Considering the NFL’s recent explosion in global popularity, it makes perfect sense the league would tap into the internet.
Now every franchise has its own beautifully-designed, up-to-the-minute web site filled with polls, injury reports, screensavers and player profiles. Fans from Green Bay to Greenland can connect with their team no matter what day or time it is. Including the offseason.
The man behind the official web site in San Diego is David Neville.
“Currently, I write and edit daily stories for Chargers.com,” he says. “I'm also responsible for updating our rosters, depth charts, player and coach bios, and transactions on the site. I also help provide daily polls for the site. I'm in charge of editing, writing for and proofing our major publications, including our yearbook and game program (Gameday Magazine).”
So chances are, if you ever attend a Chargers game in Qualcomm Stadium or log on to Chargers.com, you’re reading Neville’s detailed work.
You’re not alone. Members of the media rely on his words on a weekly, daily, or even hourly basis. They’ve even carried around his prose all season long.
“Through the years, I've been responsible for editing, writing and updating our media guide and press releases as well as numerous other publications,” he says.
Although he’s now the trusted pen of a major sports franchise, Neville began his career in the same location but on a much lower scale.
“I started with the Chargers in 1988 as a summer training camp intern after receiving a degree in communications with an option in public relations from Chico State, where I also played quarterback. I originally became interested in sports PR when I worked for the Sports Information Director at Chico during my last semester.”
Then there was that one time Neville decided to stray from his beloved sports.
“After one season as an intern with the Chargers, I got a job with a PR firm in downtown San Diego. I was miserable, so I came back to the Chargers the next year to intern again, which led to a full-time position as a staff assistant (basically a gopher). At the end of that season, our director of PR was fired, so a position opened up at the bottom of our PR department. Viola, I was on my way.”
Right up the company ladder.
“Over the years, I went from Public Relations Assistant to Assistant Director of Public Relations to Media Relations Coordinator to my current title of Managing Editor, Web Site and Publications.
During that ascent through the front office, Neville has seen it all.
“I have also been our point of contact for all local and national media, including the production crews from CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, ESPN and TNT that have covered our games over the years. Despite not being as involved in media relations any more, I still work closely with the on-air crews.”
And what are some of the best parts about his job?
“The two coolest things I've done since I've been with the Chargers are traveling and getting to meet people. I advanced for 10 years, which is going out early before the team to other cities and setting up all of the logistics at the hotel, airport and opposing team's stadium. I've advanced just about every major U.S. city with an NFL team, as well as Berlin, Tokyo and Sydney. I was also our point person for the 1995 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh as well as the Super Bowl in Miami. The players and coaches I've met in the past 16 years are too numerous to mention, as are the broadcasters. But anybody who covers the NFL, chances are, I've worked with them.”
Of course, it’s not all glamorous Super Bowls and AFC Championship games for Neville.
“I work seven days a week from July to January. Our only time off during the season is on the bye weekend. Most people think we get a lot of time off in the offseason. Wrong. There really is no offseason any more in the NFL. But I'm not complaining, because compared to baseball, hockey, basketball and NASCAR, our travel schedule is a walk in the park.”
Perhaps it’s a walk in the park because Neville loves his job.
He also has some great advice for those looking to enter the sports industry.
If you want to write content for a web site, here’s his suggestion: “Learn how to write. If you can't write, or don't like to write, get out of the business, now.”
And some general tips for most sports-related jobs: “Be detailed. Keep notes. Phone numbers, people's names, the names of their families, where they are from, etc. Every little bit helps. If you want to get rich, go into another line of work. Be loyal to the people you work for and with. Be professional. You're under a microscope all the time. Everything you say or do will be scrutinized. Finally, if somebody would have told me when I graduated college that I would spend the next 16 years working in football, traveling the world, going to four Super Bowls, and meeting scores of interesting people (both famous and not so famous), I would have said sign me up.”