Joel Buchsbaum was a sportswriter who worked for Pro Football Weekly from 1979 until his death in 2002. He was widely regarded as one of the first and best draft experts in the media, who had an encyclopedic knowledge of college football players and NFL prospects. He was also a reclusive and eccentric figure, who lived and worked in a cluttered apartment in Brooklyn, rarely leaving his home or meeting anyone in person. His death at the age of 48 was a shock and a loss for the football world, and the cause of his death remains unclear.
Buchsbaum’s Passion and Talent for Scouting
Buchsbaum was born in 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in a Jewish family, and his father was a lawyer and his mother was a teacher. He was a fan of the New York Giants and the Baltimore Orioles, and he loved sports and statistics. He graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in political science, but he never pursued a career in politics. Instead, he devoted his life to his passion: scouting football players.
Buchsbaum started writing scouting reports as a hobby in the mid-1970s, using his own system of grading and evaluating players. He sent his reports to various publications, hoping to get published. He caught the attention of Arthur Arkush, the publisher of Pro Football Weekly, who hired him as a contributing editor in 1979. Buchsbaum became the NFL editor of the magazine, and was responsible for producing the annual draft guide and the weekly scouting notebook. He also wrote columns and features for the magazine, and appeared as a guest commentator on radio shows across the country.
Buchsbaum was known for his meticulous and detailed research, which involved watching hundreds of tapes, reading reports, talking to coaches and scouts, and compiling his own database of information. He had a remarkable memory and could recall facts and figures about any player, even obscure ones. He was also known for his honest and blunt opinions, which sometimes contradicted the conventional wisdom or the hype. He was not afraid to praise or criticize players, teams, or coaches, based on his own analysis and judgment.
Buchsbaum was respected and admired by many in the football industry, including coaches, executives, scouts, agents, and journalists. He was also sought after by fans, who wanted to hear his insights and predictions about the draft and the NFL. He was considered one of the pioneers and authorities of the draft media, and influenced many others who followed his footsteps.
Buchsbaum’s Reclusive and Eccentric Lifestyle
Despite his fame and popularity, Buchsbaum was a very private and isolated person, who rarely left his home or met anyone face to face. He lived and worked in a small, messy, and dusty apartment in Brooklyn, which was filled with books, magazines, newspapers, tapes, reports, and memorabilia. He had a dog named Brooks, after his favorite baseball player, Brooks Robinson. He also had a list of allergies and health problems, which limited his diet and activities.
Buchsbaum was not interested in socializing or traveling, and preferred to communicate by phone or mail. He had a few close friends and relatives, but he kept most people at a distance. He was not married and had no children. He was not motivated by money or fame, and he did not care about his appearance or his living conditions. He was solely focused on his work and his passion, which consumed his life.
Buchsbaum was also a very eccentric and quirky character, who had his own habits and routines. He had a distinctive voice and accent, which some described as shrill, nasal, and Brooklynese. He often started his sentences with “OK” or “Alright”, and used phrases like “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” to describe players. He was impatient and irritable with callers who asked him stupid or repetitive questions, and he would sometimes hang up on them. He was also very superstitious and paranoid, and he believed in numerology and astrology. He would often wear the same clothes or use the same pen for days, if he thought they brought him luck. He also feared that someone would steal his information or sabotage his work, and he would hide his reports or lock his door.
Buchsbaum’s Sudden and Mysterious Death
Buchsbaum died on December 29, 2002, in his apartment in Brooklyn. He was found by his mother’s nurse, who came to walk his dog. He was lying on the floor, and paramedics were unable to revive him. The cause of death was ruled as natural causes, but the exact details were never revealed. His mother said that his heart just gave out, and that he had been feeling sick for a while. He was 48 years old.
Buchsbaum’s death was a shock and a tragedy for his family, friends, fans, and colleagues. He was widely mourned and remembered as one of the greatest and most influential sportswriters of his generation. He was also honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which awarded him the Dick McCann Memorial Award in 2003, for his long and distinguished contribution to pro football through his coverage and analysis.
Buchsbaum’s legacy lives on through his writings and recordings, which showcase his unparalleled knowledge and passion for football and scouting. He also inspired and influenced many other draft experts and media personalities, who continue to follow his example and honor his memory. He was a unique and unforgettable figure, who left a lasting mark on the history and culture of the NFL draft.