On November 1, 2001, I busted a bottle of Boone’s Farm against my Commodore 64, and Profootballtalk.com was born.
There was no mission statement, no business plan, no bucket list. I had done nine months of unpaid freelance work for the long-defunct NFLtalk.com, which was purchased along with the other Sportstalk.com sites in early 2001 after the tech bubble burst. I then spent six months working from home for ESPN.com’s subscription-based Insider service, while also practicing law full time.
In October 2001, I was offered a one-year deal with ESPN.com, effective November 1. (I still have the contract.) I decided, for a variety of reasons that I won’t bore you with now (but might bore you with later), to launch an independent site (the word blog hadn’t been coined yet, and I have always despised it) that covered the NFL a bit more loosely, with entertainment being as important as information.
PFT launched November 1 of that year, we generated little or no revenue for at least three years, and then the snowball started to roll down the hill, a bit. The watershed moment came in early 2006, when Ted Moon of Sprint reached out with a desire to explore an advertising relationship. One thing led to another, we struck a deal, real money was flowing, and I knew at that point that, eventually, I wouldn’t be practicing law at all.
On July 1, 2009, it finally happened, and the two-plus years since then have been an exciting, fulfilling, challenging, and almost entirely enjoyable blur.
I’m not sure what we’ll do to commemorate the 10-year anniversary. It would be nice if all of PFT Planet shows up next Tuesday and check in, if only to see if the hamsters powering the NBC servers will explode. Maybe we’ll do something special for PFT Live. Beyond that, I’m not looking for the day to be ensconced in self-congratulation. It’s more about reflection and gratitude — primarily to each of you — and given the content of this post, the reflection already has started.
Actually, the reflection happens pretty much continuously. I don’t know how or why this thing has grown, I don’t know how or why 90 percent of the people connected to the NFL read the site (the other 10 percent are lying), and I don’t know where this thing is going and how it will get there. I’ve been enjoying the ride since Day One, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can say that.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it, too. Hopefully, you’ll continue to do that.
If you have any suggestions on how we best should celebrate an unlikely 10-year anniversary, feel free to add them to the comments. And be sure to check back next Tuesday to see what we do. And every day between now and then. And every day after that. Until I either drop dead or decide to move on, or move out.