ProJo's Jim Donaldson with an evocative piece on what it used to be like to cover a professional sports franchise. In just 15 years the league has gone from accessible and personal to a tightly controlled entertainment product. Stories like this help to explain the depersonalization of today's athletes and the abased nature of being a fan of today's game: we're so removed from the process of football, getting high on a free-based tonic of entertainment product. It's not really sports to us anymore--it's the Coliseum. The NFL has done such a complete job of distancing the fan from the athlete, controlling the product, that the product lacks the immediacy--empathy--that it might once have had. Who are these guys? The League really doesn't want us to know. "Why should this matter to you — the fan, the reader? "Because it distances you from the team, too. With the media kept at arm’s length — and more — you don’t get the stories, the anecdotes, the insights you want and deserve." Well, I don't know that we necessarily deserve it. But the product is certainly thinner gruel than it used to be, and that's a sad loss.