It all started 10 years ago today

Though PFT won’t celebrate its first decade of existence until November 1, 2011 (we’ll have plenty of time to bake a cake and blow out the candles if there’s a lockout), this site never would have existed but for something that happened on June 27, 2000.

On that day, this hobby turned part-time job turned full-time job turned every-waking-moment (at times) obsession officially launched.

The debut came on the pages of the long-defunct sportsTALK.com, and specifically at its copyright-infringing subsidiary known as NFLtalk.com.  (Actually, NFLtalk.com currently is live, and they’re running links to PFT stories as the top-of-page news feed.) 

Jason Peery and Chad Ford “hired” me (i.e., we’ll post your stuff and pay you nothing) to write an op-ed item twice per week.  Despite the lack of financial compensation, I was trying at the time to attract interest in the product of a multi-year side project known as Quarterback of the Future, and I concluded that, if I could get some quasi-real writing credentials, maybe I could sell it.

Like so many things in life, the intended destination became obscured by an unexpected (and far more rewarding) journey. 

In May 2001, sportsTALK.com ran out of cash.  ESPN.com bought the carcass and shifted the multi-sport rumors and news format to its Insider service.  John Taylor (not the 49ers receiver or the Duran Duran bassist but the curator of CFT) had been running the NFLtalk.com Rumor Mill.  During the period of uncertainty at sportsTALK he landed a gig with RealTeam.com, which former Saints exec Terry O’Neil apparently funded with his post-Ditka buyout.  O’Neil declined to let Taylor out of his contract to run the NFL section of the sportsTALK/Insider project.  And so yours truly was offered the job.

Applying the “don’t ask/don’t tell” approach to the fact that I was also practicing law on a full-time basis, I worked from 5:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on each weekday’s rumor page, and then I spent from 11:00 a.m. until whenever taking care of the law practice.  Since each submission went through multiple layers of editorial oversight, the project lacked the kind of immediacy that has become a critical aspect of Internet operations.  In October 2001, I had to decide whether to sign a one-year deal with ESPN.com (I still have the unsigned contract) — or whether to try to rekindle the spirit and attitude of the old NFLtalk.com with a new site.  Since the law practice was paying the bills, I could afford to choose the path that resulted in three years or so of zero dollars a month plus benefits, babe.

I didn’t make a dime for at least two or three years, I nearly called it quits in September 2002 after concluding I’d never make much more than lunch money at this thing, and then once Sprint became our primary sponsor in early 2006 everything changed. 

Then, the NBC partnership launched last July, and everything really changed.

In the end, however, it’s all pretty much the same.  Same content (only a lot more of it), same attitude, same hit-or-miss attempts at humor.  But PFT wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t gotten that zero dollar a month plus benefits gig with sportsTALK.com in June 2000.

We’ve noticed from time to time debates regarding the identity of the pioneers of the Internet sports industry.  Rarely, if ever, does anyone mention Peery and Ford, who still works as an NBA insider for ESPN. 

Without question, they were the first to do successfully that which so many others are doing with varying degrees of success today — the coverage of sports via a computer and a dial-up connection.  Years before the dreadful term “blog” migrated into the widespread consciousness, Peery and Ford provided independent coverage of major-league sports via the Internet, and what we do now continues to echo the spirit of what they started in the late ’90s, and what they gave me a crack at doing as of ten years ago today.

73 responses to “It all started 10 years ago today

  1. After reading the headline, I was waiting for Florio to hum a few bars of Alice’s Restaurant

  2. “In the end, however, it’s all pretty much the same. Same content (only a lot more of it), same attitude, same hit-or-miss attempts at humor.”
    Mike, will you ever bring back some Taco Bill humor every now and then?
    Did he fall off the face of the planet or what?

  3. Ah, it all makes sense now. Years ago, I thanked you for your efforts here and pointed out that this was the first site to compare to the old nfltalk.com site – which I loved before it was acquired by ESPN.
    After the acquisition, the Insider content was free for a while – maybe the 1st NFL season? And it continued to be great. Once I had to pony up $$’s for the insider content, I switched to kffl.com. A link on kffl.com brought me profootballtalk.com – and I’ve been reading here ever since.
    Thank you for sticking with it – and congrats on being compensated for it.

