Thursday, May 31, 2007
Blogger Interviews: NFL Adam
We're running a segment here at The Big Picture where we'll interview some of the biggest names in the sports blogosphere. What's the point? Well, these guys spend countless, thankless hours writing, so a little recognition from time to time is well warranted. Think of this as the blogger's version of a reach-around or something.
Hanging out today is NFL Adam from the whoop-ass The Hater Nation and The FanHouse. THN has a small-to-medium-sized place in our heart: it was the first blog we added to our blogroll, the first one ours added to, and probably the first place we ever dropped off a comment. That was way back in '05. Adam's site is still among our favorite stops of the day and he's one of the few bloggers we talk to regularly outside of cyberspace. So treat Adam...oh fuck it. Do whatever the fuck you want with him. This is the same guy who makes fun of just about everything, so let him have it in the comments.
1. The rundown:
Name: NFL Adam
Location: Sunset Beach, Calif.
Favorite team: How about the teams that I hate? Starting with the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Football Team, the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees, the Celtics and pretty much any team that doesn’t play near the I-15, except for the Jazz, hate them too.
Links to your favorite all-time posts you've written. (3-5)
-The original Raiders Fans in the Mist
-Terrell Owens Died For Your Sins
-J.J. Needs a Paternity Test
-A Date Which Will Live in Infamy (Stupid and to the point.)
Time per day spent blogging and perusing the blogosphere: Good lord, like all day. Mostly looking for pictures of Cowgirl.
2. Take us through a typical day of blogging.
I like to post at night before bed. But sometimes something will strike my fancy during the day. I was once obsessed with “breaking” stories, being one of the first to stumble on the Panthers lesbian cheerleading romp and downloading the photos before the club pulled them. But then you find a gem, and then two hours later, it’s on The Sports Frog, or something. Not that they are stealing or anything, but we’re all searching for the same type of stuff. Now I just kind of take it as it comes, and don’t really care if I’m first, because I’m pretty confident that my take will be unique.
3. You have like real life (read: paid) sports writing experience under your belt. Tell us about those gigs. How'd you hook them up? Are they as cool as they sound?
They probably are more cool. I stumbled on an internship with the NFL and turned that into a nine-year stint. You haven’t lived until Marcus Allen has (expletive) blocked you. Or Jim Kelly has told you that you need to shut it down because you might have had too many drinks. Funny story, I got that gig because an ex-girlfriend’s brother-in-law had held a position with the NFL and he put in a good word. But that wasn’t the only reason why I dated her. So that was a real cool job, and you can imagine how disappointed I was when the league closed down the office. It’s quite a switch going from covering Super Bowls to doing softball agate. But seeing that I never really paid my dues, covering preps was a pretty good experience and it now helps me appreciate everything I have now.
I’m often asked who were my favorite players in the NFL. The short list goes Marcellus Wiley, Kyle Turley and Pat Tillman. I talked to Pat after his rookie season with the Cardinals and he was as really cool guy. He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him whenever. I made a habit of calling him every summer, just to find out what he was up to. One year, he ran a marathon. Another year, he did a triathlon. Then the last year, he joined the Army. I had his number and I wanted to call and wish him good luck with everything, but he didn’t want to talk to the media, so I chickened out. I regret that every day. Even if I had just left a message. I still try to live by one of his credos, "Do something that scares you every day." Sometimes when I’m nervous about something, anything, I just think about that.
4. The Hater Nation does such a good job with taking a different angle to a well-discussed story. What's the rationale behind this? Trying to stick out? Distinguish your voice? Do tell.
Thank you. A lot of it comes from being left-handed. I also have a background in stand-up comedy, which teaches you to take an event and just given an honest reaction. If you take the time to think, "What is the most controversial thing I can say about this," then it looks disingenuous and people can see right through it. Like Calvin Cowherd, who comes off like a big phony. So the key is to just be honest with yourself and state your point of view without being afraid of the reaction. You do a good job of that, and it is the reason why I started reading TBP. But damn, the blogosphere can be so predictable. Anytime a story breaks, you can predict what 98% of the blogs out there are going to say about it.
5. Dream job? Go.
Playing the role of Norm MacDonald’s brother on My Name is Earl. I’m a Norm sound-alike (as Zach could attest), so that just seems natural.
6. THN has been known to say some shit that's funny as hell, but is close to crossing -- if not completely over -- the line. This post comes to mind. Ever worried you've gone too far? Get any hate mail? Death threats? At least one or two, right?
I’m still struggling to see what was controversial about that. More than 100 marines died in Iraq in May, where is the outrage over that? I’m sorry for those kids at Virginia Tech, but do you really care? Yeah, it was a bad day, but to be truthful, those events didn’t really impact your life unless you were on campus that day, or had family or friends who did. But that didn’t stop bloggers from going on, and on about the ordeal. That, to me, was more offensive. I hate people who try to thrust themselves into a tragedy. Like people living in Wyoming who talked about their 9/11 experiences. Odds are, that didn’t really impact many lives in Jacksonhole.
Going back to what I said about honest reactions, when the Virginia Tech shootings went down, my immediate thought was, "Where was Marcus Vick?" And I’m willing to bet that was the first thought of millions of people out there. Let’s just be honest.
