On Sept. 1, we posted a reintroduction of sorts at Go Long. Here’s what we’re all about, icymi:
We made it.
It’s September. The 2022 NFL Season is here. Don’t think I’ve circled a day on the calendar this many times since the high school football days.
Last season was fun and we were able to grow Go Long more than I could’ve ever expected but let’s just say life at Go Long HQ here in Western New York was something like a 2-minute drill on constant loop. From welcoming a baby boy into the world to building this newsletter to writing my first book with a touch of NYT freelance on side, life got… nuts.
First thing’s first: It’s time to take Go Long to the next level. Gotta say, I’m John Henderson getting smacked in the face-level psyched for this season.
Upon launching Go Long back in November 2020, hell, I had zero clue what to expect. The vision of this newsletter platform was appealing — Substack wants to help humans take their brains back — and I sincerely believed there was a major need for more longform journalism when it comes to pro football. After a decade covering the NFL at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Buffalo News and Bleacher Report, the timing felt perfect to go independent.
Thanks to you and your support, there’s zero doubt in my mind that Go Long is now built to last.
As the calendar turns to September, it felt like a perfect time to reintroduce ourselves and give everyone a sense of what to expect in 2022. If you subscribe, beautiful. Your investment is something I’ll never take for granted. If you’re new around here or on our free email list, that’s great. The door is always open…
Our mission is the same: To grill a juicy ribeye in an online world full of fast food. As sports coverage continues to fatten up on tweets… memes… lists… power rankings… IG reels, I want this to be a forever home for feature writing. A place that humanizes pro football and helps explain the how and why behind everything you see on Sundays. We will always go beyond the press conference and, chances are, we’ll be pro-player over here. That’s who’s sacrificing both body and brain on the field, after all.
No corporate overlords. No ads. We are completely powered by you.
Fully expect us to hit the road even more for stories. This past year, Go Long hung out with Green Bay Packers nose tackle Kenny Clark right inside his De Pere, Wisc. home to chat about his incarcerated father, Wyatt Teller at his whiskey bar to figure out why he is everything we love about football and Yannick Ngakoue down in Fort Lauderdale did not hold back on his chilling upbringing. All along, we’ll chip, chip, chip away at a series that requires weeks of reporting. No, this game is not all rainbows and sunshine. Want to know what in the hell happened with those Dave Gettleman-led Giants? We’ll dig. If we all witness the most surreal 13 seconds we’ve ever seen on a football field? We’ll pursue answers that are not supplied at the podium.
It’s a combination. The foundation of Go Long will continue to be player profiles and these longer series that explore the inner-workings of teams.
With a heck of a lot more, too.
Below, you’ll get a sense of what’s to come this season. Bob McGinn and Jim Monos are back. “The Isaiah McKenzie Show,” too. And expect more from the Go Long Podcast.
Again, I’m extremely grateful for you and your trust. Already a member? We’d love it if you shared the good word with a friend.
Let’s keep building this together.
When I decided to launch Go Long, this was the No. 1 reason why. To cover pro football through a longform lens. Every Friday morning, you can expect a feature that’s worth your valuable time. As noted, we’ll be dedicating resources into the No. 1 objective here: Ambitious projects that take time. Miss a past feature? A handful of links are included at the end of this post.
The Morning After…
Each Monday AM, expect an extensive, featurized column that wraps up Sunday’s games in that MMQB-style vein. I’ll be traveling to games and talking to people from around the league to offer a fresh perspective.
Many of you keep telling me how much you love a conversational piece, too. In addition to our regular stream of columns, profiles and deep dives, I’ll continue to ramp up these Q&As. They can be fun. They can turn serious. My hope is for you to feel like you’re right there hanging out with Bruce Smith, Edgerrin James, LeRoy Butler, Terence Newman, Dawson Knox, Alex Green, Kurt Warner and Jamaal Williams. Like all other sections, these convos are archived atop the GoLongTD.com home page.
Go Long Podcast…
We have a new podcast home base. “Fattey Beer Company” here in Western NY will be anchoring the flagship Go Long Podcast this 2022 season. Here’s what you can expect from the new-and-improved podcast, too. Each Monday morning, co-host Jim Monos and myself will have two episodes posted here at GoLongTD.com and in the Apple and Spotify feeds. One will wrap up NFL Sunday, while the other will be Buffalo Bills-centric. Monos served as the Bills’ director of personnel from May 2013 through May 2017 and always offers a fascinating perspective on the team. Then, later in the week, we’ll post up at Fattey’s for a third episode to chat with a guest on Zoom and preview the upcoming week’s games. Keep an eye out for the date/time details in my “Morning After” post each Monday. All Go Long subscribers are welcomed to join us for a pint at Fattey’s Orchard Park, NY location.
