Ari Meirov has been covering the NFL since 2013. He joined Pro Football Focus as an NFL Insider in July. You can follow him on Twitter @MySportsUpdate
We caught up with Ari for this week’s Friday Five…
1) Who is your biggest mentor?
My biggest mentor in life is, without question my father. Seeing his work ethic and his constant dedication to those in need has been a great source of inspiration to me. So I definitely look up to him in every aspect of my life.
As for football, I didn’t have a “mentor,” but there were people I looked up to, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter was probably No. 1 on that list. I was always fascinated by people in the breaking news industry, the grind that’s involved, and the commitment you have to have day in and day out. Adam reached out to me in 2019 and gave me some valuable advice. He also made a guest appearance when Cris Collinsworth welcomed me to the PFF team earlier this year. I’ll always be appreciative of that.
2) What does the schedule of an NFL Insider look like on a day-to-day basis?
One thing is for sure: It’s not a 9-5 job. It does require you to be around and available for as much of the day as possible, and the job really becomes part of you.
There are no “bye” weeks. Being on the phone/computer for a large chunk of your time is part of the job, and sometimes it becomes a little too much. The one thing I’ve been trying to work on is balancing how much time I spend on my phone/computer, but it’s tough because there will always be things happening, and there will always be people to talk to. Just look at the NFL news cycle, and you’ll see that news happens around the clock, and you have to be ready for it at any time.
Trent Williams re-signed with the 49ers this past offseason at 4:07 AM EST. Dak Prescott, all of a sudden, had a long-term deal with Dallas at 6:45 PM EST on a Monday in March when no one was really expecting it. Urban Meyer was just fired by the Jaguars, and that happened at 12:36 AM EST. Things could happen in the NFL anytime, and you have to be alert for it. I go to sleep late and wake up pretty early, so I guess that definitely helps.
I probably should point out that from Friday sundown through Saturday evening, my life is totally different. As a Sabbath-observing Jew, I put my phone away for 24 hours and just connect with my family and friends. Although I may miss out on some important NFL action, nevertheless, family is family, and there is nothing greater than sitting together and connecting to each other once a week without any distractions.
3) Since joining PFF, you’ve gone from a high-end NFL news aggregator to an NFL Insider. How has that process unfolded?
It’s definitely changed me in a few ways, but I still try to pump out all the relevant and notable information like I was always doing. I still want the account to be a one-stop shop for all NFL news and information.
The biggest difference for me is that when I was independent, I was also juggling real estate work with football. Part of joining PFF is that I was able to drop the real estate and now solely focus on football. With that change, one of the biggest differences has been that I’ve been trying to get to know more people around the NFL and build closer relationships with people.
It’s definitely a process and it doesn’t happen overnight. But that’s probably been the biggest transition that I’ve made with the added time. I still don’t want to call myself an “Insider” until I’m able to break more news consistently, so I’ve sort of made that into a challenge for myself. Never want to be too comfortable with where I’m at.
4) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received thus far in your career?
The best advice I have gotten is that you should treat others the way you want to be treated.
Be it a professional player or a young person looking to start their career, treat everyone with respect and dignity. Doesn’t matter how smart you are. Doesn’t matter how much money you have. Doesn’t matter where you started. None of that matters. There’s so much hatred and competition out there. Just treat everyone the right way. It will go a long way.
5) If you could invite any three people in history to dinner, who would they be and why?
As an avid football fan, people might think I would choose three football greats, but in reality, nothing comes before family. Unfortunately three of my grandparents passed away before I had a chance to know them. And being that everything I have today is thanks to the dedication and unconditional love that my parents have given me, I would invite their parents to a dinner so I can see the people who molded my parents to become the special people that they are.