Letter of Introduction

Hello!                                                             BearWave

There’s obviously quite a bit to get to following Sunday’s roller-coaster ride of an overtime loss. But as this is my first ever official Bleacher Nation post, I thought it would make sense to give you a quick introduction to myself as well as a brief look at what I hope to bring to the site.

So, let’s get this out of the way: I’m not Brett.

Which is too bad, in a lot of ways; I’ve gotten to know him a bit, and he has been great. It’s hard to convey exactly how honored I am to be writing under the BN banner. It is both a joy and a privilege, and it’s certainly something I take quite seriously. This is one of my favorite places on the Internet, for a multitude of reasons. If my presence on this side of the site can improve upon Bleacher Nation as a whole, I will be thrilled. The community is wonderful, and it’s surreal to think that I’m now a fairly integral part of something I had previously loved from afar. It’s as close as I’ll ever come to being offered a supporting role on Justified, or being asked to perform with The National.

I’m still not sure it’s really happening.

Having said all of those lovely things, there will be some noticeable differences on this part of the site.

First, and necessarily foremost, I’ll be writing about the Chicago Bears.  I love the Bears. Not in a “blindly passionate, to the point that it overrides my ability to objectively critique and analyze the team” sort of way, of course. But I absolutely love them in the “heart in my throat as Robbie Gould lines up for a game-winning field goal” sort of way.  Any close game leaves me coming down from an emotional high that is probably representative of some sort of deeply unhealthy addiction. I love watching football, reading about football, talking about football, even playing football. (I can throw the deep ball, although my neck is as creaky as Peyton Manning’s. I’m not sure how that happened, although like Peyton I also have a gigantic head. Perhaps that’s a factor.)

Other key differences: football has 16 games to baseball’s 162. Try to imagine Bud Selig announcing that the 2014 MLB season will be cut to 16 games. Can you imagine how hyped Brett would be? As a sports fan, I very much try to remain patient and reasonable. But the emphasis on any singular regular season game in the NFL is, and should be, much greater. Any game really can swing a season. That mindset lends itself to a slightly different sort of coverage; Brett can write a ho-hum Enhanced Box Score for a game in May, in which the outcome really doesn’t matter.

That won’t work for the Bears. As a result, you’ll see me on Twitter much more during and after games, attempting to treat them as the very important events that they are, since those 16 Sundays are so disproportionately vital for NFL fans. And you’ll see analysis for single games that would be a gross overreaction in just about any other sport, and certainly for baseball. (That’s not to say you can’t overreact; in fact, I think there’s more than enough overreaction to go around. My goal (and job, really) is to find the right balance.) (As you may have realized, I love parenthetical statements as much as Brett does, so I guess if that’s been the key to the success of Bleacher Nation all along, I’m very much on the right track.)

Another difference: Brett has been doing this for a long time, and he’s one of the best. So, while I’d like to think that I’m a prodigy, I really have no illusions of the sort. He makes it look very easy, and if there are some growing pains on my end, I hope you folks will give me a chance to work through mistakes, learn from them, and evolve.

The final difference I’ll mention: I have a day job. Posts will still go up throughout the day during the week, but my availability to discuss/cover breaking news with the immediacy Brett has brought to the table will be limited, at least to start with. To combat this, I’ll be making a good faith effort to be available in the comments and on Twitter when I’m not at regular work. (My fiancée is already tired of that particular aspect, I think, but I have a feeling that it will be my favorite part of the gig.)

So, that’s my rough outline for melding football coverage with the established greatness of Bleacher Nation. A brief introduction to me personally: I’m 26, engaged to wonderful woman, getting married next fall (to the aforementioned wonderful woman, in case that wasn’t clear), and I love the following things in no particular order: Five Guys, Mike & Ike’s, Coke Zero, my dog, Justified/Mad Men/Sherlock/Top Gear/Jeopardy!, The National/Punch Brothers/Bon Iver, any movie by Wes Anderson, golfing, and reading just about any good piece of writing. I’ve also written a few short stories, and I’ve been published over at The Heckler multiple times. That’s about all the biographical info I want to throw at you; it could turn into an OKCupid profile very quickly if I’m not careful. But if you have any questions for me or about me, you should feel free to leave them in the comments below, and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

Welcome to the next phase of Bleacher Nation.

I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Jay Rigdon is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and can also be found @BearsBN on Twitter.