46-year run ends for Pro Football Weekly

The handwriting has been on the wall for months, given the lack of handwriting or other new content appearing at the Pro Football Weekly website.  Despite the controversial and headline-creating Geno Smith scouting report by Nolan Nawrocki, the worst-kept secret in media circles had been that PFW was in an apparent death spiral.

On Friday, editor Hub Arkush posted a farewell message on the publication’s website.  A separate link revealed the cold, hard truth:  assets of $143,000, and liabilities of $8.5 million.

“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,” Arkush writes.  “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.”

While PFW could have, in our view, remained competitive in the world of new media — indeed, the publication’s “Way We Hear It” feature reflected Internet-style rumor mongering long before folks were mongering rumors on the Internet — the name itself epitomized old-media realities.  “Weekly” would no longer cut it; news and analysis must be delivered in real-time via electronic means, not once per week in a publication that looked and felt more like a newspaper than a magazine.

At one point, PFW was an indispensable source of league-wide information and analysis to supplement local newspapers that focused on one team and national newspapers that provided only the most superficial information (but at least they did it in pretty colors).  Put simply, times changed and PFW didn’t.

Every new-media publication should heed that warning.  Times will continue to change.  Those who don’t change with the times eventually will have a pile of liabilities that dwarf their assets, too.

72 responses to “46-year run ends for Pro Football Weekly

  1. I loved these magazines but unfortunately, print media is dying and people are losing jobs because of it. It’s such a shame

  2. They’ve been my favorite resource for nearly 15 years.

    Loved their draft and season preview mags.

    Genuinely sorry to see them go.

  3. In the 80’s and early 90’s PFW was gold. It was a $4.95 newspaper (like a $10 – $15 newspaper now) but the content was amazing.

    IMO they never recovered from the death of Joel Bushbaum.

  4. I was the editor of a national music magazine that folded after 30 years, so I feel your pain. Props and thanks to the Pro Football Weekly staffs of years gone by for all the joy you brought me and countless of NFL fans.

  5. Wow, I didn’t realize PFW even had a hard-copy format anymore, beyond annual draft and fantasy guide softbacks. It disappeared from my local newsstand sometime around the turn of the century.

    I had assumed they’d made the jump past the digital divide. PFW was to me a sporadically updated website which covered pro football, weakly.

  6. I have been purchasing the PFW Draft Preview religiously for 19 years and will be lost without it.
    Even with the limitless NFL Draft coverage now available, I still considered that guide as my NFL Draft “Bible”.

  7. Shame to hear another print magazine going down for the count. $143,000 in assets and $8.5Million in liabilities though….I’d have thrown in the towel way before I got $8.5Million in the hole!

  8. With Nawrocki involved, it couldn’t have happened to a better bunch.

    Maybe Cam and Geno will give them a loan. He who laughs last – laughs best. So long suckas!!!

  9. Sad news here. I agree that they never recovered after the death of Joel Bushbaum but would add that the loss of Howard Balzer was a huge loss as well. They never really replaced Balzer with a big time writer, just tried to plug in one of the Arkushs and that hurt the publication, IMO.

  10. Huge shame. I’m tremendously disappointed to hear it. Like most who have posted here, PFW was pretty much my football Bible for many years. I finally had to make the difficult decision to stop my subscription a couple of years ago– it just got too tough to justify in the budget for info that’s mostly available for free on-line. Now I regret it.

    I agonize over the death of print media in general– I love reading real books instead of staring at a screen, or having a newspaper to unfold over lunch– but this one is particularly painful. The constant and immediate availability of news IS nice, no doubt– but the rush to be first has unfortunately led most publications (looking at you, PFT!) to abandon any pretense of editing. The so-called professionals are pretty much killing the English language right in front of our eyes, and it’s not pleasant to watch.

    R.I.P. PFW. You folks deserved so much better.

  11. Too inflexible…they waited to long to adjust. Poor management…their online content has been wack for years…

    Peace out. Your a business with a 46 year rep in the biggest sport and deliver crappy online content. Good riddance…

    To those who lost their jobs….I truly am sorry and I am sure you all warned the owner how rediculous their strategy was.

  12. On line or off, their analysis was easily the best in the business. Now we are left with crap like Rotoworld and their ilk. A clamoring group of no nothings following their own tails around on Twitter.

  13. All good things must come to an end. Radio serials… The Shadow Knows, REAL Saturday morning cartoons… What’s up Doc?, Those “country” girls of Hee Haw and even the Fonz. Just a fact of life. I feel sorry for those of you too young to remember Joel Bushbaum. IMO the most succinct, unbiased and truthful talent evaluator that ever lived… and an even more interesting character. Nothing beat getting that little PFW in the mail with their draft preview. RIP PFW.

