There's this thing about Jay Glazer that kind of makes you like him and annoyed by him at the same time. He seems like type of guy you'd hit the 50-cent wing and $8 pitcher special with at a bar for six hours, but then he'd get bored and drag you to a way-too fancy club just because "he knows people there." Then you'd get to the club, and the guy you just spent the last six hours drinking and bullshitting with will work the room like Sinatra, just letting you tag along. You'd feel like a third wheel even though it's just the two of you.
So, as much as Jay Glazer presents himself as "a jag-off from Brooklyn," it's a calculated approach, and it's one he's mastered to create the brand that is Jay Glazer. Right now, Jay Glazer The Brand has made himself into one of the most plugged-in reporters working the NFL beat. Today, Jay The Brand is the face of Subwayfreshbuzz.com, starring in a goofy NFL draft-themed webisode with former fat guy Jared and draft day darling Chris Long. He dedicated 30 minutes to talk to Deadspin between 3 and 3:30. He was a surprisingly great interview. So for his time and effort, please go watch his weird Subwayfreshbuzz.com thing. You know, he kind of earned that. I trimmed the fat on this interview, but it's still long as Santonio Holmes. Take it with you to the bathroom and enjoy all the Spygate goodness.
AJD: So, are you busy with the draft stuff right now?
JG: Oh, it's nuts. It's nuts Everybody calls constantly and you've got to try to figure out who's telling you the truth, and who's not, who's trying to smokescreen ya — for the most part, they don't smoke-screen me as much like they do some of the other guys. But you still have to make sure somebody's not smoke-screening you or when somebody's blatantly trying to tell you the truth then you have to check out WHY they're telling you the truth ... yeah, it's nuts. But fun, though.
You seem to developed a reputation as the go-to guy for a lot of people in the NFL. You piss Chris Mortensen off on a daily basis. How did you develop that reputation?
JG: I go about my business differently than others — I don't go for the scoop, I go for the relationship. I'm not trying to sit up here like I'm holier than thou, but that's what I do, and I probably report two or three percent of what I know and the other stuff ... well, you have to look at it like you're an information broker. Other guys will get a scoop and then burn somebody for that scoop. They're looking at it short-term, like "let's break this right now," even though it might burn this guy or piss this guy off. But I look at it and say, "If I burn this guy here, there's probably ten [stories] I'm going to lose." Let me never, ever screw anybody, and I'll continue to get the scoops. I'm not gonna get every scoop, Mort's not gonna get every scoop, Peter King's not going to get every scoop, Adam Schefter's not going to get every scoop — that's not how it happens. It's just a fact of life. The Favre thing was based on relationships that I've built for a long time, and I got it from a couple of guys that really nobody ever gives the time of day to. That's the other thing: You can't just go to the head coaches and the GMs and the star players — you have to go to everybody. Some of the biggest scoops I get are from the practice squad players, you know who are just a bunch of strokes, just like I am.
But how long does it take you to develop those relationships?
JG: Ah...my whole life. I have some guys that I've been friends with since I started in this league and they say to me, "You are absolutely the same jag-off you were the first day we met you." Before I was doing this, I was bartending in Brooklyn. I try to take kind of the same approach in dealing with people and attitude as I did when I was doing that. I act the same way toward my grandmother, or the commissioner of the NFL, or Warren Sapp —- doesn't matter who you are.
I think people realize that there are so many B.S'ers in this business, so many posers, that...one of the best compliments I got was from my ex...who said this to me at one point...
Not Miss New Jersey, right?
JG: Well, yeah, actually, that's who that was.
JG: Yeah, yeah. Anyway...She asked, uh, Warren Sapp or somebody at the time, "Why do you all call my boyfriend — she was my girlfriend at the time — 24-7?" And Sapp or whoever said, "Because he's the only guy in our lives without a vested interest. He doesn't care about anything and he doesn't care about pissing us off." I thought that was pretty nice.
Do you think that approach is the way you have to be in this type of media landscape right now?
JG: It's just the way I am. Doing this thing with Jared and Chris Long at Subwayfreshbuzz.com, they'll tell you...I'm off. I'm off, man! I admit it , I'm somewhat demented. And I'm blessed with this kind of wacky personality...
Wait, what do you mean you're "off?"
JG: I mean, I'm demented, I'm just off, you know what I mean...different. I'm not your normal, conservative reporter.
I heard there were rumors other media organizations were trying to lure you away from Fox? That you were scooping everybody else so much that it was just becoming embarrassing for other media outlets.
JG: I haven't heard that one. I read somewhere that somebody was, but I've never had anything or saw anything like that happen. I can't see anything like that happening, Fox treats me great. They got a couple of pretty good shows, like American Idol, so I think they do okay...
But it is nice to be thought of that way. You go to the NFL owners meetings and your competitors and some of the owners will come up to you and go, "Hey, you know, you've had a great year, you've had a monster year." I've told the story that when I did get my hands on the Spygate video, Mortensen texted me that day and said "Good job, A-hole." Peter King, he was in Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever he was and he comes up to me at the owners meeting and he says, "I knew you had it over there. I'm proud of you." It's nice to hear that from your competitors. For years, me and the other reporters we hated each other. I had nothing in common with them, they had nothing in common with me. They didn't like the way I went about my business because, you know, I go about it by building relationships. And they'll [other reporters] be like, well, " You're not objective." And the difference is, because I have a relationship with these guys [my sources, NFL players] I can tell them anything. I mean, I've called guys out and told them to their faces, "Man, you suuuuck all of the sudden." Where as if another reporter says that to a player, that player will cut them off forever.
And you've never tried to contain that approach in anyway?