I also remember a couple of years ago I did a post after a Colts playoff loss saying, "Colts fans were on suicide watch on Sunday, but that was just in the Tony Dungy family section." And people became indignant because of that. Yeah, like you knew James Dungy. Get over yourself. Besides, Tony equated himself as being a bit of a scumbag for his stance on gay rights. And that’s another thing I don’t get, homophobia in sports. Like is Tim Hardaway scared that one of the cast members of Queer Eye is going to overpower him and force him to turn gay? I think that if you are not gay, then the odds of you have gay sex are pretty slim. So I don’t get why Dungy has to go campaigning about gay marriage. Seeing that he’s not gay, he’s probably not going to enter into a gay marriage, so why does he care?
And I guess none of this has anything to do with the question. But I have never, outside of a drunk at a Cal State Fullerton basketball game, been accosted by a fan. Although, I almost got roughed up by Steve Bisheff’s toupee.
7. There are all sorts of wonderful blogs out there. A few you'd recommend?
This is my favorite part of your interviews. In that people always list Deadspin or With Leather. Obviously those are great spots and I have gained a lot of readers because of those guys. But who hasn’t heard of them by now? Yeah, Dan Shanoff, thanks for pointing me to this great Deadspin website because I’ve never heard of it. And hey Jamie, you might want to check out this cool movie called Star Wars and this awesome television show called The Simpsons. Might have slipped your radar. Again, I don’t try to go out of my way, but here illustrates the point that you can predict what 98% of the blogosphere is going to say.
So here are some of the cool ones you might not have heard of: Wasting Company Time, West Side Slant, A Price Above Bip Roberts, Rumors and Rants, Signal to Noise, Our Book of Scrap, Minor League Town, L.A. Seitz of Chicago, Blog Cabins, Insomniac’s Lounge, Benny’s The Sports Pulse, Flash Warner’s deal, Awful Announcing, Trust Me I’m a Blonde, Nanners and Noodles, and um, some others. I’m sorry if I didn’t name you. I’m trying to give a lift to my buddies. I feel like Doug Krikorian.
But probably the most important blog over the past decade is Divealanche. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Divealanche, there wouldn’t be a THN. And to those who have, uh, modeled your site after THN, you should pay a little respect for Divealanche.
8. Most rewarding parts of blogging? Most frustrating?
The Comment Monkeys are, by far, the most rewarding part. CAPPY, Conrad Bain, Bucky, The Hatriot, Zach LS, et al., again I’m screwing myself because I’m omitting hundreds of people here. But I love them all, even the Fake Will Leitch.
Nothing is frustrating about it. I don’t even care about not getting paid for it. Even when people rip me or the site, it’s worth it because they had fun. I love it.
9. What's the ultimate goal of your site/your writing
I have no goal. I’ve covered two Super Bowls, covered a World Series. I’ve done it all. I don’t care. As long as people enjoy what we do, then the site will keep running. But douchebags who say they want to get into writing movies, or they want to write for late-night talk shows because they have said all that they have said, well they can go (expletive) themselves. That shows me that you aren’t giving an honest reaction, instead playing a character. I swear, I make bad James Dungy jokes in my home.
10. October, 2004. You just wake up, hop online, realize porn wasn't doing it for ya anymore, and decide to surrender yourself to a world of sports blogging? Or did starting THN play out a bit differently?
I always wanted to do a Raiders-bashing site back in the late 1990s. But it took me that long to get around to it. I once wrote for this sports website covering the Angels, and that was kind of the launch of THN, but it didn’t really get started in earnest until 2004. I just wanted a chance to write what I wanted to write, without the constraint of editors. Well, I have horrible grammar and keyboards weren’t designed for lefties, so I make a ton of mistakes, typos, etc. But in exchange, I get to say what I want, so I hope that makes up for it.
11. This might be a loaded question, but, in your opinion, what's the future of sports blogs? Enlighten us.
FanHouse is really leading the way here, of taking some of the best and brightest and going forward. Now you will see other sites following suit, including ESPN, FOX and newspapers. Blogs are hot right now, but there is a backlash coming soon. Not that blogs will go the way of the ham radio, but with too many people out there, nobody takes blogs seriously. So eventually, the numbers will shrink to the dedicated blogs.
12. We'll end with some lucky individuals. The Hater Nation is fueled by the likes of Eli Messiah, J.J. Manning, Cowgirl and others. Who's been the athlete or sports figure you'll go out of your way to rag on? Why?
You don’t have to go out of your way to make fun of Messiah or J.J. Manning. They make it too easy. And I admire Cowgirl. People rag on her, but she took her opportunity and ran with it. People like that should be admired, not scorned. You might believe that she has no business writing for SI, but really, neither does Peter King.
Thanks for the time. Since I have the floor, I wanted to announce that I have landed one of my dream jobs (sadly, not the Norm MacDonald thing). So NFL Adam might not be around the blogosphere as much. And announcing this is so douchey, but I just wanted to assure people that THN will continue to roll, and look for further announcements.
(Past interviews; also found on right sidebar: Dawizofodds; Matt Ufford; The Mighty MJD; Jamie Mottram; The Big Lead; The Cavalier; Will Leitch; Dan Shanoff; Dan Steinberg; Brooks; Unsilent Majority; J.E. Skeets; Henry Abbott; The Dugout).