  14. And yet people like Donte Whitner tweet stupid things such as:


    Pro football weekly went out of business? Yea because they didn’t know anything about football!!!

    Maybe this moron fails to realize that that company has been around longer than he’s lurked on this earth. Maybe he can beg for a job with some print media after he’s a forgotten name in 2 years

  15. Hub Arkesh is a very smart and well-spoken guy. I remember first listening to him back in the 1970’s on WABC in New York with the late and equally wonderful Art Rust, Jr.

    Wishing nothing but the best for Hubblala.

    Will be looking for him on 670 The Score in Chicago — over the Internet!

  16. I don’t understand how it can be $8.5M in debt. Please do a follow-up article on this and explain it.

    Kudos to Hub and Dan Arkush for taking over when their father passed away.

  17. I guess Nolan Nawrocki will have to cut and paste his negative Teddy Bridgewater scouting report somewhere else that hopefully won’t get him quoted again here.

    But seriously, Pro Football Weekly was once a great publication and still has some nice nuggets here and there on their website and radio show (whenever I catch it because it’s always at some ungodly hour),; however, they didn’t keep up with the times.

    Their website is cluttered and archaic despite the useful information, and someone should have realized like around 2005 or 2006 that they should have ditched the print part of the business before the debts got this out of hand, considering the rise of this very website and that the SI magazine basically would be losing money (and may very well be) if it didn’t have its swimsuit issue. I mean, how many print publications went out around then and these guys still wouldn’t ditch the print side?

    Unlike others here, I don’t lament the death of print media because as we’ve gained more access, there is a realization that most of the “people in the know” really don’t know anything. That was surely the case back then too although everything seemed so mystical because the information was so guarded and far in between when you could get it. Therefore, it makes me more skeptical and less likely to waste as much time reading into all this stuff being said by the writers and talking heads.

    Just a lesson though, no matter who you are or how big anything is, the world will turn tomorrow without you when your time is up.

  18. Very sad, but inevitably a victim to ever-evolving media these days. You’ll be missed as much as the oxen pulling the trows in the field of the,,,,,,early????? Well,,,,a looong time ago. But hey, they were used for an extended period.

  19. Their yearly preview magazines were the best, and I’ve kept every one I ever bought. It’s great reading to go back to, say, 1998 and read about how Marvin Harrison was looking like he might be a bust. The Internet doesn’t have those snapshots of players whose careers were at a crossroads.

    They will truly be missed.

  20. There’s gonna be a million people who talk about the sadness of this. a million people and maybe only a handful of them that still paid for it.

    kinda reminds me of that Louis CK bit about ugly people who never sleep with anyone their entire life – the crowd went “aww” and then he whips around and goes “oh, then go out and be with one of them! no? that’s what I thought”.

    Print media died because nobody wants to pay for news anymore. We have these awesome Internet Hacks these days who blow the literal press out of the water and they shouldn’t pretend to be sad about situations that occured as a direct result of their own rise to respectable paychecks.

  21. In the end,it comes down to people just stopped paying them money….we should all please keep it in mind when we determine that a few cups of coffee or a six pack per month are more important than supporting something you value…..once it is gone,it is gone….clubs,publications,organizations…all depend on their supporters for just that…support…liking it and enjoying it and lamenting it when it is gone does not pay the bills…..a business does not have to be a corporate giant making millions in order to be successful,important or worthwhile….it just needs the people who do appreciate it and enjoy it to support it….

  22. The information highway has become a super highway and weekly mags like this one can only limp its way to the nearest exit in this fast paced world.
    Kinda sad to see a great piece of work become nostalgia…I will miss it

  23. It has not been a good week for Chicago-based publications.

    The Chicago Sun Times laid off its whole photography department.

    Now PFW is gone.

    Rarely does any website or sports publication get talked about in a bankruptcy process or linked to creditors.

    However, when people like me rhetorically ask “do people still read PFW” this news comes off as less surprising.

    It’s unfortunate that their financial distress was not discussed more. I figure someone could have saved it, but we may never know.

    Hopefully PFW staffers can get good jobs in the media, but it won’t be the same for them or their readers because of PFW’s cache.

  24. The PFW annual draft guide/book was/is by far the most comprehensive, detailed draft guide available. First with Joel Buschbaum, then continued with Nolan Nawrocki, for the past 20 years I’ve happily forked over my $20 for the newest copy. I only hope that some media corporation somewhere picks up Nawrocki and the PFW Draft Guide concept so I can continue getting my precious in-depth draft material.

