This is the one piece I’ve spent part of my childhood and my entire adult life working to avoid having to write. But as I’ve come to learn repeatedly over the 46 years or so during which that effort has been ongoing, often at a significant price, you can’t win ‘em all. So, in my final act as the voice of Pro Football Weekly, it is time to say goodbye. Pro Football Weekly, as we’ve all known it since the first issue rolled off the press in late August of 1967, is no more.
The legal explanation of our demise is posted right here at ProFootballWeekly.com. Technically we were PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY, LLC, a partnership, and contrary to popular perception, I have been neither the majority owner nor the managing partner for quite some time. I was the publisher/editor responsible for the day-to-day operation of the business, an employee with a minority interest in the partnership. That is probably irrelevant, though, as there really are no bad guys in this story.
Over the last five years our majority owner and each of the minority partners invested a tremendous amount of money, time and effort to try to build a bridge for PFW from the rapidly deteriorating world of old media to the new, exploding market of digital media and glitzy, new products. We built some truly great stuff that you all seemed to love, but try as we might, we couldn’t get enough of you to pay what it cost us to deliver it. There comes a time when there is just no more money to lose, and now we are forced to close the doors.
I understand there is a segment of our readership and of our vendors and suppliers to whom there is nothing I can say to ease your disappointment and, in some cases, even anger. But for whatever it can be worth, I would like you to know about the unbelievable effort, contributions and commitment of my co-workers here, all of whom have worked at greatly reduced pay and, at times, no pay at all for a very long time and under the most difficult of circumstances and pressures to avoid this outcome. I cannot thank them enough or find the words to adequately express how proud I am to have worked with them. I hope you will all keep a good thought for each of them as we all work now to remove their names from the rolls of the unemployed.
I would love to tell you all about the future if I could, but I’m as curious as anyone to see what’s next. Pro Football Weekly’s NFL Preview 2013 magazine and the Fantasy Football Guide 2013 will be available at your local newsstands on June 11 and June 25, respectively. The rights to publish and distribute those magazines were sold to help raise money for the “assignment for the benefit of the creditors,” and most of the old PFW staff and I wrote and edited them, so I believe you will find them to be equal to the old PFW standards. Beyond that the trustee is now accepting bids on all of the Pro Football Weekly assets, and it is my greatest hope that someone with the necessary resources will come along and attempt to revive PFW. I will continue to do anything and everything I can to assist in making that happen, but I’m afraid it is largely out of my control.
All I am left with is the goodbye I don’t know how to say. While I will continue to work as hard as I can to maintain relationships and the insider’s view of the NFL that comes with them, and on my broadcast work as well, not having the PFW pulpit to speak from is, as yet, still impossible for me to comprehend. All I have been able to figure out so far is that if this is, in fact, goodbye, there is one thing I need you all to know: You were always the most important part of everything we tried to do.
Clearly we’ve been blessed at PFW to get to work in pro football. Imagine getting to earn a living and support your family from our involvement in pro football and the NFL, the greatest game and entertainment in the world. There’s no way I could list all the incredible people from the owners to the coaches to the players and all the unbelievable front-office and support staff folks in the NFL who’ve given their time, assistance and friendship to PFW, or find a way to thank them.
In the 35 years that I have been the publisher/editor here, I have lived constantly in awe of the journalists we have been so blessed to work with. Almost every great pro football writer in the modern era has graced the pages of PFW, and the work of every single writer whose byline has appeared here has been undeniably brilliant. The pay was always small, when it came at all, and yet they almost never complained and all that most of them ever wanted to know was what they could do to help. They have to be the greatest fraternity in the world.
You have allowed us to be a family. My dad is the only hero I’ve ever had. He created Pro Football Weekly, and I got to work with him and we pursued a dream together. When he was taken from us far too young, my brothers and I came together and devoted our lives to making his dream a reality. We even met our wives here. And as you continued to read PFW and nourished the dream, we saw our kids come on board and we’ve been able to work side-by-side with them. For all of that we owe you more than we could ever say.
Most of all, Pro Football Weekly has always been about the fans, about you. In every single thing we’ve ever tried to do, and every decision we’ve made, we have always been guided by the desire to give you the best coverage of the NFL, to give you the most coverage of the NFL and to treat every important, sensitive and controversial issue from the perspective of what was best for the game’s fans. We’ve always wanted you to know how much we cared about you.
I don’t know how to say goodbye, but someday down the road, I’ll go to meet my dad again. Until I do, I’ll spend every day for the rest of my life praying that you heard me when I tried to say thanks. Thank you.