already!
@JoshKatzowitz (4355)—CBS Sports
Part of the Eye On Sports blogs, Josh can be found tweeting about almost any big NFL topic. He’s also doing a regular podcast with some of the great voices in journalism.
**NEW** @FBall_Andrea (4307)—Bleacher Report
Andrea handles the AFC North for B/R and is a powerful and useful voice on many of the big topics surrounding the league. She also handles fantasy as well as anyone.
**NEW** @ (3355)—Wall Street Journal
Kevin is a new follow for me and I’m embarrassed that’s the case. If you’re not following him, you should be embarrassed too. Covering the league on a purely league-wide level isn’t easy, but Clark’s feed is a good mix of aggregation, awesome insight and humorous musings.
**NEW** @TysonNFL (2834)—Bleacher Report
Tyson covers the NFC West for B/R and has a fantastic way of using either film evidence or stats to back up his arguments. Thoughtful far more than he is loud, his measured takes often cut through the noise.
@JohnKryk (2748)—Toronto Sun
Look, I get that John covers an American sport for a Canadian paper, but his work—especially his features—is way too good to not be followed.
**NEW** @Brad_Gagnon (2085)—Bleacher Report/Awful Announcing
Brad covers the NFC East for B/R and the NFL media for Awful Announcing, so his feed is mixed with lots of hater fuel for Cowboys and Philly fans while keeping the rest of us honest.
Congrats to these guys who used to be on the list but have crossed the 10K threshold–@PatKirwanCBS, @SigmundBloom, @MoveTheSticks, @ChrisWesseling, @Aaron_Nagler, @WillBrinson, @MichaelDavSmith, @JoeFortenbaugh, @dpbrugler, @footballfacts, @brian_mcintyre, @Chet_G, @MattWaldman, @NFLOsophy, @JeneBramel, @ChrisBurke_SI, @PSchrags, @LRiddickESPN, @MikeTanier, @SeniorBowlPhil, @AdamLefkoe, @PFF_Sam, @Eric_Edholm, @FBGChase
Don’t think it’s a big deal that Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to talk to the media?
That’s fine. That’s great. That’s your right. It’s probably the majority opinion held by players, fans and (yes) even those in the media at-large. However, it’s also tone-deaf and lacks any semblance of context, perspective or—for that matter—any hint of anything less than the self-importance that people are accusing the PFWA of this morning.
Right now, we’re talking about a snow storm in the southern states. Atlanta, Charlotte and many other southern cities have been “blanketed” by a inch or so of snow and it has literally shut crap down. People slept in schools, stores and in their cars last night. Meanwhile, northerners are completely over-the-top beside themselves at the “weaklings” to the south who can’t handle “a little snow.”
Well, that’s nonsense. The context and perspective of a snow storm in a southern state is completely different than in a place where civic and private enterprise is prepared for snow. An inch of snow in a place with snow tires, treated roads, salt trucks, sand trucks, plows and drivers used to slick conditions. One look at highway photos…or even a first-person account from a former northerner in the south, should be enough to make someone empathetic.
An inch of snow in Minnesota closing down an entire town would be ridiculous. When it happens in Atlanta, that’s just the way it is.
For the PFWA and its writers, access to Lynch and his peers is of the utmost importance. When one’s job is inherently tied to access, it makes access an important thing. For fans, or those in the media (like me) who don’t particularly need, want or even care about that access, it’s a different story. Yet, I can remember a time when a core function of my job was grabbing 2-3 minute sound bites from athletes to play on the radio. If I failed—to get anything or anything of note—it was a wasted day and a long 2-hour drive back from Minneapolis with my tail between my legs.
It mattered to me, back then, when Vikings PR would stonewall me. It mattered to me when players wouldn’t just decline interviews, but then would turn around and do an interview for a bigger radio station or whatever outlet the attractive female was from. It mattered to me when players would hide out in the showers until the media filtered out—every single week.
This isn’t a “you’re not a real writer” argument like some on Twitter have already accused me of making. Nor is it somehow a slam at bloggers as someone will almost certainly take it. What it is, is an admission that different people have different perspectives and value different things, and a plea to take two seconds out of your own personal paradigm to understand why someone might think differently.
It doesn’t matter to me now, but it matters to a lot of people who cover the NFL as means to feed their families and keep roofs over their heads. The PFWA fights this battle more often than you might think, and they’ve fought it with Lynch a number of times. It is, literally, the reason the organization exists—”The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public.”
You don’t care? That’s fine. Just, maybe, understand why other people might.