Few journalists are closer to the latest Super Bowl champs than longtime New England Patriots reporter ESPN's Mike Reiss. His precious Pats are now tied for the 2nd-most NFL championships in history (behind Clayton's hometown Steelers).
So what is it about this team? How have they done so well in the era of salary caps? What is different about the culture in Foxboro? Is Brady simply the best QB ever? What does Bill Belichick do that other coaches don't?
The Professor has all the answers on this week's episode of SCHOOLED.
Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly played all of his 11 years in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills. Between 1991-1994, they played a record 4 consecutive Super Bowls, and although they lost each time, his revolutionary no-huddle "K-Gun" offense led to one of the league's greatest offensive juggernauts.
On this week's SCHOOLED, The Professor talks to his old pal Jim about his unusual path to the NFL (via the now defunct USFL), how choosing beer over a car for his MVP prize was a bad deal for the beer company, what made the 1983 NFL draft class - where Kelly was picked in the first round - so legendary, and why Joe Paterno was no fan of Clayton's.
Mike Leach, head coach of the Div 1 Washington State Cougars, has taken a unique path to where he is today. Lawyer, actor, and author were all on his resume before he became coach, but one thing is conspicuously absent: football player.
On this week's SCHOOLED, The Professor talks to Leach about the advantages to thinking outside the traditional playbook, Coach's role in creating the "Air Raid Offense," how the availability of tape has changed the game, and more!
With three generations of NFL players, the Matthews clan have played an unprecedented 832 games, been selected to 24 Pro Bowls, eight All-Pros, won a Super Bowl, and have a member in the NFL Hall of Fame.
That Hall of Famer, Bruce, joins our own Canton-ite John "The Professor" Clayton on this week's SCHOOLED. The uncle of Clay Matthews III and father of Jake Matthews (who will directly face off in the NFC championship game this Sunday), Bruce speaks candidly about planning his life around his kids' football experience, the toughest part about being in a family like his, and who will do better this weekend - Clay or Jake?
In his 40+ years of covering the NFL, The Professor calls Kenny Easley "one of the greatest football players I can remember." Considered one of football's great "what ifs," Kenny had to retire early due to kidney disease. Today, he is weeks away from being voted on for entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On this week's Schooled, Kenny & Clayton discuss the moment Ken got his bad news, whether or not safeties are under-appreciated in the NFL, the inside scoop on Hall of Fame voting, and Kenny's present and future living with kidney disease.
Arguably the most successful agent in the history of the NFL, and the real-life inspiration for Tom Cruise's character in "Jerry Maguire," Leigh Steinberg joins The Professor on SCHOOLED to discuss the role agents play in professional sports.
NFL Hall of Famer, successful post-football businessman, and one of the greatest Safeties to ever play the game, Ronnie Lott joins The Professor to discuss his involvement in the movement to keep the Oakland Raiders from relocating to Las Vegas. And in "Ask The Professor," Clayton explains whether or not he thinks hometown crowds matter to the NFL.
Have a question for The Professor? Tweet @ClaytonESPN and use #ClaytonSchooled for a chance to get your answer on the podcast.
After the recent firing of Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher, former coach and current NFL Network analyst Steve "Mooch" Mariucci joins The Professor on this week's SCHOOLED. The guys discuss: The NFL makes 6-7 coaching changes per year; is it harder to be a head coach today? Also - the differences between college & the NFL. How offensive strategy has evolved, and how defense is keeping up. The state of the West Coast Offense. And more!
Tommie Campbell was a sure thing. He was a first-team All State wide receiver and safety with Olympic calibre track stats (the 3rd fastest high-schooler in the US), and the NFL had their eyes on him. But he blew it. He began to cut classes, lose focus, and was eventually kicked out of two different colleges before getting a job as a janitor in the Pittsburgh airport for $8/hr.
How times have changed. This week on SCHOOLED, The Professor talks to Tommie about what it took to turn his life around - eventually getting drafted in the 7th round by the Tennessee Titans in 2011, and playing today as a champion in the CFL (which Tommie says is harder than the NFL).
Lawyer Milloy is a four-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time All-Pro, and a Super Bowl champion who over 15 seasons as a safety in the NFL played under two of the greatest coaches in the game: Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll.
On this week's SCHOOLED, The Professor talks to Milloy about playing under two of the best and most different coaches in NFL history, and answers a listener's question about who will be remembered as the all-time best.
From being drafted into "The Harvard Business School for Young Quarterbacks" at Green Bay (coaches Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, and QB Brett Favre) to his 6 playoff appearances and a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks to Indianapolis where his 4-0 record as starter at the age of 40 made him the first quarterback in NFL history to do so, Matt Hasselbeck has had a very impressive career. He talks with The Professor on this week's SCHOOLED.
Pro Football Focus' Editor-in-Chief Jeff Dooley chats with The Professor about their favorite topic: NFL stats, data, and analytics.
On this week's SCHOOLED, we get into the nuts and bolts about the mountain of data that's out there, how it's collected & analyzed, and what decisions are made based on all this information. From teams' game plans and draft strategies, to fantasy teams and friendly wagers, football has joined the moneyball age, and no one knows more about that than John Clayton & Jeff Dooley.
The Professor welcomes back Former VP of Officiating in the NFL and current Rules Analyst at FOX Sports Mike Pereira to SCHOOLED.
