At the dawn of the 21st Century, in the winter of 2001, a new gridiron football league appeared on the sports scene. The brainchild of wrestling promotor Vince McMahon and television executive Dick Ebersol, the XFL sought to become the premier weekly sporting event in America during the NFL off season. As most football fans, the original XFL fell short and, as the name of the title suggests, failed spectacularly on television and most importantly, in the ratings. During the season, Brett was there with the league every step of the way as a young freelance writer. His book, Long Bomb, is a compelling tale of hubris and the lessons the league soon learned as ratings fell and America tuned out of a television product few had been clamoring for outside of the cult of spring football.
Brett is currently a national security investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He was formerly a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, where he reported on sports and crime and was a member of the staff that won the National Magazine Award for general excellence. His last film was the ESPN/ABC true-crime documentary, Pin Kings, an Emmy finalist. He is the author of The Big Fix, an international crime bestseller in development as a feature film at Netflix, as well as Long Bomb. Brett’s international-affairs reporting has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Foreign Policy, and Playboy. For a decade, he worked in Russia, Ukraine, and Brazil. He has reported from 50 countries, and his articles have been syndicated in more than 30 languages. His work has appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing.
In addition to this podcast, Brett also appeared recently on the X Fan Show videocast.