Finding Giants: NFL scout's life not for the pampered

The life of an NFL scout is not for the pampered.

NFL Network's Finding Giants -- a four-part series premiering Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 9:00 p.m. ET and airing each Tuesday through October 21 -- brings fans behind the curtain for a close-up peek at the front office of the New York Giants.

What we learned in Episode 1 is that glory and recognition are few and far between for the average scout:

  1. Every fall, Giants general manager Jerry Reese and his cadre of evaluators must sift through a deep well of college talent to whittle down their wish list to the seven or so souls who will land with Big Blue come draft day. The heavy lifting falls on area scouts, who spread across five U.S. regions -- Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and West -- to evaluate up to 10,000 players per year.
  1. Manning the Southwest, Giants scout Steven Verderosa talked about a typical workday that begins at a college at 7 a.m., and doesn't end until practice wraps after sundown. In between comes a scattering of meetings with university coaches and long, lonely hours in dark rooms watching film. After practice, there's usually a two-hour drive to the next school. Verderosa religiously checks into his roadside motel, whips open the laptop and squeezes in a phone call home before cranking out player reports deep into the night. Next morning: Rinse and repeat.
  1. First impression: The 22-year-old version of me would have loved this life. The 40-year-old version: Not so much. It seems rough on anyone aiming to build a family, but there's something wonderful about the quest to find that next great player. What Finding Giants illuminates, though, is that unearthing talent is an hour-by-hour, week-by-week, month-by-month grind. Scouts must excel at forging relationships with college staffs to find out what makes players tick. Good scouting hinges on the ability to mine strong and honest information from your sources.
  1. Finding Giants also provides a fascinating look back at former Giants co-owner Wellington Mara, who recognized at a very early age that the "only way to win in the NFL was to learn how to pick the players," according to his son, Chris. John Mara called his father "probably the first scout." Never a player himself, Mara had to learn on the job and loved going to games and "preparing reports." Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi told a story of unearthing three file drawers full of ancient Street & Smith magazines. Each publication was littered with pencil notes and underlined names, the NFL's earliest form of national scouting. "I know Wellington Mara underlined those names," Accorsi said.
  1. Giants fans might despise everything the Cowboys stand for, but New York's front office built its modern-age scouting methods off of what the Dallas duo of Gil Brandt and Tex Schramm cooked up in the early 1960s. "They were way ahead of everybody," said Accorsi.
  1. Four episodes don't seem like enough. If you want more, NFL Now Plus will offer viewers a full six-episode, "director's cut" edition of Finding Giants once the shows runs its course on NFL Network.

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