Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Leigh Steinberg

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Perhaps the greatest NFL agent of all time, Leigh Steinberg, joins our huddle. His story was made famous by the Jerry Maguire movie, he continues to pave the way and set the standard for sports agency. He currently represents the league MVP, Patrick Mahomes. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Lee Steinberg, Dave is is up this week and I'm freaking really excited to hear his story because I think you and I know a little bit about you know, stats and the guys he's had mean you pray can roll off your tongue. His the Pixie. He's been part of. Well, I'm pretty sure this is fact, but it's eight number one overall picks in the NFL in about sixty two first round draft picks. He's been the agent for just in the NFL. He represents baseball players and other sports to but but you know, and what's great about it is he's still in the business today. He is one of the greatest players today in the NFL. He represents after any now, he said dips and valleys in his career, right, and he's on the upswing and on his upswing in his later years. Has Probably the hottest quarterback in the NFL today. Right. And do you remember who his roommate was in college? His roommate, or I think it was a classmate, maybe not a roommate, the guy from first his first ever client. Oh, Steve Barkowski, to bark out. Yeah, I mean I can't wait to hear that story about why. You know that. I think that's how he kind of got it started in to be an agent. If that doesn't happen, none of the other stuff made have ever fallen in place. Well, and I think too, Lee has had a significant influence on owners, coaches, general managers in the game since early s. Why? I remember speaking of Poles another pool and I can't remember exactly where he fell in it. He was maybe top ten most influential person in the NFL. Maybe he was number four something. It was crazy. Is a few owners and maybe him. Yeah, I mean he has just had all the big names. I mean look at the Super Bowl between the steelers and the cowboys. He represented all six quarterbacks or were on either the roster of the cowboys of the steelers, and there had to be other players on the team that he was like eleven. It was like eleven players overall. Basically seable. He basically stood on both sidelines, you know, first half on the steelers second yeah, anyone. You know, and I know I think I heard something about who do you go? You know, somebody asked him like who do you go see after a game a big win? He goes, I said, you go with the guys who won. He is, Oh no, I gonna go support my guys who lost, right, and that's kind of agent he is. But I'm really excited to hear some of the stories from he was in college. He had his career in college was crazy, crazy. Was a USC he went to. He started UCLA, Ucla that she dance for, to cal. Was Student Body President at CAL. This is done in late s when Berkeley was just blown up. Well, Burke, it was. It was the scene of the S, right, that's where everybody went free, love all that stuff. And and I think, I think that he brought like he was the guy that showed some of the most famous musicians ever around campus. Well, he there's one point where, and I don't know how far apart this was, but he gave a tour of the campus to Jim Morrison and then, say, a week later, Jimmy Hendrix. So he had like two of the most famous musicians in the history music walk around campus talking. Oh yeah, and I think through other there's like cream, I think somebody else, you know that is mentioned in there, but you know, are clapped and I think he said yeah, which he was part of cream. Yeah, but it mean it's just a great, great story. I'm so excited to hear it from start to finish and I can't believe he is still influential in the NFL and now he's doing things where he's bringing he's paying it back, paying it forward. I guess it is what you would say where he's teaching people his craft. He's teaching students in college his craft, that sports networking, how to do that, how to talk to GM's and owners. And then also heard that he has a book club. It's got a book club. And then also, speaking of giving back, his clients have donated over a billion dollars back to charity, which is I mean, yeah, I'd love to hear other agents versions of that. So they're not even close. And I mean we're going to find out when Lee comes on about how much actually his clients have made. So stay tuned. Listen to hudle up with Gus. Lee Steinberg's next Dave today in the huddle with us as Lee Steinberg just super wellknown agent that kind...

...of revolutionize the industry on and and really took what players are looking for in an agent to a new level. I think, and Lee it is so good to have you with us today and we really appreciate you being part of huddle up with guests. It's my pleasure. So, Lee, what we really like to start with is when you were little. Who is that person or what was that spark for you that got your interests in your love of sports. Well, my father had played basketball and golf the UCLA, so I was raised a ruined baby and I used to see Ucla basketball and football. So that got me going. Buddy. Also love the dodgers and when they moved to Los Angeles in one thousand nine hundred and fifty eight, they were packed with star purse and Sandy Kofax became my real idol, and I also love more wills. And then the second year they were here they won the world series. So we were all transcendent in our excitement. The Lakers at that point had wilke Chamberlain and Jerry West and Nel Jim Baylor and the rams. My Dad used to take me to the Games. We set so high in the Coliseum that you needed a telescope to see the field, but it made me fall in love with football. And so Los Angeles replete with great sports teams and I had ucla to route for. So there was really no choice. I was going to be a hardcore sports fan and back then we used to fight with each other to see who got to read the Sports Section in the newspaper first. Yep, Dave and I, we did a radio show this morning and we just talked about how, back in the day the only way you got your sports was when Monday night football will come on a halftime and you could find out about your team during during the Games, right they oh yeah, I would gri up a steeler fan, but I was in Arizona. The only time I ever saw that steelers was Monday mats. But's been going along with that newspaper, The Sunday sports page with all the stats was that's why I you know, and that's why I makes it so significant that you guys fought over that. You know, that sports page. So what I did later in life, as we formed a business, because there was no internet and if you were living in Los Angeles but you were Pittsburgh steeler fan, we had a reporter from Pittsburgh supply all the highlights, all the features, everything. And today I'm on the Board of a company called digital sports network that does exactly the same thing. You can get thirty hours of high DEF content. But then there was no way, other than reading a box score, that you could ever follow a team outside your market. And it would be really hard to describe the world that I grew up in with black and white television and three networks and that was it. And there were not all the highlight shows, there was not the talk radio, there was no internet. So it was much more of a challenge to to follow sports and I think it also kept the game kind of pure. To write, with all the things that have happened to happen to athletes. You would hear some of it, but now it's immediate. It's happens right now if somebody gets in trouble or whatever. Back then it was just about the game and what their stats were. Now it's about everything else that goes on in their life as well, and and it creates a unreal dis portion of what athletes lives are really like, because if you have a couple thousand players who play in the NFL, ninety nine point nine percent of them give peak performance. They go home to their wife and kids, they do charitable and community events, but the sports page takes those aberrations and pushes them into fans faces. So you see every drunk driving, every domestic violence, as if somehow that was representative will it's no more representative of the actual world the sports then watching your local news is where you'd make the assumption that kidnappings and shootings are every day occurrence right now. I agree with that wholeheartedly and that I wish was out of it. But we're never going back there again, I guess solely when you were young you got to go. Did you have some siblings? How many people are in your family growing up? I had two brothers and we were all hardcore sports fans. My Dad offered us a dollar every time the shortstop more will shit, a homer, which was never...

