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PFT, Peacock Poised For Partnership

My original plan for Sunday night was to: (1) procrastinate writing my column for a couple of hours; (2) fill in some of the procrastination time by playing a little NHL ’09; (3) eventually bang out the column with a mail-it-in-mindset (they actually turn out better that way); and (4) after finishing the thing up, think about how to handle Monday’s announcement that PFT will be partnering with NBC. But then the cat has wiggled its way out of the bag sooner than expected. Our pal Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times broke the news earlier tonight. NBC has in turn ‘fessed up to the collaboration. So we figure we should probably acknowledge it right here. Drum roll, please. We’ll soon be entering into a wide-ranging partnership with the Peacock people. So will anything change? No, nothing will change. Let me repeat that. Nothing will change. If you still don’t believe me, here’s how NBC Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol explained it to Farmer: “The sites that are most successful are the ones that have the most unique voices, and I think Mike definitely has one of the most unique voices,” Ebersol said. “I can’t think of another pro football website that has the unique following in such large numbers that Mike does. I’d be a fool if I tried to change that.” Actually, that’s not completely accurate. Some things will change. But the content, the tone, the attitude, the subject matter, and the overall philosophy of the site will not change -- in the short term or in the long term. The changes will be, in our view, improvements. For one, the “Suitable Nodes” will be forever banished from PFT Planet. And, frankly, that was one of the major factors for us. The feeling of helplessness and abject despair that arose when the site froze up on the first day of free agency caused us to commence aggressive efforts to find a permanent solution to the technical challenges created by an ongoing crush of new traffic. The best solution was to partner with an established media company -- and of the various possible partners NBC provided the perfect fit. Also, the appearance of the site will be tweaked a bit, preserving its present look and feel while adopting a slightly more mainstream layout. (Cue the “change it back, you bastard” e-mails.) Finally, for those of you who complain that we have too many ads on the page, the PFT-on-NBC project will feature only two total ad units per page. As of this posting, the Rumor Mill has a whopping fourteen ad units. Of course, we’ll now be getting complaints from the folks who prefer more ads. And we’ve learned over the years that, no matter what we do, someone will complain. Most of the complainers will adapt to the changes, especially if the changes are made with good intentions and if the content doesn’t change. So some of you likely are still asking, “Will the content change?” One more time: No, it won’t. And if you ask it again, here’s my official response.