TRO Update — 21st March, 2024

A quick update for those who have not seen the podcast posts: The Read Optional is back (in a reduced format) through the NFL Draft.

Jon Ledyard and I continue to prattle away on the Home & Home podcast, bringing (we hope) as in-depth, scheme-nerdy-based analysis as you can find anywhere. We do the podcast once (or twice) a week. And we’ll be churning out a bunch in the run-up to the draft.

You can find the latest two podcasts here and here breaking down the wide receiver class.

The pod has to go behind a paywall here on TRO to preserve Jon’s output on his own Substack. That means that I’ve had to re-open a paid portion of this dormant newsletter. For the time being, I’ll have minimal time to write given the constraints of my current job. 

I have set the rate to the minimum rate Substack allows– $5 a month up until the Draft. And from there I’ll decide on pausing again.

That means:

  • Those who were previously paid subscribers will be charged again at the reduced rate. I’m reliably informed by Substack that you’re able to refund that initial restart charge based on the terms of the deal changing if you do not want the podcast.

  • This is just to be able to post the podcast while not cannibalizing Jon’s Substack

  • I will write a couple of pieces leading into the draft, but it will be minimal (I know, I know — trust me: no one wants to write about the latest developments in scheme-ness more than me)

  • This post will be pinned to the ‘About’ page until there’s an update in case this escapes anyone’s email and they see a charge on their account.

That means it’s $5 a month for the Home & Home Podcast – and a couple of other shows – in the run-up to the draft. If anyone has issues on the financial side or is disappointed by that, I understand. Reach out to me. 

Hopefully, The Read Optional will return in its full writing-led glory in the run-up to the season – and I’ll let you know when I have more information on that. 


(Hey, how about ‘The Dynasty’ shitting all over Bill Belichick?!?!?)

What is The Read Optional?

The Read Optional is an NFL newsletter, podcast & community produced by experienced writer and scout Oliver Connolly.

After a couple of years away, The Read Optional is back! No more scrolling through endless articles; the very best analysis will be delivered right into your inbox.

If you’re interested in all things football – the X’s & O’s, evaluating players, the salary cap implications of signings and trades, the relationship between the NFL and the college game, and everything in between – then The Read Optional is for you.

Who is this newsletter for? And why should you subscribe? 

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If you want coverage of one specific team, this newsletter is not for you.

If you want in-depth analysis of the league’s biggest storylines, then this newsletter is for you.

If you’re interested in schematic trends, if you’re wondering what the Packers are up to with their tilt front, how the Patriots’ double-motion works, why a play run by UCF on Saturday could help Trey Lance and the Niners on Sunday, then this newsletter is for you.

If you want to be part of a football community. If you want to laugh at Nick Sirianni’s Nick Sirianni-ness while debating where your team’s top pass-rusher ranks among the league’s best, then this newsletter is for you.

If you want…

  • To know whether or not Josh Allen’s game is evolving or if Lamar Jackson’s contract makes long-term sense

  • To keep up to date with the little details that could you an edge in your fantasy league or office pool

  • To keep tabs on which of the top college prospects will make an impact in the NFL

  • To learn more about the past, the present, and the future of the league

  • To support independent writing that prioritizes what’s best for the reader and not the best click-generator

...then this newsletter is for you.  

As a member of The Read Optional, you’ll be part of a passionate community that loves football and is as interested in its intricacies as you.

Why pay $7 per month or $70 per year to access the content?

For one, to support a writer in an industry where it has become increasingly rare to have the freedom to create beyond sensationalism. There are no ads or sponsorship deals. Just informative, creative, interesting football stuff.

Mainly: the fee is about allowing us to produce the content that you want. It also gives you membership to a community of people that are just like you: People that live and breathe the nuances of football and want to meet others who feel the same.

🇺🇸 What will I get?

🏈 Weekly content, including the return of the weekly columns “The Read Optional” (analysis of the weekend’s games) and the “Film Room Five” (five takeaways from a week of studying tape).

🏈 High-quality storytelling and analysis through long-form written features, covering the past, present, and future of the game. 

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Sport & Culture writer. Currently: The Guardian / Free agent for hire. Previously: NFL/CFB Scout, recruiting analyst, X's & O's writer/nerd