...and but again we had we had great teams and it always interests me when people talk about the amazing heritage of other cities and diminished Los Angeles, but southern California had had a great football team at the pro level. We have UCLA AND SC we had the dodgers. Very quickly after that we had the angels and it really is a sports Mecca. Really is, and I mean I was centering the universe for sports at that time between the Lakers of dodgers. I mean I think you guys even have hockey now. So you know the king's been going. Now we have two NFL teams, to NHL teams, to Major Ear League baseball teams, to soccer teams, that I say, to NBA teams. And you see LASC so it's a sports corn coupia. Yeah, it really it really is. And so when you went, when you were young, you were playing with your brothers. And who was your idol? Who was the guy you always wanted to be? You had so many people to choose from. Oh, Sandy Kofax, because he was the best pitcher in baseball and he was simply untouchable and he carried himself in a very classy way. But I remember rooting for Jerry West when later I was negotiating with him for Byron Scott, I said, Jerry, this is really unfair. How am I supposed to negotiate in an aggressive way with someone who's picture was over my bed when I was a kid? Right, it's right. So did you ever get to meet Sandy? I did, he and it was a real pleasure. And then more wills, who should be in the hall of fame was also someone that I got to spend time with and it was complete thrill. Back then we had transistor radios and all of the southern California was united with the sound of Vincecully's voice. And the dodgers sold the unique concept, which was going to a dodger game. So they marketed Los Angeles like it was des Moines, Iowa, and they had straight a nights and little league nights and Rotary Nice, and so the concept was to go to dodger stadium and see the dodgers play. It didn't matter who they were playing or who is pitching. You simply went and it created a love affair which lasted this day. Right, so you're a young kid, you're going to all these games, you get to go and enjoy all these sports moments. When you go into high school, did you did you play sports? What were your sports in high school? I ran track and crush country. I was smart enough to know I'd probably be a grease spot on a football feel yeah, so I ran the mile, the two mile and and I ran crush country. Of course we paid every sport when we grew up. We weren't sitting there with video games on a Saturday morning, your mom would let you out the front door and all day long you would play baseball, basketball, football with all the kids around. And you had to do a funny thing. You had to use your imagination right instead of being swarmed over by big screen graphics and sound asking what sport you like to play when you were kid. Well, it's funny lead we were talking about this earlier today. whiffleball was from any of our guests so far on our show. whiffleballs always been like a big common denominator for kids when you're young, with always going out playing Saturday morning until dawn to dusk. Is I mean that's that's what we did. It was in any quarter, any fields you can find, you wouldn't played whiffleball. And we made games up so that we there was a game we made it called Porch Ball, where you took a tennis ball and you threw it against the porch and then the ball would come back and and based on if you hit it at a right angle you'd get a home run, but it was single, double, triple. So we make up games and we had endless football games in the front yard. We had analysts baseball games. We had endless basketball games and we love them all. The only thing we didn't have much of in southern California it was was hockey, because in southern California they would take you for a snow trip, you know, and you would drive up to the mountains and you saw this incredible thing which was snow, and you'd put it in a cup because you knew that you wanted to show your parents that this amazing thing which was snow, which we've never seen. And of course it was a twohour bus...

