I hope you’ve been enjoying the eight episodes so far of ‘The Agent,’ the first show to truly take viewers behind the scenes of the world of player representation. Tonight’s show (10E/9C on the Esquire Network) wraps the series. Here are three things I found interesting about the show.
- I guess the idea of a draft party is just something too tempting to resist to families of players that are draft-eligible. I understand; potentially being selected in the draft represents the culmination of a lifelong dream not just for the young men involved, but for their extended families as well. But what happens if you’re not one of the 250-odd players drafted? Or, as happens frequently in tonight’s episode, you’re drafted much lower than you expected to? It’s agony seeing your dreams die (or dim), but when it’s on camera, or when you’re accompanied by everyone you know, it’s infinitely worse. Tonight, you get to see families experience the crushing despair of lost hope when young men go undrafted. There’s somewhat of a happy ending when teams all post-draft, recruiting them for UDFA deals, but it’s a pretty hollow victory. But to all players hoping to be drafted next spring: if you weren’t invited to watch the draft in Chicago by the NFL itself, consider planning a very subdued draft-day get-together.
- When I watch movies based on true stories, I like it when, right before the credits roll, they show what happened next to the main characters, how their lives played out. To the credit of the show’s producers, this takes place for all the players signed by the four agents profiled in the show. I’ll warn you — it’s not all happy endings. This is inevitable, but the striking thing to me is how much recruiting, hand-holding, flattery, protecting, and, yes, coddling, goes into signing a player who winds up as an undrafted free agent or late-rounder. The price of signing a player who’s even on an NFL radar screen is to treat him as if he’s a certain Hall of Fame talent. That’s sad but true. Every year I get a few new agents who claim they’re going to get tough with their players and provide no kid-gloves treatment. It’s very hard to do that when these players have been given special treatment all their lives.
- On a related note, Peter Schaffer of Authentic Athletix spent a big part of this series pumping up Washington State QB Connor Halliday, encouraging him and patiently walking through the process with a young man whose draft chances were limited. Tonight, Peter is repaid for all his good will and financial investments by being hung up on when Halliday goes undrafted. Most players not only have a limited memory of the good things agents do for them, but are quick to blame an agent when things go poorly. This is another reality of the game.
I hope you’ll check out our live-tweet tonight. Lots of good insights as we wrap a fun nine weeks. See you tonight.