  4. Been with you almost the entire time Florio, and have enjoyed a daily ritual of multiple visits since I found PFT on a google search for something most likely fantasy football related.
    Congrats on the milestone.

  5. You nearly called it quits in 2002, and then everything changed in 2006? What kept you going in between?

  6. Mike, How about rewarding your loyal followers who made you a rich man for each of their posts over the years?

  7. Congratulations with the “anniversary.”
    Eventhough I know a lot of people give you a hard time in your articles. But seriously, great job. Thank you for keeping at it and giving me and many others our main source for NFL news and opinions.
    Thanks,
    Mike Florio
    Gregg Rosenthal
    Michael David Smith
    Josh Alper
    & (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Evan Silva
    Thanks guys.
    PS.: Evan. Turn down the Raider hate.

  8. LOL everyone needs to check out the review for Florio’s book on Amazon….they’re great. Props to whoever.

  9. Congrats Florio,
    it was also 2 years ago today that you jumped the shark.

  10. Florio, you forgot to thank Brett Favre for your success. After all without his name in half your posts and without all the furious Packer fans commenting you wouldn’t get half the clicks you do.

  11. Where’s my compensation, Mikey? I worked for you indirectly years ago doing the collegefootballtalk MountainWest conference back when it was separated into conferences…. now I want my ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!! mwahhahaha, mwahhaaahhha, MWAHAAHHAHAAAAA!!!!

  12. It’s almost the same, except less Florio, which means less humor. Otherwise you guys done good, congrats.

  13. Taco Bill probably got stiffed when Florio got the sell-out check and didn’t share.

  14. I have been here 2 years and LOVE the information here. The responses to articles are sometimes enlightening and at times comical.

  15. Long time reader, although I never really bothered making an account up until recently, your jokes are too funny not to comment on, thats why.
    Congratulations.

  16. We love Florio, we love to hate Florio. But where would we be without Florio?
    Congratulations Florio.

  17. Must be nice to make a living scanning the net and linking stories written by actual sports journalists around the country who have real relationships with their local teams. Then you just add commentary of your own meant to stir the pot.

  18. 10… that reminds me when you said you were going to send an autographed copy of QOTF

  19. 10… that reminds me when you said you were going to send an autographed copy of QOTF to your 10,000th Twitter follower… still haven’t gotten that book, liar.

  20. Don’t know which is better–the site or the backstory. Congrats on turning a labor of love into such a raging success.

  21. Proof that successful people are not “lucky” or “fortunate”, just hardworking people who come up with ideas that people want.

  22. Mike, you forgot to thank three QBs who have helped make this site what it is today – #4, Big Ben and Ron Mexico

  23. I didn’t think Al Gore had invented the internet yet ten years ago. Are you sure you weren’t using carrier pigeons?

  24. I’m still waiting for my free Quarterback of the Future paperweight. I kept this site alive with my hilarious bi-weekly posts from 2007-2008. I was once mentioned as “reader” in an update to a post and I even emailed you something once that turned into a story an hour later.
    You’re lucky I’m only asking for one of your worthless books, Florio! I’m angry today, my friend, like an old man trying to return soup at a deli!

  25. florio- to be honest with you most of the time i think your a real a$$ but i have to give you props for doing what it is you believe in and having the courage to stay with it,good job mike

  26. Good Message Florio. Proof that anybody can succeed with determination and perseverance, even if they are by all accounts a total jacka$$.

  27. @captainfantasPRICK
    Look at the 17 comments or so of people congratuating Florio for bringing them free football news. Yet you are the only one with something negative to say yet you login in here and read the site even though you criticize the method in which the information is brought to you.
    If you feel that the site is bogus and is simply links to other journalists, why not go directly to those sites? I prefer Florio’s perspective and take on those articles hence the reason I login here and read it. You do the same but criticize Florio because you are a hater and a sad man.
    You did not have the balls or gumption to go out in life and make a stake to your dream so you criticize and bust the balls of others that did.
    Florio needs your clicks like he needs a whole in the head. Why don’t you go somwhere else? It is embesols like yourself that come to this and hate on Florio but don’t have the common sense to realize that by taking the time to login and post your idiotic, hate driven comments, you are only putting more money in the pockets of the man you obviously hate that BTW brings you free football news. What a loser.

