We’re turning 10 next Tuesday

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.

94 responses to “We’re turning 10 next Tuesday

  1. If you want to know the story in more detail I am pretty sure he explained it on Whitlock’s column one time. Really enjoyed it.

  2. You should celebrate by adding a columnist from all of your readers. If you actually feel like reading through hundreds of submissions to see who deserves it, do it that way. Otherwise, you can just make me part of the time. I am a hard worker, reliable, passionate about football, and have a lot of experience working remotely. Did I mention I have a two year old daughter and another on the way?

    Congratulations on 10 amazing years! Please don’t move on or out (and try not to drop dead, either).


  3. Retire for the entire day (a la Brett Favre) only to come back the next day. But I wouldn’t know how to get through the work day without you guys…

  4. I’m happy for you guys. Great info over the years. My favorite, living nearby Texas, was the scoop on Quincy Carter being gonzo by the the time everyone would wake up the next morning. My local news was blown away (but I wouldn’t give up my source..apologies..lol). Good stuff guys. I beg you to stay humble & not make this more opinion than scoop. Kudos to tens years of NFL football Jones cure. I’ve got a fever & the only remedy is more PFT bell.

  5. So its been 10 years since some fake journalist ripped off an idea ESPN offered to him and got rich on his own. The classic American wealth story.

  6. We want the return of Taco Bill and his wacky pics. I assume that was scuttled when you joined up with NBC due to copyright reasons or some such thing, but I will always remember the dumpster of NFL players.

  7. Mike, I’ve been following your blog since January 2002 when I was studying abroad and looking for rumors about the Browns. Probably all of 10 people who read you at that point 🙂

    Through undergrad, doctorate, and now a real job, I’ve followed the site more for the entertaining takes across the whole league than specifically for my team. It’s been nice to watch the entire journey. Good for you.

    As a researcher in injury biomechanics, I think you have significant sway in the future safety of players in this league. I hope you are able to subtly help push improvements in head injury detection through your words.

    Oh, and this whole ten years, the Browns have been terrible, while your Steelers (yes, MF is a Steelers fan) have excelled. I doubt that will change anytime soon.

  8. “On November 1, 2001, I busted a bottle of Boone’s Farm against my Commodore 64, and Profootballtalk.com was born.”

    I thought it was a bottle of Annie Green Springs?

  9. Congrats Mike. Although I may not agree with all of the posted articles and opinions of the PFT writers, this is still the best and the only site I turn to for NFL news.

    Keep up the great works guys!

    Congrats again!

  10. WTG Mike! I have a sick addicted to this site that I can’t explain. Keep up the good work.

    You should give everyone, a free, one years subscription to PFT!

  11. Terry Bradshaw’s still alive, but I don’t know what I’d do without checking the rumor mill daily. Much appreciation.

  12. As a reader since ’05 I’d love to see links to old classics like the Seinfeld-NFL parallels, top Taco Bill photos, etc.

  13. I would like to hear more in the future about why you turned down the ESPN job.

    Congrats on the 10 years!

    RIP Terry Bradshaw

  14. Congrats Mike, and thanks for the site!

    I’ve been an avid reader since I discovered PFT in late 2007. God knows you could charge $50+ a year for subscriptions and at least 90% of your regulars wouldn’t even blink at that. You don’t, and that’s freaking amazing,

    My ONLY complaint: I feel the Seinfeld references have become scarce since NBC took over 😦

  15. Congrats. The reason you have done so well is because you deserved it. I have been watching NFL football for 48 years and have read articles in every newspaper, every internet site, and magazine. Today your site is really the only one anyone interested in the NFL needs to read on a daily basis. (Although I still read about a dozen.) Every story is covered and covered well without exception at PFT. Kudos to you and your group.

  16. Bring Joe Broccato in for the annivesary!

    I’ve been following PFT for several years, Mike; have no recall of how I discovered it, but my first impression was: “This is GREAT! NFL inside talk, and a guy with a good sense of humor!”.

    We’ve seen you go from “hack hillbilly lawyer”, to someone who rubs elbows with the “elite” of the NFL world, players, coaches, reporters, commentators, you name it.

    I still get a chuckle when Tony Dungy “seems” to be taking you seriously these days.

    You must pinch yourself continuously, Mike.

  17. Congratulations! My favorite football site is a success. Now stop with the shameful political BS during election years and talk about football; and nothing but football please!!!

