|(This is the end, beautiful friend. The End.)|
Almost every year as long as I can remember I looked forward to the waning moments of spring and the start of summer because of football. Yes, football. The draft was over and generally there was limited media coverage on OTAs and mini-camps but still there was something waiting for me out there that was football related.
The NFL Football Preview Magazines.
Usually I would buy 2 or three of them, check out the season predictions- gripe over their win/loss projections for the 'Skins and then hold onto them until the season was over just to see how wrong they were. That said, there was one that I would generally keep by my side throughout most of the pre-season and break out whenever the 'Skins played a team that I hadn't researched that well in the off-season.
That was the guide from Pro Football Weekly.
Ah, the glorious black and white (that would eventually become colored over the years) print on newspaper quality paper with the glossy front and back covers. Pro Football Weekly was my guide to most of the player movements and trades that I had forgotten from free agency to the present day. Also, it had a talent evaluator that ranked the top players at each position which is nice to know when comparing scheme strengths and individual matchups.
I also started buying PFW's draft guides which, although at times dated, had good information on the players and predictions on where a player would be drafted.
A few days ago I learned that PFW will be shutting the doors after all of these years because, well.... they're a bit outdated. A weekly magazine covering rumors, stories etc. over a week's time is practically useless in an age that has the internet and outlets like ESPN and Pro Football Talk (not to mention all of the local media outlets and their internet sites). PFW had a weekly radio show but again this was trumped by outlets that have daily shows and various other outlets that had podcasts that are more in depth on a specific team or division (Podcasts dedicated solely to the Redskins alone number in the teens).
This year, while I still bought a draft guide from PFW, I got most of my information from internet sites like Walter Football and NFLDraftScout.com because they had more up to date information, rumors and mock drafts. If I wanted more I would then hit NFL.com. PFW became a tertiary source that cost me money when all of the other sites I just mentioned were free.
Sports media, much like that of print media is going through a radical transition. Maybe this is for the better or for the worst as the audience is looking for the most up to date breaking news (which can lead to major misinformation being spread before facts can be checked and sources confirmed) and if you wait too long, you're dated before you even know it. What happens to those who can't catch up is that they fall by the wayside and sadly that seems to be what's happened with PFW.
I'll miss Pro Football Weekly. Sure there will be other season preview guides out there to fill the void, but losing their guide is like losing a piece of history or nostalgia. Something that makes you feel a bit older than you should and something that you'll never be able to get back.