I just watched the first edition of ‘The Agent,’ which follows four NFLPA contract advisors through the run-up to the 2015 NFL draft. It kicks off Aug. 11 on the Esquire Network at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. Here are three thoughts.
- Think of every show that’s ever purported to show the life of a sports agent. Let’s see. You’ve got ‘Jerry Maguire,’ of course, and ‘Arliss.’ You’ve got ‘Entourage,’ and now ‘Ballers’ (boy, HBO sure loves agent stuff). You’ve got Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, ‘The Dotted Line.’ You’ve got ‘Super Agent,’ which aired in 2005. I’ve never seen ‘Ballers,’ and I’ve only seen bits and pieces of ‘Maguire’ (which really surprises some people). I’ve seen several episodes of ‘Arliss,’ though it was more of a screwball portrayal and not really to be taken seriously. I saw one episode of ‘Super Agent’ and nearly vomited. I’ve seen one episode, I think, of ‘Entourage.’ I saw Spurlock’s documentary several times. Anyway, ‘The Agent’ puts them all to shame (though I don’t grade ‘The Dotted Line,’ which was very good, alongside the rest of them). If you read this blog, you are not gonna want to miss it. In fact, set the DVR right now. I’ll wait.
- I’m proud to say the three people I’m closest to the in the show all come off as real people. No putting on airs or strutting around in sunglasses that cover their entire face. Two of the agents featured spend their first minutes on air riding in limos, putting on designer suits and the like. Bright lights, big city stuff. But two others, Ed Wasielewski of EMG Sports and Peter Schaffer of Authentic Athletix, are just regular guys, dressed in regular clothes. If you sat next to them on a plane, you’d never know they were agents. Meanwhile, Rick Roberts, who handles personnel for Pro Source Sports, is every bit the man on the show that he is in real life: knowledgeable, approachable, likeable and down to earth. All three of my friends are as authentic on the screen as they are in real life. You’ll enjoy getting to know them.
- I know I come across as a party pooper when I’m always preaching how much work agents do, but it’s true. You get to see it in this show. I’m sure there will be plenty of private planes and invitation-only parties in later broadcasts, but the first edition featured a lot of nights spent alone in hotel rooms and long, lonely car rides. There’s one scene that captures the life of an agent perfectly. An agent has been courting a player for months when, out of nowhere, he’s asked to meet the player’s ‘mentor.’ The mentor wants to meet the agent in the next 24 hours, which means a cross-country flight on a ticket bought a few hours before wheels-up. The agent sits in the darkness of his car, alone and exhausted, as he ponders whether or not it’s worth the energy and expense to drop everything and meet with this person he doesn’t know, hoping it gives him an edge. That, right there, is the essence of this business.
We’re about a month from the second episode, and I can’t wait. If you are interested in the football business and really want to see it, warts and all, you’re going to want to watch every episode. Check it out.