...ride to get back. So imagine what we showed our parent. Couple water. Yeah, couple water. We feel that way about sun here in Pittsburgh. We don't get a lot of Sun. We get more raided snow, but well, you know, I know Pittsburgh well because for about twenty years I represented the steeler quarterback. It started with Neil O'Donnell and then it went to Cordel Stewart and then I did like the first five years of Ben Roethlisburg. Wow, so you've been here many, many times. What's your favorite place to visit in Pittsburgh? Behind field? Thanks you. You have a restaurant. They always went to, Oh gosh, we had so many I can't remember I had. I had players like plexical Burrus, I had carnel lake. But there was that one super bowl where Neil O'Donnell started for Pittsburgh and I represented all the quarterbacks on the field, all the Pittsfur quarterbacks and all the Dallas Gut quarterbacks. So the only sure thing was I was going to visit one very happy group and one very sad group. You knew whichever one one. That's the locker room you were going to. That's for no I would go to the losers locker room. The other agents could go to the winners. I had to go where they needed me and eventually I'd get to the winning quarterback. But in Troy won three of them. But so the period there where troy run three and Steve Young won one. So we were reigning Super Bowl MVP's. So did you represent Jason Garrett as well? I did Jason Garrett, Wade Wilson, Mike Tom Sack, Cordell, Weld Donald. I had all the quarterbacks in that game. I think there's still discussion on the radio about a couple of O'Donnell's picks in that game where were they going? You know, I think it's stilled. It's still discussed today, believe or not I understand. All I knew when I was watching that was he was about to be a free agent and he would not get resigned in Pittsburgh. Up going somewhere else made you troup a little bit harder. Yeah, but we ended up signing a good contract with the jets. Yes, you did. What High School did you go to? I went to Hamilton High School, which is in West Los Angeles. It's very classic looking. It was close to MGM. So we had a whole group of child stars and we also later had Al Michaels went there. Warren Moon went there. We had Sydney wicks, we had a series of gifted athletes. It was it was probably ninety percent Jews and ten percent blacks, and then we started winning right. So you get through high school, your you have a love of sports. When you were a junior, senior, what were you what were your thoughts about what you really wanted to do? What was your next step? It was your plan. So my dad raised me with two core values. One was to treasure relationships, especially family, and the second was to try to be an agent for change and make a difference in a positive way in the world and help people who couldn't help themselves. So I knew I was going to try to be someone that helped other people and probably would have been politics, but I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and my whole parents had five degrees between Ucla and so I went to Ucla and that was the first year of cream I'll dul jabbar, but he buddy was called Lou all cinder. Then I took a class called anthropology and I was late and I walked into the classroom and all I could see in front of me, there's only one seat left, was a bunch of darkness and I couldn't see the port and then at the end of the class, Louis tender turned around and said, I hope I didn't block your view. But the first demonstration I was ever in is SC was voted to go to the Rose Bowl instead of UCLA, even though we had a better record, and so we marched down wilster boulevard in protests, got onto the four h five freeway and shut down traffic. So little I know I was yet yet to come. But then I transferred to Berkeley because it was the late s and it was rock and roll and herbal substances and long hair and free love and it...

...was sort of the concentric capital of students in the world and I went on to be student buddy president. At the same time the governor was Ronald Reagan, so everything I learned about negotiating originally came from negotiating with Ronald Reagan. Every time we shut down the campus in protest over the Vietnam War, he intervened and we had some really classic interactions. Later he gave me a humanitarian award when he was in the White House, but it didn't see all that cordial then. Right, right. So what was? So you're in the S. it's some prolific music that came out of that era. Who's the band that you love to listen to? So the interesting thing about being student by President of Berkeley is there were visitors from all over who would come and I actually ended up showing Jimmy Hendricks came by one day and I loved his music and I showed him around Berkeley, and Jim Morrison came another day and I spent some time with them. So it was we were just coming out of the period of Motown, which we all loved, and then it was rock. So it was the rolling stones, it was the Beatles, it was cream, it was Janis Choplin, it was Jefferson airplane, but it was the Mecca for music. That used to have three bills over at at the fillmore in San Francisco. That would be like Jimmy Hendricks, Stanish Choplin and Jefferson airplane. So you know, we loved it all and I had had that experience before because my grandfather ran a place called Hillcrest Country Club, and Los Angeles Country Club wouldn't allow blacks, Latinos, Catholics, Jews or actors. So my grandfather's Club became the big hang out and he would play Jim rummy every day with the group that younger people won't remember, but it was gratio marks, George Burns, Jack Benny, George Burns, and my grandpa took me to my first baseball game. I have a picture sitting on Marilyn Monroe Lap. I have an autographed Elvis Presley Guitar. So I had had that experience when I was young. But again, Berkeley was the center of the world and it was a center of rock music and it was really joyful. Did you ever think about maybe, like entertainment law, not so much in sports but in music? I did, but you know, the truth of the matter was I didn't want to know that a certain star was not as idyllic off the screen as he was on. I didn't want to know about the personalities. I want to I love movies. I was brought up as a movie Fan and I wanted to enjoy it for what it was. I wanted to enjoy television for what it was, without knowing the behind the scenes and having that ruined somehow. But I wanted to be in court. So eventually I went to law school at Berkeley and I wanted to be a district attorney. I had other offers in politics. I had offers in television news, but I was a norm counselor in an undergraduate dorm and they moved the freshman football team from cal into the dorm and one of the students was the quarterback, steep Barkkowski. So when I graduated from law school I had job offers in corporate litigation and for the DA's office. I had a couple other offers, but before I ever got there. I had graduated in January seventy four, traveled the world for a year and Burk Kowski ended up being the very first player picked in the first round of the NFL draft in one thousand nine hundred and seventy five. The draft was in January then, and he asked me to represent them. So there I was, brimming with legal experience, never having represented anyone, being a young lawyer, and the US, the World Football League, was competing against the NFL right and teams like the shreeport steamer and that Charlotte Corniche, and Bark Kowsky was a big bluid long quarterback and we ended up getting the largest rookie contract in NFL history. And I flew in the night before with Bark Kowski to the airport and I'd grown up in late back California. So we get into the airport in their pleague lights flashing in the sky like for a movie premiere. You crowd...

