Tom RockNewsday NFL firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember Super Bowl XLIX? The Seahawks were at the 1-yard line in the final minute with a chance to score a touchdown and beat the Patriots, but instead of handing the football to bruising running back Marshawn Lynch, they attempted a pass that was intercepted and cost them the championship. It was one of the most controversial decisions in football history. Almost every one of the 114 million people watching that game had the same burning question at the moment that play unfolded:
What were they thinking?
I try to ask the questions – some obvious, some not so much – that will allow me to bring readers into places they can’t necessarily go themselves.
It was my job to tell you.
A lot of fun experiences and memorable moments have piled up in the nearly two decades I have spent covering the NFL for Newsday. I was there for David Tyree’s helmet catch, I was there for Odell Beckham’s one-handed grab. I saw Tom Brady win four Super Bowls, and I saw Tom Brady lose three Super Bowls. I can describe the intense silence that suddenly fell over the raucous stadium when Brady launched a deep pass for Randy Moss on the final offensive play of Super Bowl XLII, then the explosion of sound (and fireworks and confetti) when the ball landed just beyond the reach of his receiver to end the Patriots’ almost-perfect season and give the Giants the Lombardi Trophy.
My favorite aspect of the job, though, is the opportunity I have – and the responsibility I carry – being the person who asks the question everyone wants answered and then relaying that information to Newsday readers. How did it feel? Why did that play work? Why didn’t it? And, in the case of those Seahawks and their fateful decision late in Super Bowl XLIX, standing face-to-face with devastated coaches and players to find out the one thing everyone outside that interview room wanted to know: What were they thinking?
Whether it was my first Newsday assignment writing a few paragraphs on a high school bowling match in Mineola in 1996, or my most recent ones covering playoff games and Super Bowls around the country and even in other parts of the world, I have always relied on the most important skill a reporter can have: curiosity. I try to ask the questions – some obvious, some not so much – that will allow me to bring readers into places they can’t necessarily go themselves: inside the locker rooms, inside the huddles, inside the heads of some of the biggest names in sports.
Fans today are demanding consumers of information. By the time you read my articles, most likely you already know who won and who lost and which plays led to that result. But the most interesting aspect of sports isn’t always what happened, but why it did.
What were they thinking?
Let me tell you.