Neil Stratton stoked his love and respect for the game in his teen years, playing high school football in West Virginia, followed by a brief term as a walk-on outside linebacker at the U.S. Naval Academy. During this time, Stratton earned the distinction of being perhaps the worst player on the worst team in America during the late 80s.
Undaunted, Stratton helped start a small draft-oriented publication, Lone Star Football (LSF), in 1997. Stratton and his partner, Troy Brown, published four editions annually around the time the Internet was taking hold and draft information entered the fabric of American life. Though LSF lasted only until 2000, Stratton discovered that there was no information service solely for the football professional. The news market for the person who had dedicated his working life to the game as a contract negotiator, financial advisor, marketing pro, coach, team executive, or other such profession was underserved.
To reach this market, Stratton launched Inside the League (ITL) in 2002. In its original form, ITL published one report daily from Monday through Friday, September through the end of the NFL draft in April. The site toddled along, slowly growing in respect and impact, until 2007, when Stratton was hired to run the 2008 Hula Bowl, which turned out to be the final performance of a venerated game that once featured names like Marino, Montana and Dorsett. In order to fully put his focus on his duties as Executive Director of the game, Stratton shuttered the site in Fall 2007.
After returning home in January 2008, Stratton learned that the Hula Bowl would not return. Eager to continue his work in the game, Stratton launched a retooled ITL in Fall 2008. This time, the service would publish several times weekly with a 12-month news cycle. Inside the League clients responded, and slowly, the service grew.
Since then, ITL has added several other popular features and services, which include:
·Seasonal newsletters aimed at specific audiences within the game, from parents of draft prospects to newly minted NFLPA contract advisor to financial planner and other groups.
·The free weekly ‘Friday Wrap’ email that has gained a wide audience within the game and has become a favorite of NFL scouts, well-placed media, parents of top prospects and others. Anyone can register to receive this summary of the football news week.
·A growing presence on Twitter, where we regularly provide news and notes and break the stories that matter to the game’s insiders.
·A daily blog, Succeed in Football, aimed at those who aspire to making the game their profession.
·Our trademark reports, Rep Rumblings, where we detail the hirings, firings, mergers and trends that make up the game behind the game.
·A YouTube channelwith segments from our interviews with former scouts and players as well as excerpts from our speaking engagements
·A new book, Moving the Chains, a guide to the NFL draft for parents with sons considering a career in pro football, which is slated for publication in Spring 2016.
Along the way, we’ve gained plaudits and recognition from several quarters, working with the parents of dozens of players such as Eagles All-Pro DE Connor Barwin; helped manage numerous all-star games and identified hundreds of players who’ve earned a place in the NFL; earned praise for our newsletter series from players such as Saints 2015 first-rounder LB Stephone Anthony; appearing in the pages of the New York Times; and appearing on the Esquire Network’s ‘The Agent,’a series that followed four contract advisors during the run-up to the 2015 draft.
Wherever you are in the football world, and whatever your budget, we have tools that can help you succeed. We hope we can work with you and help you make your dreams come true.