...is pressed up against the police line in the first thing we heard was we interrupt the late news to bring you a special news bullet and Steve Barkowsky and his attorney have just arrived at the Atlanta airport. We switch. You live for an in depth interview. Oh my goodness. So I looked at him, bark Cowsey, probably the only that Dorothy looked at toto when they got to Munchkin land, and I said, I know we're not in Berkeley anymore. And I saw the tremendous idol, worship and veneration that athletes were held in communities across the country and I thought, you know, they can be role models and if they'll go back to the high school, the college and professional community then set up charitable programs and enhance the quality of life, then I can really make a difference in this field. And so I didn't know if I keep doing it, but I saw that we could really have an impact off the field and if I got into the heart and mind of young athlete and listen carefully to what their values were and listen carefully to their ultimate aspirations. You know, the biggest skill is listening. It's creating a climate of trust so that you can peel back the layers of the onion until you understand someone else's deepest anxieties and fears and their greatest hopes and dreams. And if you can bond emotionally. At that point, then, from helping us Sab of someone as a role model to planting the seats for second career, to mentoring them throughout a career, I thought, well, this is sort of fun. So I feel like all those things that you just talked about. I wish so many coaches would listen to that and try to do that with their players, because I feel that's a big detriment for a lot of coaches that they don't know, they don't profile the players, they don't understand them. So you mentioned profiling. So the second year I did this, I talked to every athlete I could, every football player I could, and I had reasonable results, but not great, and I figured out that if I could profile and athlete, see whether or not they had a good heart, see whether they wanted to be a role model, see if they were ambitious for second career, that I would have much better results. And so for the last fourty five years we've been trying to read everything we can, try to make sure that our values match, make sure that someone kept economics in balance, and that's what allowed me to represent sixty two first round draft picks and football on the very first pick in the draft eight different years and then a big basketball practice, baseball, hockey I did of boxing with Lennox Lewis, the heavyweight champ, and usher Dalia, the middleweight champ, and Olympic athletes like Brian Boy Donald, the skater, and Terry Shrug, the gymnast and the Athlete. An aggregate of raced close to a billion dollars for charities. That's amazing. That's incredible. Lee. What was the climate like with sports agents when you got into the business? Dude, we're athletes represented more by attorneys or they represent themselves or what was that like? Most of them represented themselves or they had their parents do it. There was no guaranteed right of representation. To someone like Mike Brown in those early years, if I call them to represent a player, he would say we don't deal with agents and slam the phone down. I think they still do that. So it really wasn't a well developed field. There wasn't even a right to represent a player and all that came later. So it's like the wild wall west and you had agents going to college campuses offering money in cars and all sorts of things to players and signing them and they were very little regulation. I mean today, someone who wants to represent a football player has to be certified by the National Football League Players Association, has to take a test, hast undergo a background screening. States have laws where agents have to register and the states of Florida, Alabama, North Carolina and Texas of all sent agents to jail. And then you have compliance on a college campus. So there were is large amount of regulation today which cleans up the field, but none of that existed back then. Yeah, I know it would have to be hard. David probably would have never played one year. To Leave my dad having...

...to negotiate my contract would have been so many f bombs that. He was an old mill guy from Pittsburgh. I don't think of the coach would have came to this both. ME, ever, raising the story. So I was negotiating with the raiders back in one thousand nine hundred and seventy six for their second round draft pick, a quarterback, jet blunt, and his father was a federal judge and he wanted to be part of the negotiation. So I said, you understand, this is your son. It might not be the best idea because teams going to say something that Denni great as talents and you're not going to be happy. Said, Oh, I I'm a federal judge, I can handle this. So the negotiator for the raiders was diminutive figure named now locus, how good guy, and at one point he started saying, well, there was a vote. Eight people wanted to draft the place kicker, Chris Bar only one wanted Jeff Blunt, and that was out Davis. And all of a sudden I could see the veins distending from Peppie blunts neck and he reaches over and starts strangling the negotiating for the raiders. Yeah, ever since then I've been really careful. Nott lathlete of their parents actually on the scene. That's a great story. You have my dad. He used to film our High School Football Games and my wife's father was my high school football coach, and so he said we're going to watch Saturday film and you know after Friday night we're going to watch the film. And he said let's turn to volume up and see what your dad was saying. The first the first word that comes out as the F bomb. He goes up. I don't think we're ever going to listen that again. But that that was just my dad that he's so very passionate. Gotya. I don't fathers forever. The the very first negotiation I did was Steeve Barkowski. I said, look, the team is going to say some things to defend their position, you know. So they might say that you're a little slow or you've got a bad back or you were just the best player available, but you are aren't really a verfect. And I said what do you want to hear from the negotiation? I said, Oh, I want to hear everything. So I told him what the team had said and he said get me rated, which is never something I did again. Right, got to the bottom line, like when did things really start rolling for you, though? You like you have Barkowski and then it was month. Did you slowly get momentum off of that, or so I really I next signed Dave Hampton, who was a pro bowl running back. But it became clear that the quarterback position and was by so far the most dominant position in football and that it had much higher name recognition, that it offered the opportunity for role modeling, endorsements, a much longer career, higher pay, that I started signing quarterbacks. So in the nineteen eighty three draft, I had Ken O'Brien and Tony Easton in the first round and I had signed Neil Lomax. Nineteen Seventy Eight I signed Warren Moon and he went up to Canada, and so I started aggregating Eric hipple and Scott Brunner in the whole series of quarterbacks. So things were very successful. I nineteen eighty one I had the fourth pick in the first round, who was Kenny Easley, who just went in the hall of fame. But in Nineteen Eighty four Warren Moon came back from Canada and he was the first free agent that was at the peak of his career at the critical quarterback position, and all the team had to do was sign them. They didn't have to give up anything, and so we organized a tour in three leagues were competing then, the USFL, the NFL and the CFL, and we took a big trip across the country, which was the tour, and visited Houston, where but Adams said you can have one of those oil wells if you sign here. We went out to New Orleans, from John Meecomb said you see that skyline, you can own it all, and then the Tampa where UK over house said you can have a whole floor on the Tampi Sphere, and Warren ended up signing the biggest contract in the history of football. That was followed about two weeks later by Steve Young, who was the object of a fight between the USFL and the NFL, signing the biggest contract in history of sports, which was for forty two million dollarge. Now that doesn't seem like a lot now, but that was made headlines. Was Dan...