A big discussion is this week's MNF game between Seattle and Buffalo, specifically the call against Richard Sherman. Also on the show - how tough it is to be an official, instant replay and its implications, excessive celebration and unsportsmanlike conduct, Mike's solution for quality officials, and how if the NFL increases official's commitment to full time, you're gonna lose a few good refs.
The man John Madden called the best left tackle in the NFL, Hall of Famer and carreer-long Seattle Seahawk Walter Jones, changed football. This week on SCHOOLED, The Professor tells us how, and what that means for building an offensive line today. The guys focus in on their beloved Seahawks as an example. We also get the scoop on Clayton's "Theory of 150."
Have a question for The Professor? Tweet @ClaytonESPN using #ClaytonSchooled and you could get your answer on the podcast!
The NFL's top executive for the health and safety of players, Jeff Miller, was the first league representative to admit a link between football and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
This week on SCHOOLED, The Professor discusses how concussions were (not) handled back in the day, walks us through modern concussion procedures, and Miller explains how biomechanical engineering is going to revolutionize the helmets of the future.
And who knew Clayton spoke German?
Kevin Mawae played for 16 years in the NFL, was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, served as President of the NFL Players Association, and will be - if The Professor has anything to do with it - a future Hall of Fame Center.
On this week's SCHOOLED, Clayton digs deep into the great example Mawae is for players. He was the whole package: talented, hard-working, and smart! As President of the Player's Association, he negotiated the most recent collective bargaining agreement against multi-billionaire owners to better ensure the safety and well-being of NFL players.
Have a question for The Professor? Tweet him at @ClaytonESPN, use #ClaytonSchooled, and you could get your answer on the show.
Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Charles Haley is the only player in NFL history to win 5 Super Bowls. Yet he was traded in his prime (twice!) because he had become so difficult for players and coaches - even the media. He was, in his words, "an a--hole."
In this week's SCHOOLED, Haley talks with The Professor about confronting mental illness, overcoming his demons, and what advice he gives young players struggling with similar issues. For the whole story, read Haley's fantastic new book "Fear No Evil."
Drew Bledsoe was the 1st overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft by the then-flailing New England Patriots. With Bledsoe at QB, the Pats reached the playoffs 6 times, and made it to the Super Bowl after 8 seasons of no postseason play. But after a nearly fatal injury in 2001, he was replaced by a young upstart named Tom Brady, and, even after being medically cleared, never took the field for N.E. again.
This week, The Professor talks to Drew about being replaced (and how common that is for NFL players), why playing QB for the Cowboys is like pitching for the Yankees, and his new life as a Northwest winemaker.
Want to "Ask The Professor?" Tweet your NFL questions to @ClaytonESPN using #ClaytonSchooled, and you could get your answer on SCHOOLED.
Are you ready for some old-school football?! This week's legendary guest is one of only 2 people to win an NFL title as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach: Hall of Famer Mike Ditka. He & Clayton talk about sharing humble beginnings in neighboring Pennsylvania steel towns, Coach's favorite NFL moment, building the greatest defense in football, and how the game has changed since Ditka was drafted over 50 years ago. Also, who didn't want to participate in "The Super Bowl Shuffle?" That and more on this week's SCHOOLED!
Adam Vinatieri has been in the NFL for a staggering 21 years. He is the oldest active player in the league and is widely considered one of the best kickers in the history of the game. He holds the record for most postseason points scored (234), most overtime field goals made (10), and he's the only player ever to score 1000 points with two different teams. On this week's SCHOOLED, he talks with The Professor about the evolution of kickers throughout his tenure, the secret to longevity in the NFL, and the league's attempts at making his job more difficult.
The Professor has been covering the NFL for 40 years and thinks it's never been more difficult to be an official. The game has gotten more complex, and the bloated rule book is excruciatingly complicated.
On this week's SCHOOLED, we're joined by former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL, and current Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira. They discuss Mike's history of rising through the ranks, how he deals with angry coaches, why it takes at least 5 seasons to develop Super Bowl-level skills, and how changes (like going to 8 officials in the 2017 season) are going to affect the future of officiating in the league.
Check out Mike's book "After Further Review: My Life Including the Infamous, Controversial, and Unforgettable Calls That Changed the NFL" out on amazon.com today!
Get SCHOOLED with John Clayton on NFL ownership, the state of the league, potential franchise moves to Las Vegas, and more. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joins the Professor to reflect on how the NFL has grown and the contributions he's made to make the NFL the media and cultural juggernaut it is today.
On this week's episode of SCHOOLED, John Clayton teaches a class on the trends and concerns in NFL injuries with ESPN's injury analyst Stephania Bell Tony Romo is already out 6-10 weeks with a spinal fracture he suffered on his first series of the third pre-season game. Teddy Bridgewater may be out 9-12 months after dislocating his knee. ACL tears are up. What's going on? Should the NFL shorten the pre-season? How can teams manage the salary cap hit carrying so many injured players? How has the pre-season injury toll already affected the post-season picture? The Professor and Stephania Bell have the answers.
Are recent rule changes attempting to eliminate the kickoff? One of the greatest return specialists in NFL history Dante "X Factor" Hall joins The Professor on this week's SCHOOLED. They discuss league safety, why kickoff returns are like in-the-park homeruns, and what legends we might not know today if they didn't get their chance at returning kicks.
Super Bowl champion offensive line coach & three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Howard Mudd joins The Professor to educate us all on what it means to develop and operate a successful O-Line, and how strategies have changed over the years due to things like free agency. And as always, we end SCHOOLED with John Clayton answering your questions during Ask The Professor.