By BOB McGINN
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Yes, I will be writing about the Green Bay Packers and the NFL draft in the year ahead.
But, no, it won’t be at BobMcGinnFootball.com.
My son, Charlie, and I have decided to shutter our member-based website after 24 months. At the same time, I have accepted a job at The Athletic, the international, member-based website that has made remarkable inroads into the world of sports journalism during its 3 ½-year existence.
At The Athletic, I will continue to write the Grading the Packers feature including footballs after each game that I began doing in 1987. In addition, I will hand out the final team and individual grades that started in the early 1990s. The format, heavy on analysis, should be almost identical as in the past.
Many of my other duties will revolve around the NFL draft. Other than the NFL regular season and playoffs, the NFL draft arguably is the second-most followed sports entity in America.
For the 36th straight year I’ll write the positional draft series in April. I’ll also provide other draft analysis earlier in the winter.
For much of the regular season my duties also will include a story each week looking back at drafts. I’ll select a player, players or event from the last 35 years and examine what happened in light of what personnel people told me before that draft.
Starting with my first NFL draft series in 1985, I have a transcript of every interview tucked away neatly in file drawers. I can’t wait to revisit those interviews, at least 80% of which has never been used. Some of the stories will relate to the Packers, some will not.
Charlie, the brains behind the business part of the operation, was set to continue on with our website. So were Rob Reischel, our Packers correspondent, and Mark Eckel, our copy chief.
Thanks to you, our loyal subscribers, BobMcGinnFootball.com was a success story. An executive for The Athletic congratulated us on putting together a viable startup venture during our two years.
In the end, the decision to move on was mine.
It has been 40 years – five part-time, 35 full-time – since I started covering the same team. I simply wanted to change course, take on a different challenge and experience a new adventure.
Joining The Athletic will
mean a broader audience for both my draft and Packers coverage. As the author
of “The Ultimate Super Bowl Book” a decade ago, I had the chance to conduct
several hundred interviews centering on why the first 46 games were won. It was
a most satisfying experience.
Although I have nothing but warm memories regarding my 42-year newspaper career in Wisconsin and the two years with Charlie at our website, I am excited to begin this new chapter of my life.
Some of you don’t know what The Athletic is, which is to be understood. But sports journalists across the country and now in the United Kingdom have closely followed the venture since its inception.
Ever expanding, The Athletic now employs beat writers to cover every team in every major professional sports league in the United States and the UK (English Premier League). These writers are at all home and road games played by their teams, where they are encouraged to write analytical stories free of harsh deadline pressure.
For example, The Athletic in Wisconsin has beat writers covering the Packers, Badgers, Brewers and Bucks.
Subscribers to The Athletic
have carte blanche to read everything on the site about any team and any sport.
Frankly, I’m stunned at how rapidly The Athletic has grown. Whether it represents the future of sportswriting remains to be seen, but it very well might.
I’m thrilled to be colleagues now with so many of my beat-writing friends who have preceded me at The Athletic. That includes Ed Bouchette in Pittsburgh and Dan Pompei in Chicago, two long-time peers who closely followed me as winners of the Dick McCann Memorial Award.
Charlie and I couldn’t have run our website without Rob and Mark. They accepted every assignment without exception and performed their duties exceptionally well.
Rob, the sports editor at News Publishing Co. in Madison, will remain covering the Packers for both Forbes and Conley Media. He can also be heard on the radio each Thursday at 8:20 a.m. on WOZN (AM 1670) in Madison and each Thursday at 3:50 p.m. on WSSP (AM 1250) in Milwaukee. His twitter handle is @robreischel
Mark, the retired long-time Philadelphia Eagles beat writer, can be heard Saturdays on the Pack a Day podcast and Wednesdays on the Birds Brain podcast in Philadelphia. He also writes for several betting sites, including bettorsinsider.com. His twitter handle is @markeckel08.
Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with my son, Charlie, made the last two years something I’ll never forget. As Charlie continues to work in national sales in Chicago, he’ll remain one of the most knowledgeable sports fans I’ve ever encountered. True to his word, he allowed me just to write and never worry about business.
Our sincere thanks, of course, go out to all of you who supported us at BobMcGinnFootball.com. Your insatiable need for more and better coverage of the Packers and the draft inspired all of us, especially me. So many of you were read-every-word types. We knew that everything we wrote would be devoured. That’s a great feeling.
We’re also deeply appreciative of those members who not only utilized the comments section beneath our stories but kept their remarks respectful of us and others. I’ve never seen more civil comments on a media website than those that appeared on ours.
Given that it was common for us to have more than 100 comments on one story, I made it a point to ask one of my new superiors at The Athletic about its comment policy. It’s basically the same. You can comment to your heart’s content.
What I’d love to see is many of our old gang over at The Athletic commenting on my stories. Please join me as we both experience all that The Athletic can offer.