Rather led the nightly news off with sports economics run amuck and it was on the front page of every paper in the country and all around the world. So the combination of those two really got things going. And then baseball. I had Carney Lanceford, who was the amercling batting champion, and we started sign baseball players and that practice threw to sixty one but in football at it's set off a trend. And then in nineteen eighty nine, five years later, I represented Troykman, who was the first overall pick in the draft, and then the next year Jeff George was the first overall pick and the next year Russell Marylyn was the overall first overall pick, and then he skipped the year and then in nineteen ninety three drew bled, so it was the first pick, and then in nineteen ninety four was Dan Wilkinson, in nineteen ninety five was could John a Carter, and at that point I'm representing half the starting quarterbacks in NFL and we have and I would say it was pretty dominant. Well, yeah, it's just an amazing story and to you probably just walked in a room. I mean I would if you would have came and visited me, I'm sure like it would have been. Surely, come on, let's go, let's go do this thing. But because you've worked so hard at it and you put so much effort in, because I my question is, when you have somebody like Warren Moon and Steve Young, how do you know where to start, because you have to do a lot of research on what that value should be, because it's going up every year. So back then there was no salary cap, so the question became whose reality was going to prevail. Could I paint a picture through statistics, through comparables, that would show the value of the quarterback or any other player, because, I mean we now have our ten player just went in the hall of fame over the weekend, Tony Gunzales, but I also have Derrick Thomas and Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith and Howie long and Kevin Green and and Kenny easily in the three quarterbacks we talked about. So it was all positions. Could you make a compelling argument? Could you get into the heart and mind of an owner or general manager and convince him that Aitman's deal was going to be the biggest contract of all time for a rookie? But you know what? This will demonstrate to the fans of Dallas that you're serious about bringing back winning football and whatever we negotiate and a couple of years will be passe because TV money will have have jumped one of the things. And so you have to make that compelling argument and you only have a general manager or an owner to listen. So I learned that publicly negotiating didn't make any sense and I went to owners and I said we're not doing this the right way because when we have acrimonia negotiations that paint of players greedy and a team as obstinate, we're just pushing fans away who can't relate to the money anyway. And if we have collective bargaining agreements that pit billionaires against millionaires and we have lockouts and hole levels were sabotaging our own sport. Are Real Competition in football is with Major League Baseball, the NBA walk this new world home box office and every other form of discretionary entertainment spending. So why don't we get together and build the brand? Let's blow out TV contracts, let's create stadia that have multiple and slary revenue screens. When the Internet came along, let's think about that. How about an NFL network? And I worked in harmony with owners to try to create a bigger pie, because I knew that the best way to handsomely compensate players was to make sure that there was enough money there. And the TV contract which you're started had two million dollars, is a share of the national TV CONTRAC. Every team then went to seventeen million and the owners thought the sky was falling and they better lock that contract down. But Rupert Murdoch walked up to me at Fox and said I'd like to bid on NFL football. We did a super bowl party at his Fox studio on the set of hello dollar. Anyway, they started bidding and then seventeen went to forty, went...

