Barstool founder Dave Portnoy and retired NFL player Pat McAfee are not the first two names one might expect to hear together. But they go back several years. As McAfee makes his name on YouTube, Portnoy credited himself with raising the retired punter’s status in his post-playing days. The result was a fascinating talk about how the two got to where they are.
Dave Portnoy’s and Pat McAfee’s beginnings
Portnoy didn’t always set out to be a media executive. He went to school with a degree in education before finding work at a Boston market research firm. There, he started a print publication called Barstool Sports. A far cry from the edgy brand they have to do, the paper was initially focused on fantasy sports, gambling, and some coverage of the current events.
Over the years, however, the brand moved online. Now, the mercurial Portnoy and his company pride themselves as being a different type of media company. Despite non-stop accusations of bigotry, misogyny, and other toxic practices, the paper has become a cash cow for Portnoy and his followers. Barstool has gone from Boston staple to the international internet community. Its brand has spawned several big names in media, too.
McAfee spent eight years in the NFL as a punter. While punters never get the love and respect of quarterbacks, the seventh-round pick out of West Virginia had a memorable career. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro. In 2016, however, McAfee found himself in hot water after posting a picture from the team’s practice facility.
The ensuing blow-up caused McAfee to bypass $6 million and retire early. Once he retired, he dipped his toes into the media waters thanks to an opportunity from Portnoy.
McAfee and Portnoy collaborate
McAfee always had a reputation for his outspoken personality. This made his pivot to media a natural for the Barstool brand. He became a staple on Barstool’s podcasts and video content thanks to this shared brand. For two years, reports MSN, McAfee was one of the company’s most prominent names behind Portnoy, but in 2018, something changed.
In August, McAfee posted a tweet explaining why he was stepping away from Barstool to bring his talents elsewhere. In the tweet, he explained that while Portnoy was not at fault, other people in the company were exploiting him and others financially, and he wanted to be free from what he believed to be shady practices.
For a company that gets by on controversy, McAfee’s departure was rather uneventful. Now, he’s popular on YouTube and is being presented with ample opportunities elsewhere.
Knowing your roots
McAfee has made himself a bigger name than most punters could dream of. While the NFL is a cash cow for its biggest players, punters can struggle to make a lot of money. Despite this, McAfee is doing well. He is currently worth $8 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. That may be a far cry from Portnoy’s $118 million, but the pair recently spoke about how the founder helped the retired punter get to where he is.
Now, McAfee has had other opportunities to shine. On top of his wildly successful YouTube show, reports Sports Illustrated, he has worked several football games at both the college and NFL ranks as a color commentator. He recently signed a lucrative but undisclosed deal with FanDuel, reports Gambling.com, which will allow him to reach a broader audience.
Portnoy chimed in upon hearing the news, saying he taught the punter how to gamble and lost a lot of money because of it. “I’d be a lot richer and @PatMcAfeeShow would be alot poorer if I didn’t teach him how to bet on sports a couple years ago,” Portnoy tweeted. “I feel like I deserve 9 of those bags for increasing my limits and then having him bail on me.”
McAfee acknowledged that his departure could’ve been handled better in the replies. The two appear to be amicable, however, and despite going their separate ways, they can thank each other for the impact that they had on one another’s lives.