I'll try to make this brief: I'm leaving Football Outsiders to join the new website Bill Simmons is starting in affiliation with ESPN. Although I've completed some essays that will appear in the forthcoming Football Outsiders Almanac 2011, this is my final contribution to Football Outsiders.
I joined FO as an intern during 2005, my junior year of college. I never could have possibly imagined that I'd eventually have the opportunity to write about football full-time, as I've done for FO during the past three years. It's been an absolute blessing to see a passion of mine turn into a career. My luck over the past few years has been better than anyone else's.
I've been incredibly fortunate to work with such a talented group of people over the past few years, folks whose work constantly forced me to get better. I'll miss contributing to Audibles and swapping ideas with the guys on staff more than anything.
Of course, I owe thanks to a lot of people. Aaron Schatz, obviously, for giving me the opportunity here at FO. Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch, for giving me a chance to develop as a writer and researcher in front of actual eyeballs. Gregg Rosenthal at Rotoworld, Chris Carle and Jeremy Dunham at IGN, and Dan Kaufman at ESPN Insider all believed in my work and gave me writing gigs for some incredibly naive reason. I hope I repaid that trust.
And, finally, I have to thank you, Football Outsiders readers. You created this monster. Thank you for buying books, providing feedback on articles, and clicking on that Catholic Match Girl ad a million times. Your high standards have always made me strive to get better as an analyst and as a writer. You all are proof that there will always be an audience for smart, passionate discussion. I'll miss you all. (Oh, and just in case there was any doubt: No, I was never Raiderjoe. In case it wasn't patently obvious, I'm nowhere near that funny.)
-- Bill Barnwell