...to seventy, went to a hundred and miunts, two hundred million dollars. But the point is the only way I could convince someone that our perception of value was correct was to show him why it was in their interest. So, again, I emphasize it, listening is really critical, understanding the position you're putting the other person in and then knowing better than ever, Brag about the deal or to make the owner or the GM look bad, because the only thing I can tell you is that if you step your foot on someone's exposed neck, you'll be vulnerable at some point later. Right Lee. What's the biggest difference, in your opinion, between negotiating a baseball contract and a football contract? The systems are totally different. So in football, traditionally player will get a signing bonus, and this year they range from like twenty three, twenty four million dollars in the first round about five million dollars because the contracts have not been guaranteed. Now last year the top twenty two players in the first round got totally guaranteed contracts for skill and injury. So it's starting to spread. The rest of the players in the first round got three years totally guaranteed for Skilling, injury one not and at the top of the second round to plus two. But because baseball contracts were not guaranteed, neither were basketball contracts. The fight was over the total compensation. So baseball has a system where it's all age based. When a player gets drafted, comes in signs of contract. If he's a first round or he's going to get a little bit of bonus. But then the next three years, once they make the majors, a team can renew them for any figure that they want, as long as it's the minimum, and it's not till year four that they get salary arbitration. So the first six years of a player's career the team has all the power in baseball and that's why free agency operates the way it does. In football, the big fight was over the bonus and the length of the contract, but usually the contracts weren't guaranteed. So now we have a salary cap that's taken all of that away because we busted the salary cap in ninety three through let they minute to take away all bonuses, but led some made twenty million dollars in his first three years because because we did something called voidable years right when he got the big bonus, and then three years later he would become a free agent or, in walks some case, four years later. But at any rate, the point is that in football the team has all the leverage and when you see these players holding out of camp, the rules are stacked against them. So not that anybody's all that excited about the running backs holding out a camp. I mean nobody wants to get the running backs hit in preseason, in the games or in training camp anyway, right. So, yeah, if we're in camp they wouldn't be doing much. So, but the rules are all very heavily stacked against vetteran players who fold out on contracts. Free Agency produces players that are B plus a minus players. Generally. It doesn't produce the big superstars because they're either preemptively signed or they are franchised and the team holds that franchise. Right. So in free agency B plus players get a plus contracts because they have the benefit of competition, unlike basketball and baseball, where they really have competitive bidding and it results extraordinary contracts. Yeah, theyseballs created was at a four hundred and fifty million dollar contract this year. Yes, but I will tell you this, with Russell Wilson at thirty four million dollars a year and more contracts coming for the jerk goffs of the world. And I might have a client who someone wants to talk to before his contracts up, maybe in Patrick homes. But the quarterback position is now getting paid at a comparative level. It really is. Finally, you know, you know what. It's crazy, though. He's, as I was, considered a backup for most of my career and I still played in fifteen years, a hundred twenty games. And the...

DROPOFF, though, from starter to back up is so significant and I always felt like the teams didn't put enough into back up because for me I could go in and play and have no problem staying at the level, but a lot of teams that we see when backups come in the level drops off in the team has no chance. So what's happening now, I think, defies rationality. Back in the day, Steve Young backed Joe Montana. Imagine that is your roster right and we young made the fifth most amount of money of any player in the NFL as a echo, and you had at Washington J schrader and and Doug Williams, and you had at Minnesota rich rich cannon and Wade Wilson. So teams actually had high quality. In other word, August frock could would start for a lot of teams. Okay, so it was like having two starting quarterbacks. Now, because of a salary cab and the extraordinary amount of cap space that the quarterback contract takes up, it's a massive drop all and even more strange. And it's true at every position. So you lose your offensive tackle and you're not backed up by a minus or B plus tackle. Your might be backed up by an aging veteran or a young rookie making the minimum. So we have income inequality at the NFL level, with large number of players making the minimum to support the salaries for six or seven superstars. And what's even less rational to me is the fact that half the teams are only keeping two quarterbacks. So if it's the most critical position in a quarterback centric game, how is it possible that a team would not have a quality second quarterback, almost as good as a first one, to pilot the team? I mean it doesn't escape notice that having Nick foles at Philadelphia Save Them in two years and got them to the Super Bowl. So that's crazy. So imagine this quarterback one goes down and now you have quarterback to on the roster. Hopefully you have a quarterback on practice squad, but you may be out on the street looking for someone who hadn't even been in training him. That is not a safe way to play NFL football right now. I agree. I agree, all right. So, Leon a lighter note, obviously the movie Jerry McGuire came out and you know there's a lot of stuff and I haven't seen a lot of how you were involved in at the day. Talk to you a lot about that movie and get ideas about you know, your life and can we incorporate this into the movie? I've never gotten here anything about that with you. So in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three, the writer, Director Cameron Crow, called me up and asked if he could follow me and be immersed in the scene so that he could write a movie about a sports agent. And he really followed me for about a year and a half and he went to the one nine hundred ninety three draft where I had drew fletch who, as a client and flew up to the press conference with bill parcels. He went to a number of game with me, came to pro scouting day at USC went to Super Bowl parties with me. I took him out to the League meetings in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three where I had Tim McDonald, is free agent. I was showing off two people and introduced him to people, but I told him stories, lots and lots of stories. Right. So he went off and created a brilliant script and my job was sort of the bet the script to make sure that the willing suspension of disbelief that holds you an emotion picture. So the Sports Fan, you know that the look is right, the right dialogs and of phony. And then he assigned me some actors to put into roll. One of them was Cuba gooding Jr, who I took down to the Super Bowling Phoenix and one thousand nine hundred and ninety five or six and and made him pretend he was my wife client all week. So he had to get in roll and he hung out with Desmond Howard and and some of our other wide receivers. Actually had to show the quarterback in the film, Cush Malade by Jerry O'CONNELL had to throw a spiral because he had gone to Nyu and they didn't have football there. So you know, there's a lot...