  28. Hey Florio …….
    While your humor is lame, and your football analytical skills are comparable to a 14 year old stat reading ball watcher, I do enjoy your legal takes and specific digs into the depths of the CBA.
    Keep at it. You’ll grow up one day and find a real job. 🙂

  29. Must be nice to make a living scanning the net and linking stories written by actual sports journalists around the country who have real relationships with their local teams. Then you just add commentary of your own meant to stir the pot.
    ———————–
    And people can find all of it on one website instead of visiting each individual one.
    Not too mention often overlooked smaller stories/arrests that ESPN casually overlooks.
    Congratulations Mr. Florio. Just ignore the socialists that hate seeing someone succeed the hard way.

  30. “Like so many things in life, the intended destination became obscured by an unexpected (and far more rewarding) journey. ”
    Florio waxing sentimental.
    Cheers to the PFT/CFT team. PTF.com has been my ‘homepage’ since 2003.

  31. ESPN’s neglect of the first Roethlisberger getting all rapey on some hotel employee story, via deadspin.com, brought me here about a year ago. I’ve been a daily reader here ever since.

  32. Congrats on your success Mr. Florio, don’t EVER forget why folks started coming to this site in the first place. Most of all keep up the good work!

  33. Wow, time flies!
    I remember the days you were begging us to hit the sponsors links so you wouldn’t have to charge people to view the site…. or was that a threat?
    I remember people scoffing at the rumors I read… and the media dissmissing Florio as some kook who knows nothing about football.
    Now PFT is MAINSTEAM MEDIA!!!!
    And I hear and see Florio on TV and Radio regularly!
    GREAT JOB!!!

  34. It took you 10 years to reach this level of ineptitude. Hard to think how bad the site must have been back then.

  35. Congrats Mike. This truly is the most entertaining football site out there. Keep up the great work!

  36. My Favorite site.
    Thanks and Congrats to the whole PFT gang.
    Especially you Florio.
    People may hate the filler (don’t think I don’t know this is filler. Great story, but filler non the less.) but where else are you going to get 20 stories and 200 comments related to football. Hell, those are the offseason numbers.
    For real Mike, how about a more detailed history of PFT? This is great and all, but as mentioned by a commenter above, you kinda skipped 4 years.
    I’m going to start the calls for a full history of PFT article.

  37. “Brat Favre says:
    June 27, 2010 2:26 PM
    I didn’t think Al Gore had invented the internet yet ten years ago. Are you sure you weren’t using carrier pigeons?”

    C’mon, Algore didnot invent the internet. He invented Global Warming.

  38. Congrats, Florio. I, along with countless others, give you a hard time here and there. But we all keep coming back. You must be doing something right.

  39. Mike Florio’s Day…..
    Blogging: 5 AM – 11 AM
    Lawyering: 11 AM – 8 PM
    Husbanding: 8 PM – 8:15 PM
    Fathering: Every other Sunday from 10 AM – 1 PM

  40. Jimmy Smith & Boob Nelson were spotted in a hot tub this morning pushing around a piece of shit & when the hotel owner asked them what are you doing, they said playing with our kid.
    So your site has brought two people together & made them parents.
    What a miracle.

  41. I am seriously thinking of suing Florio he must owe me something I made him and the NFL famous. Maybe when I retire this year he’ll have to hire me.Wait I’m not retiring even though I have a dangerous taint injury I taint sure what I am a Dick or an Ahole. I am seriously considering not suing Florio
    Whatever
    Hugs and Kisses
    Breteney
    Seriously Mr. Florio Thanks for the site it is a fun distraction during the day

  42. Congrats on your
    success Mr. Florio,
    don’t EVER forget
    why folks started
    coming to this site
    in the first place.
    Most of all keep up
    the good work!

  43. I was browsing an NFL forum a few years ago and read some breaking news on there. The news wasn’t considered true because it wasn’t from a “credible source”… it was a PFT article. I decided to head on over and check the site out. I’ve been here ever since. This site is like crack for NFL fans.

