We would like to give a special thank you to Mr. Peter Schaffer for taking the time to speak with us.
As Michael Goins pointed out in his article ‘‘Be Water My Friend,’ there are several types of fantasy football players. But how do any of these compare to being an actual NFL agent? Do we both have the same concerns about the players we have on our “team”? Do we hold the same hopes for our players as an agent does?
If you watched the HBO show ‘Ballers’, you would have followed the story of Ricky Jerret and Vernon Littlefield in their journey around the NFL. This show, I thought, appeared to show the life of an NFL agent.
Now whoever you are, whenever you are picking your fantasy football team, you will take so many factors into consideration. The match-ups, the weather, player injuries and much more. But while the factors may differ, how far apart is picking a fantasy football team from an NFL agent recruiting players?
Here at DynastyFootballFactory, some of us (probably just me) think about these things. So we managed to speak to Mr. Peter Schaffer, an NFL agent for many high profile players such as C.J Anderson, Kwon Alexander and one of this year’s drafts’ hottest commodities in Joe Mixon.
So Mr. Schaffer, firstly I want to thank you for taking the time out to talk to me today. I want to start by finding out what it was that got you into the world of Sports agency?
Boy, it was way back now. I was working at a litigation firm with some lawyer graduates from law school at a quality firm here in Denver. I was 24 years old and I had learned a lot so I just decided that I wanted to give this a shot.
So can you talk me through it, how does it work? Do you approach the players or do the player generally approach you?
No, recruiting is the staple of the business. When recruiting they have to be the right fit, the right players, it’s a very competitive business so I want to find good players that are good people that match what you stand for.
What players do you currently represent that are entering the draft right now, if you don’t mind me asking?
We have got, Marquez White from Florida State, Tashawn Bower from LSU, Rayshawn Jenkins from Miami, Joe Mixon from Oklahoma, Weston Steelhammer from Air Force and Kenneth Walker III from UCLA.
So where do the ‘transactions’ normally take place? So with college players coming into the league, would you meet them at the combine or team facilities? Or is it generally in the office?
Oh, in this business it is anywhere, it can be all over the place.
Okay, so have you seen the HBO show ‘Ballers’ at all?
How close is this to real life or is it all just “Hollywood”?
There is about 5% real life and about 95% Hollywood.
So on a day to day basis, what would your clients generally contact you for?
They call me any time of the day from 5 am to 2 am. They call you for anything; you want to be there for them and help them have great lives and make great decisions.
So Dynasty Football Factory is heavily oriented towards fantasy football. Do you take part in any leagues?
About two years ago, my now 12-year-old was 10 and he was in a fantasy football league with the son of the Vice President of the Falcons. They gave him so much grief that his dad was helping him when he won the league (and I wasn’t). Every good decision was his call and every bad decision was my choice so after that he just completely ignores me and he has now won his league two years in a row.
Fantasy football degenerates will tend to do a lot of research into players before drafting/picking up a player. Do you also look into players before representing them or would you take players to just increase your client list?
I am looking for the right combination of character, talent, intelligence, and smarts.
What do you find the most challenging thing about managing your clients?
You just want to help them manage expectations and make great decisions.
So you have run Authentic Athletix for a few years now. If you could go back to the beginning, what advice would you give yourself when you first set out in the industry?
Oh shoot, I don’t know. I never look at things like that I only ever look forward.
What advice would you give to anyone who is trying to make it in this business?
Always be prepared to get knocked off the horse and find a way to get back on it. The true victor is not the person that gets knocked off its the person that gets back on and finds a way to succeed.
So let’s finish with a bit of fun. Who would you say is the easiest client you have managed?
Oh gosh, I have been fortunate enough to have a number of players that fit into that profile. I have been very blessed to have great athletes, great players, and even better people so I would never pick one. It would be like trying to pick which son or daughter you like the best. They are all unique opportunities and unique challenges.
So what did we learn from speaking to Mr. Schaffer? Firstly, you can be a great player scout to find the right guy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be an incredible fantasy football player. Just by looking at his portfolio of players, clearly Authentic Athletix know what they are doing, but not necessarily when it comes to finding the right fantasy football lineup.
We also learned that your current job does not stop you from becoming an NFL agent. Mr. Schaffer went from working at a litigation firm to being one of the top agents in the NFL. It does, however, take a lot of time, hard work, late nights and early mornings. So similar to being a fantasy football team owner but a whole other level of extreme!
Another similarity would be that an agent would only recruit a player if he fits for them. An example of this would be a lot of fantasy football players would not draft a slot receiver (or ‘slot shaming’ for a better turn of phrase) or not take a kicker that plays their home games outdoors (unless it’s Denver).
Oh yeah, and we also learned that ‘Ballers’ didn’t actually give us a look into how an NFL agents life works. I still love the show though.
So when you are drafting your team this season, be thankful that none of the players that you draft will be waking you up at 5 am!