It has been said that one of the biggest mistakes a journalist or writer can make when covering a topic is making it about the author themselves. I’ve always found that odd when covering sports, because as a fan it’s impossible to separate who you are and how you feel about the team and their moves from the topics we cover. it’s part of how we develop our voice as a writer.
When I joined Pride of Detroit back in May of 2016, I wanted to share that voice with all of you in the Pride of Detroit community. It has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, and while I’ll still be here sharing in Lions fandom with all of you, it will no longer be as a staff writer at POD.
It’s been a crazy ride. Though already in its fourth year in 2016, RAS was still pretty new. It mostly existed in spreadsheet form and the massive data patches that made it a stable, functionable formula were still more than a year away. We spent time talking about athletic testing, as you’ve now come to expect from me, but we also counted names on a video from the Lions draft board to guess at what positions they were targeting. We gave open calls for you all to come to training camp, and chuckled at how Jake Rudock was kinda bad. I posted my first stock reports, which would be a mainstay of my time at POD, and you helped me tweak my format and system so it would be the best experience for all of you.
You joined me in predicting the “camp cockroach” each year, a player who would shine in camp or preseason only to disappear when the lights came on during the regular season. We intensely critiqued Madden ratings and reviewed the team together. We made fun of projecting stats from small sample sizes over a whole season, looked at Mock Draft roundups.
The POD community joined me in collective appreciation of Nick Chubb in the 2018 draft, had mixed reactions to my overly negative review (I was trying to be positive!) of the Teez Tabor draft selection in 2017, and the same to my overly positive review of Kenny Golladay the next round. You were there with me both when I was optimistic about D’Andre Swift as a prospect and when I was disappointed he was selected where he was due to positional value and the holes on the roster.
You have all been here through the good and the bad. When I’ve made good predictions and bad ones. When I’ve been labeled a homer and a hater. In my draft highs when I post three or more articles a week to the lows where I post maybe once a month, I could always count on the Pride of Detroit community to be there to listen and let me know what they think.
When RAS was just some funny numbers on a spreadsheet, you guys where there to tell me what sounded smart and what sounded stupid. You were quick to point out flaws in my process and equally quick to respond favorably when I found something neat in the data. Now that RAS has been featured on the official team sites for a quarter of the NFL, has been used in fantasy profiles for NBC and Yahoo Sports, and has been featured on team sites for every single NFL team for Fansided, SBNation, and USA Today, you guys are still here when I want to talk Lions. What’s missing nowadays is the time to write.
We talk about the Pride of Detroit COMMUNITY because it is just that, a community. Less that I’ve been writing FOR Pride of Detroit than sharing WITH you all over the past few years. I rarely talk about my agoraphobia, but it meant a lot to me that many of the times I ventured out of my house during the year were to attend Lions training camp or some draft function with the folks here.
This offseason I accepted a contract to write for Pro Football Network, a site entering its third year that has been aggressively shooting up the ranks of football sites. You’ve probably tried out the Mock Draft Simulator there, and if you haven’t you should. It’s good fun. I’ve found it difficult to write during this time of COVID and protests, so instead I’ve spent a great deal of time coding. That development work morphed into a full-time thing, and while I can’t yet talk about the things I’ve been working on, you can be assured they are super cool, and I’ll be back to brag about them when they’re ready. RAS is already available in full at my website, but with multiple articles coming out now every week on the topic, it’s going to be everywhere, and you guys were here when it was just an idea.
So what’s next for all of you? What big changes have been made in your life that have you hopeful for the next steps? Let me know in the comments because while I’m no longer creating content on Pride of Detroit, I’m still going to be hanging around the POD community because you guys, as always, are dope as hell.