For as long as I've been a fan of the National Football League. . .and, yes, I'm getting to the age where I can start to classify that as a "very long time". . .there have been things that signaled that it was time to start getting excited for football season. One of the things is the appearance of Pro Football Weekly's season preview issue in the magazine section of the local book store/grocery store/wherever else you purchase magazines from. This year is no different, with the PFW pre-season preview set to find its way to a location near you on June 11.
Unfortunately, this will be the last time we'll see Pro Football Weekly's preview issue on newsstands or anywhere else, because the long-time institution is out of business as of today. Editor Hub Arkush posted a farewell message on the magazine's website today. The message posted on the website prior to that is an "assignment for the benefit of creditors." There's a whole lot of legalese involved with that second link, but there's one thing on it that everyone understands.
PFW had assets of $193,000. They had liabilities of $8,500,000. Never a good thing when your liabilities have at least one more digit than your assets do.
Pro Football Talk pretty well sums up what happened to Pro Football Weekly.
While PFW could have, in our view, remained competitive in the world of new media - indeed, the publication's "Way We Hear It" feature reflected Internet-style rumor mongering long before folks were mongering rumors on the Internet - the name itself epitomized old-media realities. "Weekly" would no longer cut it; news and analysis must be delivered in real-time via electronic means, not once per week in a publication that looked and felt more like a newspaper than a magazine.
At one point, PFW was an indispensable source of league-wide information and analysis to supplement local newspapers that focused on one team and national newspapers that provided only the most superficial information (but at least they did it in pretty colors). Put simply, times changed and PFW didn't.
And they're right. In a world now dominated by 24-hour news cycles, both on television and online, and where networks like SB Nation now have a significant edge over their print-based competitors, you're going to be in big trouble if you don't evolve.
So, one of the old guard will be making its final appearance on newsstands in the very near future. I'll be making sure that I grab a copy. Thank you to Mr. Arkush and the rest of his staff for providing one of the first signs of the NFL season every year for longer than I've been alive.