Field: Trey Hanlan and I have a friendship that extends back close to 30 years, as our parents were friends from the town of Lincoln, Mass. We had the chance to reconnect somewhat recently and he introduced me to Red’s and the first pair I got my hands on – Campbell – is my preferred choice. The color is unique and frame shape is ideal.
Red's: What was it like growing up in the Greater Boston area?
Field: In some way, shape or form, my life has almost always revolved around sports. Since a young age, my intention was to work in sports, specifically in football. Boston has seen virtually unparalleled success amongst its four major sports teams in the past 15 years, but the passion of its fans extends back in eternity. The city has a deep emotional connection to its sports teams and that’s something I’m always grateful for.
Red's: You earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Wesleyan University. How did that lead to you becoming a NFL reporter for ESPN?
Field: To be honest, sort of by accident. I majored in psychology after taking an interest in it following some introduction-level courses, not because I intended to major in it long before I got to college. What I found was that it helped me understand people in a more nuanced manor. That’s something that I believe serves anyone well, regardless of professional field. Interpersonal skills apply to almost any walk of life and I believe studying psychology can enhance them.
Red's: What’s a day in the life like at ESPN? Is it just like those amazingly hilarious commercials…?
Field: Usually a mile a minute. The NFL is a wildly popular sport, so rarely does a day pass where we aren’t thinking about football. My morning consists of segments on SportsCenter and meetings to prepare for our afternoon NFL-based shows (NFL Insiders and NFL Live). In between, it’s staying on top of the news, checking social media for updated information and readying for the next story.
Red's: What makes a good story for you? Do you have certain criteria?
Field: I got into this line of work because of the game of football itself, but I understand that there’s much more involved: it’s a business. But the stories that still rev my engine the most are those that trace back to the gridiron: an unheralded player making a game-saving play, a last second catch to decide a contest. Moments that can be captured immediately but live on forever.
Red's: In the 365-day NFL media landscape, what components does an NFL reporter need to use to tell a strong story?
Field: A willingness to stay the course is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. Stories evolve. You can get close to reporting a story, but need one final source to feel fully confident and need to wait a while before receiving said confirmation. The news cycle is fast, but getting a story right and getting it in the proper context is still so key.
Red's: In your opinion, how has the meaning of the word “reporter” changed over the past year?
Field: While I’m not sure if it’s specific to just the last year, I do believe that the role of a reporter has morphed recently. People wants facts and information, but many also want opinions and conjecture on top of that. My job is not just to report, but, in some cases, also to take that information and opine, analyze, etc.
Red's: With the NFL Draft less than a week away, how do you see things shaping up for say the Falcons, Giants and Panthers and Pats? What holes does each team need to fill?
Field: Let’s break these down individually and try to keep it simple: Atlanta needs to add one more edge rusher to pair with Vic Beasley, New York needs to continue to bolster the offensive line and add a linebacker, the Panthers need backfield depth and receiver help, while the Patriots could target pass rusher or offensive tackle depth.
Red's: Who do you want access to and why? How do you gain access to those individuals and get the sources you want?
Field: It’s hard to say specifically who or what type of person I want to gain access to, but the most important part of relationship building for me is trust. Sources need to know that information can be shared confidentially and that not all information that is shared with me is information to be reported. Staying dedicated to displaying that trust is a goal of me each day.
Red's: Field Yates, you are officially on the clock....
Favorite sports team? Boston Red Sox.
Favorite athlete of all time? Muhammad Ali.
Favorite sports moment? Ohio State beating Miami in the 2003 BCS National Championship Game.
Most embarrassing on-camera moment? I’ve been bench pressed on national TV twice.
What gets you out of bed every morning? Recently, it’s been a desire to improve my mediocre golf game!
What’s your favorite place to relax? Nantucket.
Do you play Fantasy Football? Oh yes. Six or so leagues per year.
Thoughts on Deflategate...? Bill Belichick recently called it ridiculous. Allow me to agree with that assessment.