JG: No, no,no, no, no — I'm not the sugar-coating type of guy. I remember one guy who's hooked in tight with Subway also by the way, (authors note: Christ, another plug? For fuck's sake...) was Michael Strahan. And one year I was getting on him hard. I said to him, "Dude, enough of this crap about you getting double-teamed and triple-teamed. You never hear Reggie White complain about this. You don't hear Lawrence Taylor complain about it. You don't even hear Simeon Rice complain about it. Just shut up and deal with it. If you want to be one of the great ones, this is what's going to happen to you. I just haven't seen the effort recently..." And Strahan gets all pissed off and he's like, "Well, I've been wanting to talk to you because I've noticed that your writing hasn't been good recently..." That was a good comeback.
So, do you consider yourself a "writer?"
JG:Uhmmmm... I consider myself a reporter. Whether that's for writing, or TV, or whatever it is. I consider myself a reporter now, but I'm also trying to host a couple shows on Fox, my mixed martial arts show and pro football preview. I try to bring the same approach to those things as I do to reporting...you know, a little demented a little off...
Well, getting back to that whole lack of objectivity thing — some people might call you a jock-sniffer based on the way you get your stories.
JG:Never heard that one. Clearly, I don't kiss their butts. Scott Ackerson, who is a producer at Fox NFL Sunday, he came to the Pro Bowl one year with me. I stay with one of the teams in their hotel, because the rest of the media is like 30 miles away, and all you really do at the Pro Bowl is drink. So, I'm not drinking and driving.
So, Scotty came with me and went out with me and I'm there, holding court, and he goes back and tells people, "It's the damndest thing. It's unbelievable. He has his own little mafia...but the worst thing is, Jay treats them[the players] like crap! He's the one talking more trash than anybody and they just deal with it." I mean, I'm a bastard if anything, not a sniffer.
But don't you think these relationships could backfire at some point? Where do you draw the line between your job as reporter and your "relationships?"
JG: That's the thing of it, you almost have to look at it as the DEA would: Like, we've got this mid-level drug dealer and we can bust him and look pretty good, or we can use him, and get 10 more guys that are bigger. Like, guys know what the deal is. I'll help them, but they know what the deal is. I just did this whole thing with Jared Allen getting traded from the Chiefs to the Vikings. So, the Vikings called me about him, a couple of other teams called me about him, and the thing is, I take Jared Allen to train with me in Mixed Martial Arts at facility in Arizona, so I'm around him a lot, and I let him know about the calls I'm getting, but I hold off on it. Instead of me reporting it as something that might happen, I'll hold off an wait until I can officially get that the Chiefs have decided to trade him to Minnesota.
And you just got that firsthand from him, by virtue of training with him?
JG: Well, yeah, we work out together. Again, I could've reported that a while ago, but I'd rather cultivate it and then as soon as the news broke, he called me up and go, "Post it ... here are my numbers, this is what it was for," etc. and I'm the only one with that information. Here's the other thing, I get a call Monday from somebody with the Dolphins and he's like "We're getting close to Jake Long." And they're like, just hold off for us, hold off for us, we'll let you know and you'll be the first to know. I hold off, and there I am, the first to report it. Have I been burned before? Yeah. Thank God I've been right more often than I've been burned, but it does happen.
Do you have any worries about the Spygate issue if it does eventually end up in front of Congress? Do you worry about being in a Judith Miller-type situation because of your involvement in it?
JG: Well, I got a call from Sen. Specter and he asked me to meet...first off, there was some ridiculous report out there that said I had agreed to hand over the tapes to Congress. I do have the tapes, but am not doing that, nor would I, and if they want to see them, I show them at parties all the time, so they're more than welcome to come over to my house and see them. Me and my buddies will watch them all the time, because the tapes are hilarious to be honest with you....
JG: Because it's not just football...it's classic. The tapes go back and forth between... Well, the first part of the tape, the guy recording it , all he's focusing in on are the butts of the Jet City Dancers. He's going from chick, to chick, to chick, and then you see, like, Tom Brady step in and then he'll [the dude taping it] hit the coaches a little bit, but when there's a break? He goes into the stands and then focuses on T and A. It is classsssic. It is like Spygate meets "Girls Gone Wild."
And that's what's on the tapes that everyone's getting upset about? Does that damage the credibility of those tapes at all?
JG: Oh, no, no, no,no — because the rest of it, is damaging. Because they go the coaches, to the down and distance, back up to the coaches, back to the down and distance — it couldn't be anymore clear. They focus in on three guys the entire time, it is soooo brazen it's incredible.
So, how long did you sit on that for before you went with it?
JG: Oh, I got the tape that week and showed it that week. The only thing I had to wait for was Fox NFL Sunday. My boss at Fox, I have to give him a lot of credit, they were nervous, they were concerned and I said to them "Guys, I'm not telling you where I got it from, I'm never telling you where I got it from, and if you want to know where I got it from? If that's the problem, than I won't run it." To their credit, they just said "Jay, the NFL is going to launch a major investigation into how you got it..." I said, "That's fine, they'll never find the people. Ever." And thank God because all of the Fox people stood by me. And after that, people thought I was going to lose my job over it because the NFL was calling me and asking me where I got it. To this day, even the producers at Fox have NO clue where I got it from. Nor would I tell them. And I said to them, "If you ever try to make me, I'll lie to ya." I'll die before I tell anybody where I got it from.
Will you go to jail for it though?
JG: Oh absolutely.
So, what's your relationship with Roger Goodell like now?
JG: Roger and I are fine. Roger understood I had a job to do and I didn't mean to put him in a bad position. I mean, people around him are ticked. I called him the morning I got it and said, "Look, I got something big here..." and I told him to just watch it and I'd call him from home and he's was just like, "Ahh....you're killing me." I mean, he knew.