  25. What ?
    No more Hub “I love the Duh-Bears” Arkush telling us we no absolutely nothing about football…..
    Good riddance to that bird cage lining trash magazine !!!!

  26. I’m glad PFW went out of business last year when they decided to stop the print issue they gave the choice of a refund.Which I haven’t received or had much corporation from them.

  27. Au revoir. I used to wait patiently every week too peruse the rumors for some tidbit of news about my team. Sadly, they became irrelevant many years ago with the explosion of Internet sites and Twitter mills.

    Sad to say goodbye.

  28. Sorry to hear that. Pro Football Weekly had the best NFL Draft Preview and NFL Season Preview in the business.

  29. This feels like a football team leaving a city. I grew up with PFW and always looked at them for the best insight to football. I understand times are changing, but you have made a great contribution to the world of sports and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  30. Print media is dead at this point. Any print business that can’t adjust and make the transition to the web is finished.

  31. Sorry to see it go. Yes times have changed, but was still the best hard copy preview/fantasy guide out there. Loved reading it on the beach the last 20 years prepping for my fantasy draft. Easier to read then trying to squint and read it on a iphone……

  32. connormyboy says: Jun 1, 2013 7:22 AM

    I’m glad PFW went out of business last year when they decided to stop the print issue they gave the choice of a refund.Which I haven’t received or had much corporation from them.
    I think they got overwhelmed with volume. After leaving a message on their dedicated phone line voice mail, I still hadn’t heard back. I called another time and talked to a lady who couldn’t have been nicer and she made sure that I got my draft guides in lieu of the remainder of my print subscription. It’s a sad day that they are now gone for good. I started reading them way back in the day when I became a fan (well before internet) and I loved the paper, and their draft guides. I’m with rushbacker, I love real actual print media.

  33. Print media died because the “news” you expect us to pay for had to be gathered, then printed on freaking trees, then distributed to the reader long after the news was no longer news. That was never a good business model.

    This sounds like gross mismanagement.

  34. The dinosaurs went out of business too. Any business that hired Norman Nawrocki should be out of business. KARMA!!!

    Sad that so many of you long for the “good ole days”. They weren’t good for everybody – they’re over – move forward or meet the fate of PFW.

  35. Yeah, this is sad, but as stated, the internet is KILLING print media, which sucks. I enjoy going to the local news stand smoke shop every Sunday & picking up magazines. Sadly every year more of them disappear.

    It is getting time for people to start getting out of their basements & living rooms again & get out into the world. Everyone just sits in front of TVs or their internet devices.

    Magazines & music is being killed slowly but the net.

  36. Man what a bummer. Not surprising but sad nonetheless. Truly the end of an era. Like many this was the Football Bible for me pre-internet. You could count on their pre-season issue as a primer to get ya through the summer to training camp. I usually had the pages worn out on mine by the time games started.

  37. Ourlads is a good draft publication. I have bought it for the past 6 years and have not been disappointed.

  38. So Nolan Nawrocki is unemployed while Cam Newton is aiming for a second straight Pro Bowl berth? Karma Boomerang.

  39. I don’t know who was advising them but they should have changed their format over to Pro Football Daily long ago but kept their draft guide as a publication annually.

  40. PFW was once the best out there.R.I.P. Not the only long time mag to go away.This past draft was the last one for Mel Kiper’s Big Blue Draft Preview as well.

  41. Been a subscriber since 1990 and a newsstand purchaser since 1987. Really loved “Way We Hear It” and the Buchsbaum era of draft coverage. Nolan Nawrocki and staff kept up the standard set by Buchsbaum IMO. Really will miss the draft guide, pretty neat to look back at 20+ of them and see the hits and misses! Thanks Hub and staff! Fellow PFW followers- give OURLADS guides/ newsletters a try, they tend to focus more on the positives than the negatives of each prospect- great staff! TRY IT

  42. So where will Nolan Nawrocki and his shiny skinhead end up next? Fox News opening a sports department, maybe?

  43. That’s a shame. Great resource with quality unbiased articles unlike this tmz friendly crapfest you got going here.

  44. This is really sad to hear, but I’m one of PFW’s one time loyal readers who’d increasingly ignored it the past few years.

    I first discovered PFW in ’87, and immediately subscribed. When I was old enough to be a working professional in NY, I found a newsstand (!) that carried it, so I could get it on Thursday mornings instead of Friday or Saturday, when my subscription usually showed up.

    I think that PFW, in its own way, did as much to make the draft a huge event, with all their fantastic coverage – led by the late Joel Buchsbaum – every year.