  44. Congratulations Mike.
    I have been reading your “articles” since the beginning. I knew I read some of your stuff before “PFT” became an independent site because I remember which office I was “working” in when I started reading your rumors and hot insider tips. My office had blue walls when I started following you and I moved to a less colorful office in August of 2001.
    It was great when there where just a few of us followers of the Florio Rumors and Insider information. I always knew more about what was going on in the NFL than any of my friends or coworkers. Then you became better known (I for one mentioned your site to most of the people I know who follow football.) and you became more mainstream.
    Ironically, the “killing” off of Bradshaw was your first big “break” in the business. I know you were only reporting what a news outlet in Shreveport was reporting, but the fact that members of the “real” sports media picked up on your story and spread it proved that you had made it to the big time.
    I fed you a few tidbits of information a couple of times (Not much, but it did result in a story or two based on the Katrina Bowl in Giants Stadium and the ticket policies for that game.) and have enjoyed watching your site grow a pair….
    Kudos to the 10 year anniversary and even bigger kudos on being able to kick the habit of the practice of law as a profession. Admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery.
    I ride you from time to time, mostly because of your recent anti-Saints bias, but you have by far the best content related to the NFL anywhere.
    Congrats again and here is hoping for another 10 great years of PFT and another Saints Super Bowl victory or two during that time period!

  45. Florio … you are a douche bag … and always will be a douche bag… unless of course you GIVE BACK to someone NOT so different then yourself (except I would/could NEVER be a douche bag under any circumstances) that just needs a little help with an EXCELLENT idea. Yes Florio I think you should
    GIVE BACK To HawgNSons Unlimited …
    think of it … apply that VISION of yours …
    If Echo can do it with a Rhino
    ARE YOU KIDDING ME…
    The Hawg is MORE AMERICAN … MORE UNIVERSAL … MORE MAINSTREAM … than any Rhino!!!
    This WILL be something huge someday … hopefully SOONER rather than LATER!
    But even if you HAVE NO REAL VISION
    Congrats … you GOT LUCKY ONCE!
    as much as you get under my skin at times
    I DO REFER A LOT OF PEOPLE TO YOUR RUMOR MILL!
    A true testament your doing something RIGHT!
    CONGRATS!

  46. Been visiting daily since the SportsTalk days on my old dialup connection.
    I think I landed there while doing research for my Small World fantasy football team.
    That image of the old SportsTalk site takes me back.

  47. I’m thrilled that Florio has made this site what it is. It means one less lawyer in the world and more football speculation and rumors. Win-win. Seriously, congrats, Florio.

  48. Congrats Florio!! I hit this site many times per day.
    I am a PFTaholic…
    It is fun to talk Football with other true fans and kid around with steeler fans….thanks for giving us this oppurtunity…..

  49. @HereThere …
    You wrote:
    “I’m thrilled that Florio has made this site what it is. It means one less lawyer in the world and more football speculation and rumors. Win-win. Seriously, congrats, Florio.”
    So very very true … I had thought of that also … but for this 1 time I was trying to forget he @ one time was a parasite … and worse yet he still may be!!!

  50. I’ve been following this here website since 2002. It is without question the best sports website with the best analysis about the best sport in the world. I even get an email response from the legal-beagle himself so I know that there weren’t that many followers back then.
    Keep it up Mike – don’t ever stop with this site. It is the shizzzzz-net!

  51. …did someone mention Favre?
    From October 8, 2003, Mike Florio writes…

    A PACK OF OLD MEN
    Word around the league is that the Green Bay Packers generally are looking old and washed up.
    The offensive and defensive lines are the weakest units, per some of our league contacts. We also think that time is catching up with Brett Favre, who no longer has the ability to merely will the team to a win — and who seems to be aging by the week.
    Face it — if Green Bay can’t win in Arizona with more Cheeseheads than Birdbrains in the stands only a week after the Turdinals got trounced by the Seahawks, the Packers are in for a long, long season.
    And to all you Bears fans who think this site is pro-Pack, you’re wrong.
    We don’t give a steamy crap about either team.

    That’s from the Internet Wayback Machine.
    Good stuff, Florio. Congrats on the paying gig.

