Kalin Kahler: The idea of ​​the NFL is built on relentless reporting

I waited in a narrow corridor at the Auditorium in Chicago, peeking through a curtain to see NFL draft stage. I was still a few weeks away from graduating from college, but tonight I was working freelance in American football for Sports Illustrated, The MMQB, and I was desperate to make a good impression.

MMQB Editor-in-Chief Peter King gave me one assignment that night that required me to ask potential clients a question away from the press conference venue. There were journalists everywhere, so he challenged me to find a way to get the players alone.

So I watched the players make their way from the draft stage in the theater to the press conference room in an annex building. It was a long walk through a maze of corridors, and I soon realized that they were being led by a therapist working for a random sponsor who needed 30 seconds of their time to film some kind of promotion. He wasn’t someone who knew they should stay away from me.

Each time a player was drafted, I bonded with them halfway through their march and chatted with them on their own as we made our way through the ornate lobby and behind the pennant groups and sections.

“I knew you could do it,” Peter wrote to me later that night. “you are brave!”

And in this increasingly paranoid NFL media environment and limited access to players and coaches, courage is a good thing. No matter what the story is, or how much people don’t want me to know about it, I will find this secret entrance path.

When Matt Nagy brought in a ridiculous amount of balls for the strangest kicking competition in NFL history, I tracked down cut-off kickers to find out. How was the experience really. Someone even gave me the vague registration papers that were bear The coaching staff used to rate each of the eight Kickers in a rookie minicamp.

When Aaron Rodgers Mike McCarthy’s relationship was publicly tense, so I called to find out Exactly what was going wrong in Green Bay. McCarthy was fired four days after my story was published.

My stories will get you inside the locker room to meet the players up close and personal, or just in case The tradition of Vikings Donut ClubInside the training room on Saturday morning. Each trial season, I spot dozens of scouts around the NFL to find the biggest sleeper in the draft, expect X. Tell that player’s story and while doing so, demystify the draft process and share things you never knew about the inner workings of NFL teams.

I’m always fair in my reporting, but I’m not afraid to piss people off when I discover things they don’t like. Once, an angry NFL agent threatened me not to talk to me again if I wrote something I reported about his client in training. ““I represent a lot of good players,” he said. “If you want to pull this guy off, we don’t deal with each other anymore, and I’ll pick the best in the draft every two years.” I wrote the story anyway.

I write stories that make teams responsible, like This story on a previously unreported allegation of rape that a Bengals A college player was investigated. What did the Bengal know about it when they drafted it? How do teams rate potential clients with a history like this?

I spent this summer researching it How NFL Teams Explore Their Ruling Kits. I’ve discovered an entire ecosystem of detailed official analysis and NFL careers dedicated to finding out everything about every official, every potential game scenario and every rule in the rulebook.

I read a lot and talk a lot, and I’m constantly getting new ideas for stories this way. While reviewing the NFL’s 2020 Career Mobility Report, I noted one sentence: “A total of 63 NFL coaches (including coordinators and position coaches) are biologically related or related through marriage—53 of the 63 associated coaches are coaches. white.” This stuck with me, so I looked through all the coaching staff of the 32 teams and I created my database of who was associated with whomAnd how. These numbers did not exist before, because no one thought to compile them. It was a much bigger number than 63, and the story was an open look at how lonely the coaching career path in the NFL could be.

My specialty is painstaking reporting and research. I can take on a complicated topic, like Multi-step process for making NFL football, make it accessible and entertaining. I want to learn something with every story I write, and I want you to feel smarter about football too. By the time I’m done working on a story, I’ll have at least 40 tabs open, many of them dedicated to Google Docs for many different interview scripts.

I’m more interested in the normal, working class people of the NFL. Players who aren’t superstars and coaches and scouts who aren’t the decision makers, but still play a crucial role in the process. my interview series, QB2, focuses on favorite footballers, reserve midfielders. Their stories taught me a lot about the best job in the NFL and the intricacies of the role.

I’m excited to share details like this with you and can’t wait to add my creativity and energy to it the athleteNFL coverage.

Let’s go!

(picture Cowboys Convert QB2 to QB1 Cooper Rush: Cooper Neal/Getty Images)