Bob McGinn is BACK…
…and I could not be more thrilled. The great Bob McGinn will bring his signature reporting and writing to Go Long again. I’ll let Bob detail his thinking himself in more detail later today, but you can expect more “McGinn Files” features — like these gems on Brett Favre and Aaron Donald — through the football season, an extensive eight-part series on his four decades covering the Green Bay Packers and, as always, his one-of-a-kind NFL Draft Series will continue in the spring.
You can also expect to hear Bob occasionally on the Go Long Podcast.
Do not miss McGinn’s entire 2022 draft series. Holy. My friend and mentor never ceases to amaze. Nobody talks to more scouts and coaches around the NFL and nobody has worked harder in the business this last half-century.
I am honored that Bob wants to call Go Long home.
The Isaiah McKenzie Show…
That’s right! The self-titled “Face of the Franchise,” the slot receiver known as “Lil Dirty,” the man who just may deliver a Super Bowl to the Buffalo Bills will take Go Long readers and listeners on another wild ride. Isaiah McKenzie is BACK for Season 2. Miss any episodes from Season 1? There is no one quite like him. If you’ve been paying attention to the Bills lately you’re well aware that McKenzie is set to ascend in 2022 as the team’s starting slot receiver.
All eight shows will be live at Mister’s Bar & Lanes in East Aurora, NY with the video and audio posted at Go Long the next morning. (Dates will be included in a separate post.)
His life story is gripping. His personality is electric. Now, he’s going to be a major, major weapon on the NFL’s Super Bowl favorite.
The goal of this show is to take you beyond the locker room.
Get full access to a rising star on the Buffalo Bills here.
“Study the Stats” with Jim Monos…
Each Tuesday, our resident podcast co-host will bring his scouting expertise to the newsletter. Monos scouted for the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and was second in-command with those Buffalo Bills before taking on his current role as the senior director of football operations for the XFL. Now, Monos will bring his 17 years of NFL experience to “Study the Stats,” a story that’ll dig into whatever he finds most compelling from that previous weekend’s games. The good and bad from rookies. A quarterback who caught his eye. A coaching decision. Monos always delivers a fresh perspective that cuts against the grain of daytime TV blathering. Thrilled that one of the smartest, sharpest people in the sport itself wants to broaden his role here at Go Long.
If there’s one good thing that came out of Covid tearing at our day-to-day lives, it was Zoom interconnecting society in a “face-to-face” way. Which brings us to the Go Long Zoom Happy Hours. All of our past hangouts are archived here, and you can expect more through the fall. I want to give you the chance to ask players whatever you want. We’ve had a hell of a time with some of the sport’s wildest personalities. Wyatt Teller, Olin Kreutz, Richie Incognito, Stevie Johnson, Frank Winters and Allen Robinson to name a few. Again, these Happy Hours are about you. Is there a player past or present you want to throw back a beer with? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating Tight Ends…
On Oct. 18, my first book hits the shelves. Damn, was this fun. “The Blood and Guts” captures the spirit of the sport through the most fascinating position: the glorious NFL tight end. You can preorder a copy of B&G at Amazon if you’d like. Here at Go Long, I’ll be sharing all sorts of stories that didn’t make the book, too. From hanging out at Mike Ditka’s golf course to throwing drinks back with Jeremy Shockey, all of these tight ends were an absolute riot and shared stories they haven’t told anyone before.
“Brave Buffalo” art…
My good pal Jon Daly of Brave Buffalo will continue to give Go Long the look and feel you see each day. He’s an unbelievably talented dude and, for my money, the single best sports artist in the country. You’ll continue to see his exceptional work with our Friday Features.
How to read Go Long…
Free and pay options to Go Long are both available. New around here? Hop on the free email list, and you can always upgrade. Essentially, there are three ways to read Go Long. 1) Your email; 2) GoLongTD.com; and 3.) The new Substack app:
Our best stuff…
Miss any of our past features? A handful of our most-read pieces/series are linked below…
The Autopsy, the fall of Dave Gettleman’s New York Giants
“It was a bad, bad situation,” an inside look at 13 seconds
Murder, cockroaches, belief: How Rachaad White bet on himself