...of life there up on the screen. It's obvious for not biographical, because it's not a very good movie for Jerry McGuire to start with the first pick in the traffic right. You know he's got to have you have to have uplift. But you know, I was on set for a lot of the time and and there's a lot of life up on that screen. I always agreed with Cameron that I would never reference what might have come from me or what did but and then every day since then, if I go to an airport or if I go out to dinner, inevitably someone's going to come up and say those four iconic words to me. Show me the money. So it's been sort of funny. Show me the money actually came from the League meetings that year. Tim McDonald was a free agent. Nobody had any rights to him, so I was showing them off to teams. So Cameron went upstairs and Tim's hotel room and loo jobs and money line on CNN was on the television and Cameron asked him, what is it you're looking for in this experience, and Tim said, well, I'm looking for someone to show me winning, because I've never had it. I'm looking for someone to show me respect and I'm looking for someone to show me the money. Wow, I know that. That's awesome. That's a great story. Thanks for sharing that. Well, you got to listen to your podcast, the finding things out. That's right, it's right. It's so lead. So you're going on in your life. You get into two thousands. Now you know all those guys you've talked about. They're considered old school now, right, and so you've had that adjustin transition and change with all these different types of athletes that are coming out. How have you stayed so current? So these guys know who you are? So I've spoken on eighty three college campuses. So I made a decision. I'd tried to mentor the next generation of young sports professionals and right now we have a agent academy that we do for your younger agents. That we've done about fifteen times, teaching them specific skills, how to recruit out of the negotiate, how to do a charitable foundation, damage control. We've have an online course and sports career conference next come up in Chicago next month, and but I went back to the campuses because I thought I'd share what I knew with with the massive amount of people trying to get into industry. So that was part of it. The second thing is I learned early back in the S. I created a company called athlete direct and it put athletes up on the Internet for the first time. You still had to reference AOL to get up onto the onto the Internet, and I signed Ken Grify, Junior, Michael Jordan and a whole series of and a whole series of football quarterbacks and for the first time they were online and for the first time you could read their weekly diaries, you could do a chat with them and I designed a knee commerce application. So part of it was in understanding that the new mode of communication was going to be the Internet and watching young people, because I had kids in my own who were reading news off the Internet, who were getting entertainment off the Internet, and then with the development of cell phones, that they were using that platform, ipad all sorts of and computers to communicate. So we got pretty active on that with with the website and and so on twitter and Linkedin. Like on Linkedin. I have seventy six thousand buddies friends. I made sure that that I understood what that next generation was was doing, and I also understood that if you watch, if if you multitask as a young person and your texting and snapchatting and tweeting and watching little bursts of color and sound, it is undercuts attention span. Right. So I had to learn how to get a pitch out much quicker. Yeah, the elevator pitch. Yeah, definitely right. So you just had the understand that you were dealing with a new generation of millennials and all...

...the rest it in help that. In two thousand and four I had my second best selling book, which was the agent, and I traveled across the country to campuses in different places to make sure that that, I hate, was connecting with that next generation. Now, also, for the today's athletes probably much more informed than they were, say, twenty five years ago, twenty years ago. So how does that play in terms of courting them initially as an agent during a negotiation process? They probably know a lot more than they did. Maybe in makes me eighty three, except history, except history. So so history began today for young people right and so you had to make sure that the cultural references became relevant right, that you knew that Ninja was playing fortnight on and and that a hundred, tenzero people were watching him play that video game. They weren't playing the video game, they were watching him playing video game, and he has the highest recognition of any athlete you know in the country. You had to understand that what young people were watching, what movies they were seeing, what they were listening to. So I made it policy to read six newspapers a day, a bunch of magazines, to sort of monitor television and music and stay up on what was happening. Then I'm not going to go do a soul shake or hang out at a bar with the young person. To right we have Chris Cabot and my son, Matt Steinberg. We have a whole group of people that can do that. But at least I had to make sure that I wasn't sitting on a bench with Miss Match Madras Shorts and black socks with my button up to the top, you know, a drool coming out of the side of my mouth. Probably have to ring out Barkowski's name when courting mahomes. You know that's leave that out of the conversation. The only relevant thing was that I know how to elevate a player to the top of the draft right. There's no doubt about that. So, LEA, you've been through all these transitions in your life. You've done to Zing job, you know, and you've talked about giving back now and doing things to help everybody else around you, and I think you're doing an amazing, amazing job of that. And just from people that want to be like you to the players that want to hire you, it's so amazing where you've come. What is something that you can tell our fans to give them an idea just how to stay relevant for so long and what you've done? So I think that, first of all, that you have to have a sense that one person can make a difference. My Dad used to say to me when you look for the Amorphous Day to fix a problem, when you think that other people are going to do it, politicians, older people, you could wait forever and he'd look at me and say that they is you, some you are the they. So it's a sense of responsibility and understanding what's happening in the world that I created a program to against bulling that took older athletes put them with high school athletes so that they would change the culture in the school because the athlete was on the top of the food chain. And if their preaching tolerance, it's. It's having Lenox Lewis cut of public service announcements and said Real men don't hit women to address a domestic violence. It's. It's using athletes to raise awareness about climate change. And then my own projects. We set up a project with Secretary of state man and all right, which is called adopt a mine field, and she and I announced it and this would allow d mining of mine fields around the world. Today I'm really concerned with the whole specter of concussion. So I just agreed to sit on a board of a group raising large amounts of money for Alzheimer's, Cte and dementia research, because I didn't think it was responsible to say that I had players best fiduciary responsibility in mind and send them down the road to dementia. So I've done fourteen concussion conferences trying to promote safer helmets, football with without blocking and tackling during training camp, nutraceuticals...

