A Christmas message

It has been a strange year for Outside The Huddle. We hoped 2021 would be a chance to build on what we set out to do – continue to produce a podcast that people enjoyed listening to and focus some more efforts on our website.

The off-season period is always tricky when it comes to podcasting. It’s easy to get stuck somewhere between the desire to maintain momentum through the weeks, but also genuinely struggling for worthwhile content. We made it work the best we could, and we were fortunate enough to have some fantastic guests on the show from across the water. We had a blast talking to beat reporters from all over the States. The website also gained more traction during this time, and we owe a huge thanks to those who produced content for us and who hopefully will continue to do so.

In the Summer, things changed a lot for us. We, like so many of you, became aware of the problems associated with Paul’s involvement in Fantasy Football Leagues and other similar competitions.

We addressed this situation on the pod earlier this year so there is no need to cover old ground here. We know as much about that situation as the next person and suspect that will remain the case.

We had hoped that we could avoid significant damage to the OTH brand during this time but on reflection, it was more problematic than we hoped or expected. We lost followers as a result and despite our best efforts, the association with what happened was enough for some people. That wasn’t really a surprise to us.

James and I have no desire to stop what we do. If there is some degree of interest, we will be turning out content. We work extremely hard, alongside our full-time work, to try and maintain a certain standard and that will never change. Our primary concern was never about number of listens. We enjoy what we do, and we enjoy each other's company.... for now, at least!

So, we made the decision not to rush into big changes when 3 became 2. It has presented an opportunity for us to bring in some great guests throughout this season and again, we can’t thank those people enough for their time and input. There is always a lot of talk about the NFL UK Community. That means different things to different people. A lot of people felt very hurt by what transpired with Paul in the Summer. However, something brilliant happened around the very same time, that showed the kind of good that can come from such a community, and I wanted to quickly share that with people.

In August, I invited a group of NFL fans, who I had never met in person, to my house for a party. Something a lot of people would probably advise against. However, these were people, who, though we had never met, I spoke with day after day and had built significant ‘virtual’ friendships with. This group travelled from far and wide......hundreds of miles, staying in hotels, just to have this gathering, when we had that small window of permitted social interaction. Friends for life no doubt. If they will have me?

It was a brilliant weekend and something I hope will become an annual event and COVID permitting, an even bigger group will be meeting for the Super Bowl in 2022. Last Christmas, I spoke on the pod about the strange times we were in and how hard a year it had been for so many people, for so many reasons. As I type this, we stand on the brink of another lockdown. It is hard to fathom and all around us we can see people being tested to their absolute limits.

Christmas is almost upon us again. It is a time of year that I love. Some do not. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. The only thing that matters right now is staying safe, mentally, and physically. It’s hard to sit here and think we are making progress when we are facing Lockdown version God knows what. I get that. Still, it will happen. We will come out of this. Until then, all we can do is make the most of what we have. See your family and friends if you can. Be safe. Look out for each other. Check in with people that you miss and people that you enjoy talking to. I know I will be.

Thank you to everyone for your support over the past 2 years. We hope you will stick with us and spread the word about what we do.

We will hopefully be lining up some exciting changes in 2022.

Have a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

All the best,

Andy & James.


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