After three decades of covering the NFL, Adam Schefter has risen to the ranks of perhaps the most informed and most relied upon source of information in the industry. ESPN’s Senior NFL Insider is constantly working the phones to break news. Even with the NFL draft just two weeks away, we were fortunate enough to have Schefter take our call.
We caught up with him for this week’s Friday Five…
Who is your biggest mentor?
I’ve had various mentors throughout the course of my career. I go back to college and I think of Thomas George and Mitch Albom, who both worked at the Detroit Free Press at the time, and how much I looked up to and respected and admired their work. And then being out in Denver, Colorado, and watching the way all the reporters at both newspapers, the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post, did their jobs. Because that was a major newspaper war. And it forced me to understand the value of information from so many great people at both papers. And then being at NFL Network, and watching the way people did their jobs, all the people there.
At ESPN, of course, I go back to Chris Mortensen, who helped shepherd me through my transition to ESPN and showed me how a reporter should be handing himself at all times, personally and professionally. And so, Mort would be somebody I look up to right now. But I’ve been blessed to see so many great people up close. Honestly, there’s no way that you can learn how to act, how to do your job, without watching them.
What’s your top pet peeve?
I hate the word “reportedly.” Who reported it? Is it true? Why do you need to use the word reportedly? Either you reported it or you didn’t. And if someone else reported it, credit them – give them the credit they deserve, or don’t report it. Reportedly? What does that mean? I can’t stand that word. Every time I see it, it gets me annoyed. I hate that word. To use that word is lazy, unprofessional, irresponsible. I don’t reportedly hate that word. I do hate that word.
What’s your favorite book?
I don’t read as much as I used to back in the day as a father, as an ESPN employee. It was much easier to read back when I was single living in Denver. There were many books that I loved. One book that just blew me away was Memoirs of a Geisha. I love books that mark the passage of time in an effortless way. And that book is about the life of a woman, her entire life, and you see it unfold. And it’s an incredible book that stayed with me, that I absolutely loved. And then, Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. That was a book that I picked up and just raced through. Couldn’t put down. Just captivating. I recommended it to some people and they felt the exact same way that I did. What’s kind of cool about recommending a book like Memoirs of a Geisha or Unbroken is you can’t wait for people to hopefully enjoy that book like you enjoyed that book.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be?
Well now I would have each of my grandfathers – poppy Dave and poppy Marty. I’d love to tell them all they’ve missed out on in life and see how they’ve been doing. I’d love to have them two. And I guess I’d pick a third and go with John F. Kennedy, just because of so much promise and potential cut short. I don’t think there’s any death of a public figure that has mesmerized and saddened me more than that one. It would be those three people that are no longer with us. That would be kinda cool.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
The biggest thing I would say to myself is slow down, relax and enjoy the journey more than you did. I would always worry in college my senior year, “Where are you gonna be working?” And then when you’re working, “When am I going to get a full-time job on a beat?” And then, “When am I going to get to the next newspaper? When am I going to get a raise? And when am I going to meet a woman and get married?”
You’re always wondering these things. And I think sometimes, it’s better to just stop that and relax. If you work hard and treat people right and do the right things. The work comes, the raise comes, the personal performance comes, the mate comes. Life comes. Rather than fret over it and worry about it, just relax and enjoy it.