  18. I’ve been with u since 05 mike. Managing printers in the basement of Campbell soup 5 days a week. Then the samsung glide (terrible phone) blackberry to iPhone ap, it’s been a great run. Love ya

  19. How about a post listing the 10 craziest, most unbelievable rumors ever published on PFT?

    I nominate Mike Brown hiring a GM.

  20. i didn`t read any of the above comments so excuse me if it has been said. mikey, i think it would be fun if you listed the dumbest things you have predicted about the nfl in the past ten years. team rankings, hunches, handicapping….etc. of course by you i also mean the boy wonder. love the site mike and also love all the knuckle heads i argue with all the time (my fellow pft commentators). long may you run!

  21. Thanks for doing this Mike. I’ve been following you actively for about five years now, and I felt like a real insider for a while. Now, I’m just part of the bandwagon, but it’s still worth my time to visit. Keep it up, and give your team a bonus if you can find it in the budget. You’ve done a great job, and I hope you can keep up the momentum.

  22. I think you should interview a ten year old kid and you guys can talk about what’s happened the last ten years, then Marshall Faulk or somebody will show up and cure the kid’s cancer. Or whatever.

  23. Congats Mike. You’ve done an amazing job. You’re living the dream doing something on the side that u really enjoyed and turned it into a career thats successful beyond ur wildest dreams. I hope one day I can be doing what ur doing instead of pushing it everyday. Happy 10.

  24. Suggestion:

    Pick one play from each prior weekend that you feel was exceptional for a good reason. Then teach us about it from a technical point of view.

    Illustration (picked only because I’m familiar with it, having watched it personally on TV last weekend): the Pack surprised the Vikings right at the end with a couple of 10+ yard rushing plays. It was a surprise to me those plays worked that well given the rushing results from earlier in the game.

    So, pick one of those Green Bay running plays and get some film from different angles and teach it to us the way the Chargers coach is going teach his team how to defend that better in the upcoming Chargers/Packers contest. Essentially, put us in the shoes of the Charger’s players listening to Chargers defensive coaches dissecting that Green Bay play.

    I’d love to soak something like that up once a week. Never too late to learn something new.

  25. Well Mr Schmancy pants, it sounds like you got a real job finally.

    I’ve been following you for about six years, I’d post under Kleco, but after I got a new computer your site wouldn’t let me log in under same name until I switched my high speed and got a different E-mail.

    Aside from that drama, best site for up to the minute football info. Better than ESPN, better than NFL, and ten times better than my teams site. Here’s to another ten years…

  26. oh my gosh, I just realized PFT is like “pft…” which is what I say every time I see your power rankings because I’m a snotty young go hard with no respect for my elders

    hire me. the sentence above is an example of my work. now that is entertainment.

    happy birthday. or anniversary. whatever dude

  27. You’ll probably spend it writing up anti-Eagles articles. Followed by the brainiacs that read your posts inserting some “Dream Team” comment response. Like they were the first person in the world to think of that.

    Then you’ll all return to circle jerking. Keep it classy PFT

  28. Didn’t you guys do a “PFT’s greatest moments” a few years ago? Try that again….that was funny stuff!

    Congrats on reaching the 10 year mark! Let the Boones Farm flow!

  29. Well deserved. Been a PFT follower for a long while and now I’m starting on my own journey to be a “paid to talk about football” loser at 22. I probably will fail (and my gf will laugh at me), but I take comfort in knowing that anything is possible if the time and work is put in. PFT has been an inspiration for me.

    Congratulations on the success and here’s to 10 more years of PFT. After that, screw you.

    I kid. Well done, fellas.

    P.S. I think a new design for the site and a more integrated/user-friendly profile and comment system would be awesome. The site could be a lot more personable and energetic.

  30. Really, Boone’s Farm…I would have given you bottle of horse pi.ss if you would have just asked Mike…Congrats bro. I wish I was your right hand man and getting paid!

    Uh, do you need a good right hand guy….I am just saying? I mean, you know…

  31. Only was referred to the site just over a year ago, not sure how I lived without it.

    Besides the league wide info streamed all day and all week long, which the talking heads try to bluster out for 2h on Sunday pregame shows to appear as “experts” or “insiders”, it adds elements to the games on Sunday where I could care less who wins, but look forward just to see the reactions on here. Keep it up.

    Here’s an idea for the anniversairy; get Namath and a flask on the live show; and let the rest write itself.

  32. Oh yeah, you could extend an olive branch to Steve Smith and go from there…

    As far as the future. Watch out for the wealth you have around you…If you can follow the “Rock” rule you will be okay.