    Thanks to everyone associated with PFW over the years. For many, many years, it was something I dearly loved, and I appreciate all the effort and passion that went into making it great. Best of luck to all those folks in their future endeavors.

    Mark P.

  45. I was wondering what was going on. Their website was one that I always checked, and for quite a while nothing new was being posted. I enjoyed the print edition too, that and the old-style Sporting News. Too bad.

  46. I loved PFW since the mid-70s. But I have to say that the quality went down significantly and never recovered after Joel Buchsbaum’s sad passing.

    But I’ll always appreciate the great years (especially before the internet).

  47. “Lindy’s draft magazine last two years I think. and beyond now.”

    Dude, you should call 911, I think you are having a stroke…

  48. I loved these magazines but unfortunately, print media is dying and people are losing jobs because of it. It’s such a shame
    Well, bell ringers were shoved aside by print media. They had a good, long run. Dead tree media has been dying for 10 years. Adaptation is a requirement. Their online site was clunky and rarely frequented from what I could see. Yet pft gets high traffic and most articles get 60+ comments. Perhaps they’re a little more provocative in their approach, but I’d think pfw could have drawn some kind of compromise. But they put too many resources into the dying media and didn’t invest enough in the online approach.

  49. Really brings home how things have changed…..as a Falcons fan living in California, PFW used to give me my only scraps of Falcons news that were available to me….now I can get up-to-the-minute news, facts and commentary as quickly as if I lived in the ATL….

  50. Last copy that I bought was around five years ago. It was a pre-season issue with their predictions for each team. Those predictions proved to be highly erroneous, as I thought they would be. I didn’t know much about the writers, but I didn’t think too much of their level of expertise either.

    Still, its sad to lose a dedicated outlet for the sport. Thanks for the memories.

  51. It was indeed a sad day. I have been a staff/contributing photographer for PFW for 37 years. I have seen & recorded a lot of NFL history in that time and have always been proud to have it in the issues of PFW. To those of us that contributed, we were a family and it hurts when a family member passes on. I will miss them.

  52. Still remember picking up my first copy of PFW’s season preview back in ’99 and being drawn in by the combination of engaging writing and in-depth analysis. Ever since then, I would eagerly await the day when their draft and season previews would hit newsstands. Also, I loved reading their “Audibles” section, it was like a window into how NFL scouts and executives talk and think.

    Such a shame. Really happy that they’ll still be releasing one last season preview.

  53. It’s amazing that a family run long standing source of football knowledge is forced out of business while some d-bag gets an NBC gig and by appearing with Peter King is granted more credibility than he deserves.

    For those new to the site in the past 10 years here’s a little background. PFT was the pimple on the rear end of reporting on the NFL. Florio’s “hit” rate was somewhere between the number of concussions suffered by Chris Miller and the number of couches set on fire in Morgantown to “celebrate” a big win. Putting it another way, the only thing I remember Florio getting right in the early days was the Bears Kordell Stewart signing….and that was days after Hub/PFW and Chicago media had already reported it.

    I think it’s great that PFT was bought out by NBC and has now developed the way that it has. It goes to prove that if you have a few bucks you can buy a domain & hosting service, put out complete BS, and if you start guessing right, people will actually believe that you’re an “expert”…even if you’re just an expert at useless Seinfeld information.

    So keep dancing on that grave Florio…eventually people find out who the true experts are and who are the pretenders. Glazer and Hub could run circles around you…just as King does every week during halftime of Notre Dame games. (I’ll go out on a limb and guess that King is the one who feeds you the info so you don’t look like any more of an idiot than you already do.)

    Here’s to you being jettisoned from NBC and turning into the next Gary Myers. I’m sure your beloved Mountaineer fans will welcome you with open arms. Perhaps they’ll even let you write a weekly column in the local paper about the criminal behavior that has become an epidemic amongst the low character guys WVU tends to draw. I hope Hub and the Arkush family are still around to dance on your professional grave. Those of us who remember this site’s early days know exactly who you are and how little credibility you actually have as a result.

  54. Being a two year subscriber to PFW, they fell down in their fulfillment. They were always the highest priced annual magazine at $80 a year on the low end. With that said, I still paid it. What did them in for me is that they couldn’t get their publication out to the public within the same week. So getting information and data that was obsolete by the time it reached the subscriber was HORRIBLE. There was nothing worse than reading about the matchups for games, after the games had already been played. I would say that at least 40% of the time it reached my home on Tuesday of the week after the week for which it was intended. I am old school, I enjoyed having the paper in my hands as opposed to reading the online content.

    It is very sad but not surprising.

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