  52. Congrats Mike.
    Do you think 10 years has made a difference in getting “discovered” on the internets?
    In other words, do you think the results would have been the same today, if you were in the same position? What words of wisdom would you share with bloggers today? Bloggers who want to become discovered as you were?

  53. Found this site out of the rumors section on Si.com.
    Thanks for the site brother… Oh yeah almost forgot, Florio you suck man! Go back to your law practice!
    Amidoinitrite?

  54. Wait, I thought Dante Alagehi creasted this site? You also forgot to mention just before 2006 when you made money buy having your readers click the ads and infect their computers with viruses. I still get the pop-up ad that I’ve won $10,000 (trust me, you never really get the $10,000).
    Congrats, looking forward to the cheap birthday cake graphic on 11/1/11 like you had on the 3 year anniversary.

  55. It would be even better if Taco Bill was still doing the Pic of the Day. Those were hilarious.

  56. Good for you, Florio. It’s fun to bust on you for your lack of skill, but you’re doing what you want, and for some reason you get paid to do it. You can’t ask for more than that. We can, because you suck, but you seem to be living the dream. All we can hope for now is a public scandal. Something on the Marv Albert scale would suffice.

  57. florio – read it every day.
    i am in the music biz & it has been a treat to turn my fellow football fans to a place for all of the 411.
    pft.com is one of my top 5 every day.
    i appreciate all of the hard work. plus if you can get paid for doing something that you love, it rocks.

  58. # panteraphenomenon says: June 27, 2010 10:20 PM
    i think your a good writer florio screw the haters!
    i think your a good writer to!

  59. # jeffml says: June 27, 2010 3:56 PM
    It took you 10 years to reach this level of ineptitude. Hard to think how bad the site must have been back then.
    ________________
    Now that is a very funny comment.
    Nevertheless congrats Florio for the fortitude to stick with something you believed in during the difficult times when you went to bed at night wondering “what the hell am I doing, is this thing really worth it”?
    It was and it still is, thanks.

  60. I remember the first-ever post, Mike. But the crayon you used tended to smear. Glad you went all “textual” on the net, instead..
    I really enjoy what PFT has become, Mr. Florio… especially the readers’ comments. Thank you for this forum.
    Pure gold.
    But bring back the ratings!!!

  61. @ Make it Rain, re: “Wait, I thought Dante Alagehi creasted this site? ”
    Ha, I remember that! “Dante’s draft links”. How long ago was that? Had to be about 7-8 years back. The hilarious thing was that he hated every site.
    Congrats, Florio! As negative as the comments can get (and they do get overly negative), keep doing your thing.

  62. Goes by fast. I feel old. I was a Sportstalk reader until it became ‘Insider’. I even tried that – you had to pay and the content wasn’t as good. After several months of disappointment, while googling some football stuff (isn’t that how we all got here?) I found you again, followed by my “Mike, is it really you?” e-mail, we were reunited. Like most, I can’t live without it. Hello, it’s JUNE!
    Happy Anniversary Mike. Thanks for choosing football. We have enough blood sucking scumbag ambulance chasers anyway – lol.
    As my ‘gift’ to you, I will now buy a copy of your book.

  63. Congratulations Mike,
    I’ll bet your mother makes a great gravy……..
    compared to a certain italianarmygirl

  64. Jeez people, some of these comments are ridiculous. If you are bashing him and hating his stuff, get off the website. Its as simple as that. This is a damn good website and brings out every rumor surrounding the NFL, even if it is too early to actually know if it is true or not.
    We love to hear rumors that may or may not be true, that is why they are called RUMORS. They keep the offseason fun even when we are in the sports abyss of the year.
    Good job Florio, keep up the good work.

  65. good job….yeah right
    “it all started 10 years ago today” and sports reporting has gone rapidly downhill ever since. Inaccurate stories, unresearched lies presented as truth, and bias reports are the cornerstone of this site…and since its not held up by the same standard as print (ya know….they HAVE to be accurate…otherwise its libel) and because of its popularity other websites have become just as inaccurate and irresponsible. In turn print journalism is suffering and having to risk libel to compete. So thank you Florio for downgrading sports journalism and reporters responsibility to a near nonexistant memory of their former glory.

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