    Rock Rule

    -It is okay to watch the rock, if it is in a game.
    -Never play with another man’s rock(s).
    -Never smoke any rock!
    -Never buy a large rock for a female as that is a contract to give 1/2 of your future away.
    -Finally, if you hit 55 and your own rocks seem to be a little less active than they were when you were 18…There is always a therapy for it! But you will need to ALWAYS SHIELD YOUR ROCK! or it will can change your will!

  33. wow, i didn’t read where it said you were going to drop your pants and let your azz be kizzed

    how about celebrating by censoring less? it’s more entertaining and fun

  34. Let the Haters hate…i bust alot of PFT chops around here, especially with the lefty slanted politics…But you know what? this is the first place i go when looking for news….for the last 8 or 9 years(i dont even remember how i found this site, but have been here ever since)…so congrats you deserve it.Just dont let the Lefty NBC network suck you into their lefty green obama machine…

  35. yodelpoo says:Oct 25, 2011 10:39 PM
    “Interview Terry Bradshaw and talk about that time you said he was dead.”

    You should use tivo next time you watch a pregame show, cause you can clearly see frank & howie pulling strings with curt using his ventriloquist powers to create the illusion that Terry Bradshaw isn’t dead… what else could explain why no one has seen the man in public for years?

  36. Mike.. job well done.

    Through all the years, yes.. even those prior to the Sprint-days, PFT has always been the first site I visit after firing up the electronic cyclops here. I’ve also spilled/sprayed a fair amount of coffee over my desk and keyboard due to your entertaining, though concise, view on the NFL.


    In regards to the tenth anniversary. What could be more entertaining then a “Top Ten Turd Watch Turds?”

  37. Just think, when you started this thing Gregg was just turning 8. Congrats on all the hard work Mike.

  38. Agree with richm2256 comments above. Brocato deserves an appearance.

    I don’t remember when I found the site but it was in the pre-Sprint days and I was hooked. I recall the regular vacations for the hamsters and the times the site would go boom whenever a big story broke and the servers would collapse from the load. I even remember the days when you would commiserate with us about maintaining the site and then having to go practice law.

    But the thing I remember most is your sense of wonder the first time you went to a Super Bowl and live-blogged the experience. Fabulous. Now you’ve hit the big time and it is a fascinating thing to watch.

    Congratulations Mikey. I feel like I know you as a net friend and whenever I see you on NBC I feel like saying, “Hey – I know that guy! He’s my buddy Mikey!”

    All the best.

  39. “(yes, MF is a Steelers fan)”

    Wrong, as a long time reader, I can remember the days when he would write about his beloved Vikings. There are still subtle hints every now and then about his being a Vikings fan.

  40. Congratulations Mike. You and PFT are like the internet version of the American Dream. I say with all sincerity that you are truly an inspiration as someone who followed his heart and took a big risk to do something that you love.

    Now, it’s probably already suggested, but for your 10 year anniversary, perhaps you can kill off Terry Bradshaw!

    Keep up the good work!

  41. Mike your site is awesome – congratulations. I’m pretty sure I check this site more than I check sportsline.com.

    And I also want to thank you for making an extra special effort the last two years to skewer Matt Millen every chance you get. I particularly liked the rant you gave about his TV gig last year saying “What has this guy done except demonstrate to us that he doesn’t know anything?”

  42. You guys rock Mike! I couldn’t imagine being a Pro football fan without PFT. I come here first everyday and return often for updates. Keep up the good work and enjoy that money. Geaux Saints!

  43. Maybe we could celebrate by having a whole day in which no benign innocuous comments are arbitrarily deleted.

  44. This is the one site I check everyday, many times a day. Even if I don’t check my e-mail, I check PFT. My brother put me onto this 6 years ago and while I was deployed in Kuwait in 2006 I checked this site every day.

    Keep up the good work. Happy 10. Congrats.

    BTW, the daily one-liners was a great idea because I get to see what my team is doing. I like the fact that you don’t just pick one newspaper. For Cleveland there is the Plain Dealer (www.cleveland.com), for Canton there is the Canton Repository (www.cantonrep.com) and so many other newspapers that follow the Browns. Thanks for that.

  45. If 90% of the people connected to the NFL are readers – lets see a section to hold ref crews accountable for some of the more bogus calls of each weekend. You’re certainly powerful enough to do that, honestly.

    It’s been fun. Been reading since 2006.

    Here’s to 10 more.

  46. @marader78 “especially with the lefty slanted politics”

    You have to be careful, they’re all over the internets.

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