By BOB McGINN
It was a great year.
My son, Charlie, and I are in wholehearted agreement on that.
We co-founded BobMcGinnFootball.com in 2017 with no idea what to expect. Thanks to thousands of you, our loyal subscribers, we can now say the first season was a success.
We’re indebted to the enormous contributions made by Rob Reischel, our correspondent/beat writer, and Mark Eckel, our copy chief.
Not only can Rob write anything, he can write it fast and write it well. His leads epitomize punchy. His stories are topical. His stories have perspective. His stories have depth. He loves the business.
Mark, a beat writer for 32 seasons covering the Philadelphia Eagles, took to his editing work in no time flat. There were countless occasions when he spotted mistakes by Rob, “The Maven” and me, and saved us all some embarrassment with timely changes. Sometimes, his headlines were better than our stories. He also wrote recaps at the conclusion of games and other spot news.
Although I’ve been covering pro football for 40 years, it’s still critical to have a sounding board. Rob, who has been covering the Green Bay Packers to various degrees since 1991, and Mark, a Packers fanatic for life, proved invaluable with their words of wisdom on the team and journalism, in general.
We hope our depth of analysis was reflected by our combined 100 years of covering pro football.
Charlie wasn’t kidding when he insisted all I would have to do was write.
Last spring and summer, during the germination period, Charlie was in charge of the startup and we were in constant communication. As the season wore on, however, we communicated less because he handled all the business, design, marketing, photo choices and constant trouble-shooting that came along. Even in the face of malfunctions and breakdowns, he took care of it all enabling me to focus on the story being written that day and the one for the next day.
Both of us found ourselves spending more time than we anticipated on our joint venture. From my standpoint, just having the chance to work side-by-side with my son made it all worthwhile.
To those of you who thought we had a marketing budget … well, we didn’t. We used our Twitter accounts, Facebook, media interviews and any other means we could think of to spread the word of our existence. Even now, we hear from people that just found out.
Certainly, the key to our success was you, our subscribers. Your decision to support us was of paramount importance, to say the least. At the same time, we know hundreds if not thousands of you also let your family and friends know of our venture.
We also want to thank some subscribers for contributing liberally and intelligently to the Comments section beneath all our stories. Every so often I’d go through the Comments portion of a story. I doubt any website or publication could surpass the civilized discourse therein. That was a pleasure to see, and probably typified the type of discerning, knowledgeable reader we have attracted. It was a thrill for all of us to analyze football for you.
One of the joys for me was being able to write without ever-more-oppressive deadlines hanging over my head. With the precious gift of additional time I had the ability to collect my thoughts, whereas during night games of the past and increasingly following afternoon games it was more a matter of just filling column inches as fast as possible. Even the daily stories in the print world must be filed earlier and earlier.
There was time in 2017 to go back and watch more tape, check a few files or do some research before having to sit down at the keyboard. It was only natural our stories were more complete. Rob and I both felt we wrote better, too.
At the same time, I no longer went to bed after filing a story worrying how much of it would be chopped because of spatial constraints. I could write as long as I wanted without fear of being cut. How sweet it was.
By far the most humorous element of our coverage was the fantasy football report authored by “The Maven,” a.k.a. Charlie McGinn. We understand our audience might not include fantasy diehards, and I haven’t played fantasy since the late 1980s, but I loved every word of it. It made me laugh aloud every Saturday.
The camaraderie among us was special. Mark, Rob and I have done this beat-writing thing for a long time, and Charlie has been around it his whole life. My son is a shrewd observer of the sports landscape. It was a good fit all around.
We understand sports reporting. We’ve spent our entire careers adhering to journalistic ethics. We didn’t need a boss. Ours was a democratic society, with the feedback constant and the laughter ever present.
Upon the launch in late August, we told potential subscribers our work year would start Sept. 1 and extend through about May 1. This column marks the end of our year. There will be no more new content.
BobMcGinnFootball.com will remain on hold and unchanged for the foreseeable future.
In the next month or two, Charlie and I will make the decision whether to continue in 2018-’19. This is a year-by-year proposition. We have a lot to digest and much to discuss. Like most business ventures, ours could be even better in Year 2.
At some point in August we’ll announce our plans on the website and, if it’s a go, start writing on or near Sept. 1. Little of consequence happens during the off-season, training camp and exhibition games. Those were my least favorite writing times of the year as well.
On behalf of Charlie, Rob and Mark, we thank you for trusting us with your support in Year 1. We made a smart move starting this website.