...and pharmaceuticals that can heal. So it's staying tuned to what's happening in the world and understanding that all of us can make a difference in our own way. For some people it's simply good parenting, but we all have the obligation and responsibility to try to feel suffering and and help people can't help themselves. Right to Dave lead as a hey has a panel over yere for his Super Bowl Party and I sat in that panel two years ago when it was in Minnesota and spoke about our APP Roberto, which you know you're part of, and really how it's so important to use it as a proactive totally. The Roberto APP is basically a way to measure and monitor your brain performance because, as you know, is as you can see and how healthy he is, he probably do really well on it, but it just it's so important to keep up on your numbers. So what Roberto does is gives you an idea of where you are and you got to stay within that normal range and you will have an example of Gust for rock and other people taking on a problem and coming up with interesting solution. That that really helps apples. That's what it's all about helps everyone, everyone and we're really excited to be a part of that. So, Lee, I really appreciate you coming on with us. One last thing we do before we go here. We do something called a no huddle and we fire a bunch of questions at you and answer him as quick as you want, but it's a lot of fun. We try to give you some questions. Maybe you haven't had before, but I doubt but we really appreciate the time. So, Dave, want you fire away in a no huddle. All right, Lee, in your opinion, what's the most overhyped thing in the sports today? The home run contrast contest in baseball well ruined our hitter, right Josh M all is. He's hitting about one hundred and fifty since he entered that so yeah, we're against that. So, Lee, what is one? You've had over three hundred athletes. Who was one athlete? You think back, it's a man I just wish I could have representative because I think I could have changed his life. Oh my goodness, why don't we start with Johnny Menzel? That's a good one and you know, work our way on. Of course, I have a long list of the people I didn't take as clients and course they've all gone on Dager major superstars. I wish that I had been involved with the iconic athletes of our time and gotten them to use their brand. Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan used their brand for international good ie. If you could go back in time and talk to a young Lee Lee Steinberg, what would you say to him? I would say beware of alcohol. Yeah, because when I had a crash from alcohol back ten years ago, I didn't understand the addictive quality of it and I hadn't been a big drinker. But go by you know, it caught a fast but you know what, you've done such a good job of thing. Look, this was a this is a bump in the road. You overcame it and you're back on top again. You know, I think that if we share, reason I've shared my own struggles is in the hope it helps somebody who's out there struggling and hopeless and give them some direction. Okay, lie if you were building a negotiator from scratch, what would their first quality be? A quiet mind, the ability to tune out ext stimulus, the ability to stay focused and stay in the moment and to elevate their level of discourse in negative or seemingly hopeless situations. So it's resilience, coming back over and over again, getting knocked back, but coming back over and over then so you don't want to reach across the table when the veins of popping out and starts strangling the guy you're negotiating with them, saying excellent timing to take a break solely. What's your biggest pet peeve? You got to have a big pet peep people looking at their phones, constantly knocking you over as you try to enter the gym, looking at that phone and not being aware of what is happening. Did Nuclear War just break out?...

Is Your father on his deathbed? What could be so critically important on that phone that it steals you away from being aware of your environment and interacting with other people? I share that with Lee. That's my number one you know. Yeah, you never have your phone on you. Yeah, I prefer to ever see whatever invented. Quite frankly, well, look at look at Rocky Blyer. Wouldn't we interview rocky? We said, how did you find out you were drafted? He said, all my friends told me. They saw it on TV. Yeah, I remember. I remember in one thousand nine hundred and eighty sitting with offensive tackle Brad Buddy and the only way we could follow it was by radio and then by the phone call he got. I mean, when you look at the draft today, which is a three ring circus, it's a mazing it is crazy. All right, did last one you have and the okay, what's the best innovation in sports in the last twenty years? High Definition TV and the fact that you can actually see everything clearly. When you go back and look at the old non httv you can hardly managed to focus. So every every development on television has football grew up with television and it's part of what's made it the nation's most dominant sport. What's your opinion on instant replay and where that's gone? I think it's horrible. I don't think we need it. We've always had referees and Umpires who use your own judgment. You can see on a baseball game that the UMPIRES not calling a strike a strike or he's calling the wrong thing. So here's what instant replay does the football it creates more dead time and it's separates the thrill of a player scoring a touchdown from your emotional reaction to it. So now you have to wait and see. Wasn't really a touchdown? Was It really a call? What was it really now, if you're at the stadium, all that's there is dead time. Nothing's happening, and if you're sitting at home, you're watching commercials or that ever compelling close up of the referee with his headphones on. Yeah, yeah, he's under the type. We don't need it. It's slows down football. It's a real threat to the millennial generation, who were going to have to keep in their seats anyway. And it's always been fun arguing about bad calls. And they don't get it right anyway, because there's no certainty other than if you extend the yard marker on the first and ten or on the goal line. There's no certainty anyway. So this is not science, this is not physics its it's a game played by people, and referees who missed a call would then come back and fans love arguing over MSS Paul. So it was part of the game. Oh, none bigger than in New Orleans last year. Right, all right, I mean, oh, yeah, but you have instant replay. How that help. I think a robotic strike zone will be a made there. It would just know, you can't do that. There's no way you could do that. I mean the strike to it is what it is. They everybody has a different day. Some days as TI tights and days out wider. I watched the doctor gang last night. You could see that the ball was a ball, but they called US strike, and so I don't know how the Umpires ever let that happen, because it shows is their fallibility every single day. Also, holding the tag on a like a runner slides into second and they hold the tag for three seconds in Casey stumbles heat that also it's another Oh, and then then you get to watch the ref the UMPIRES, you know, watch it seventeen times with different angles, and even with all those angles that's still not completely quit right. It just takes way too long. It takes way too long. Will Lee. I think we need. Yeah, no replay, but I think we would need another six hours to get through everything about Lee. But we really appreciate you sharing and taking the time with us.

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