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Joel Buchsbaum

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26 minutes ago, bitonti said:

if Joel was alive today someone would hire him to run a scouting dept from his apartment 

As long as he didnt have to do the conventional office thing and could work from his place as you suggest he would  probably ace the job. 

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Joel was always my favorite draft guy and the format of his PFW Draft Guide was the best by far. I spoke to him once on the phone (never seeing what he looked like) I remember being puzzled by his voice. Belichick and Parcells thought highly of Joel. You guys ever see some of the prices of those older guides on Ebay . .I wish I kept mine   

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4 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

Joel was 44 years old in this picture???  If this is what draft analysis does to a man then we need to rescue our guys hanging in the Draft Forum.





Not to make sport of the guy but that's exactly what I pictured Joewillie12 to look like.

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I met him in a pizza shop in Flatbush in the early 1970's.  He was pouring over college and NFL magazines and tons and tons of his notes.  We struck up a conversation and we had a long talk about that year's draft.  I was blown away by the level of details he knew about.  He was familiar with the most obscure players in the country.  I went back to that Pizza shop hoping to find him again and I never did.

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I can't believe I have no memory of this guy. Guess I wasn't as heavily into pre-draft analysis back then, and pretty much relied on Paul Zimmerman for my draft info.

What a poignant story, though. Seems from this SI article that his father died shortly after the McLain article, and then he died a few years after that.


Mel Kiper Jr. was the one on TV, but among sportswriters and The Draftniks, Buchsbaum of Pro Football Weekly was the person who perfected the mock draft. He worked out of a small apartment in Brooklyn, watching hours and hours of tape and calling coaches and executives from around the league. The only contact he had with most other people was when he would call in to answer draft questions on radio stations in St. Louis and Houston.

Rick Gosselin, former NFL writer, Dallas Morning-News: “He’s the guy who started this whole mock draft thing. He’s the godfather.”

Gil Brandt: “He was the pioneer. And he did it with great accuracy.”

Hub Arkush: “He was a fascinating character. He was famously reclusive. He never left his apartment in Brooklyn. He lived in an eight-story apartment building, next door to his parents, where he was raised. He did all of his scouting from conversations with NFL contacts, and once VCRs came along he would record whatever games were on television. Then he solidified relationships, where teams would provide tape to him.”

John McClain, writing in the Houston Chronicle, 1998: “The light in Apt. 4L may be on at all hours of the night as Buchsbaum analyzes videotapes of college and NFL players. He works 12 to 14 hours a day in his apartment. In the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, he will spend 16 to 18 hours a day working. A computer and two television sets with VCRs are on his desk. Another television and VCR are in his bedroom so he can watch tapes before he falls asleep.”

Howard Balzer: “No one had ever seen him, and they would hear the voice. Whatever question you asked him about some third-string guard from Pittsburg State, he would have an answer for you. And there were all these crazy rumors. People were saying, Does this guy really exist? Is he handicapped? Is it a computer voice?”

Hub Arkush: “Part of his [appeal] was he had this Brooklyn twang, very nasally.”

John McClain: “I got more questions about Joel Buschbaum, from readers and fans, than any Oiler. People were just fascinated with his accent, his knowledge, how quick he had every answer, and just how it was possible anyone knew as much as he did.”

McClain, writing in the Houston Chronicle, 1998: “Buchsbaum is 5'8 ¾" (leave it to a draft guru to include the fraction) and 130 pounds. He wears thick glasses. His hair is neither short nor long, just straight. Because of stress, he is allergic to different kinds of foods, so he doesn’t eat much. He eats at home, unless he goes to an identical apartment building next door to eat with his parents.”

Bob McGinn, former Packers beat writer, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “He had unbelievable sources. There was hardly any national media at that point, so GMs weren’t overwhelmed by phone calls and messages. And when Joel would call these guys, the titans of the industry, he knew about the players, he knew about the center at Georgia Tech or the defensive end at Washington State, where nobody else in the national media had any idea about these things. So when Joel would call a Ron Wolf or a Dick Steinberg or a Bobby Beathard, they would be like, ‘Woah, this guy’s really got it, he’s on our level.’ He had unreal sources.”

Buchsbaum died in his apartment of natural causes in December 2002. Only then did his peers and contemporaries fully grasp how influential he had been.

Hub Arkush: “Joel was an only son, and his dad had passed six or seven years before him. Very few friends. No immediate cousins. His mother, Frances, relied on me to help [with the funeral]. I got out to New York on Monday. On Tuesday we go out to the cemetery in New Jersey. All I remember is it was about an hour from the funeral home in Brooklyn. Once we got to the cemetery it was another 15 minutes—I had no idea where we were. We get out of the limo. There were one or two cars in the procession, maybe a dozen, dozen and a half people there. I’m helping Frances to the gravesite and I look over my shoulder and there’s four guys standing off to the side, about 30 feet away. I did a double take and got a closer look. It was Joel Bussert [of the league front-office], Ernie Accorsi, Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli.


“I introduced myself to Belichick, and he said, ‘Oh, I know all about you. Joel and I talk all the time.’ ”

Bill Belichick, Patriots coach: “In the two months leading up to the draft, I spoke to Joel at least once a week, sometimes more. Joel did a tremendous job researching the background of players, such as sprint times they ran in high school track and participations and accomplishments in sports other than football.  He literally had every name. Joel was a hard worker who was always at his apartment—you could reach him 24/7. He was able to compare players that I had not seen with ones that everyone had scouted, so for the ‘sleepers’ we were able to get an idea of the players’ style and playing skill without actually watching him. In those days, film was sometimes difficult to acquire, so having another set of eyes on a player was very helpful.”

Hub Arkush: “That year at the scouting combine we held a memorial service for him. I rented a room at the Westin. It was in the old Colts’ stadium at the time. There was seven head coaches, I think three team owners, about 12 general managers, at least 30 or 40 scouts, at least 30 or 40 members of the media. They all showed up for this! I think it was at that moment when it kind of crystalized for everyone the impact that Joel had on this whole thing.

“Not only did Belichick get up and speak, but he started his comments by telling everyone in the room, ‘Joel Buchsbaum was one of my best friends.’ ”

John McClain: “We were all stunned that Bill Belichick talked to Joel.”

Bill Belichick: “Joel was a personal friend, and we were close because we were honest with each other and trusted that any information we shared would remain private. He was a one-man band who produced an incredible amount of accurate information … We tried to hire Joel in Cleveland, but he was committed to his book and personal research.”

John McClain: “[Belichick] could’ve paid Joel more money than he could imagine, but Joel said, ‘I appreciate the offer, but I feel like I work for every team.’ ”

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