Father's Day Collection | T-Shirts, Hats, Polos, Crewnecks, Q-Zips and MoreSHOP NOW

Advertisement

Year 10 Has Officially Died

It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that Year 10 passed away late last night.

It’s been a hell of a ride. 

Simply put—the NFL doesn’t want to see me sign with the Falcons and knock Tom Brady out of the playoffs on January 8. Sadly, this is just another example of the NFL protecting their Golden Boy. First it was the “Tuck Rule” back in the early 2000s. Now it’s Year 10.

The final phone call felt like an ultimatum. To play football, I would have to separate myself from everything off of the field.

The NFL league office wanted documents that I am not at liberty to share on my own. Those documents had zero to do with being eligible to play.

You might be wondering, “but Will, I thought you were in Atlanta about to sign??” I was. The Falcons were ready. I was ready. The city was ready. 

The elephant in the room was how I had a gambling show going on that was making people shit loads of money. Playoff Willy became Payoff Willy and I was dishing out winners every fucking weekend. 

Advertisement

From the beginning, I knew that Year 10 would be a long shot. I didn’t care to play and I wanted to lean into everything we have going on with Bussin’ With The Boys. The focus would be on my transition, extending our contract with Barstool Sports, and standing up the gambling show, “Bet The Bus.”

My thought was—there’s no way a team would call after seeing all of the things I had been doing in the content space: case races, gambling, tailgating every weekend - all in the public eye and living on social media. There would be no way. 

Then it became, “what if a team does call, though?” 

My response would always be something along the lines of not wanting to play until the end of the year, and if a team really did call then it would be awesome to make it all happen. Because why not?

You only get to play this game for so long and I never want to take getting an opportunity for granted… even if I didn’t care either way to play.

That opportunity came knocking in Spooktober (October) when the Falcons called offering me a workout. They needed a mercenary. A vibes guy. A locker room specialist. Year 10 was coming alive for real. 

From that moment we vlogged as much as we could that you can watch here:

Assuming you watched, one caveat that we left out of the vlog was the conversation we had after the workout. Coach Smith sat me down, talked about how well the workout went, and how I basically checked every box physically. (See below)

Advertisement

The next question presented to me: “when would you want to sign if you had it your way? Perfect world.”

He was probably wondering how much time I would need to get closer to game-shape, but I went a different route. I told him that if he came and got me after the Bussin’ Bowl on November 12, when Nebraska played Michigan, then that would be ideal for me. I would be able to carry out our deliverables for Bojangles (no free shoutouts) to ensure we get paid for our Tailgate Tour with Bussin’, I’d continue to get in shape, and it would allow me to make sure I tied up any loose ends with gambling and Barstool.

He was into it. He checked the calendar, saw that they had a Thursday night game, and said they’d look to come get me shortly after that.

What kind of world was I living in? What the fuck just happened? Did I really say, “hey come get me after a few more tailgates so we can get paid”? It was all working out brilliantly.

Until it wasn’t.

The enemy finally started to identify itself. 

Fast forward to the day I was up in the offices of the Atlanta Falcons. We had everything ready to go. Year 10 was a lock. The haters had to take a personal day because I was accomplishing the unthinkable. 

The last thing we had left to do was to turn in the documents we had drawn up, get the NFL’s approval, and I would be back on the Pro Bowl ballot once again. 

But the enemy had other plans. 

There was someone on the inside running a coup d’état on Year 10. The league office was now compromised. I knew I had haters on the internet but I had no idea it was of this magnitude.

The NFL came back saying the paperwork was nowhere close and that I needed to:

  • Terminate my contract with Barstool Sports (short sighted reaction)
  • Divest my stock options (fair)
  • Delete all historic content from the internet pertaining to sports gambling (dumb as shit but whatever)
  • Agree, along with Barstool, with NFL’s terms to comply

I completely understand making sure I am not collecting compensation when I play, having interest (stock) in a Sportsbook, and actively gambling on NFL games. I know the rules. I know the NFL’s core values: respect, integrity, resiliency. They would never do such a thing to exploit their players to promote gambling or collect compensation through big partnerships, so how could I?

Fortunately, Barstool was completely in favor of Year 10. They were willing redo the contract, amend anything in violation, and bend any direction in support of me playing. Whatever we had to do. 

Without boring you with the last few weeks of white suit conversations, I will just say we hit a dead end on every road we went down.

I thought the NFLPA would want to get involved and stand on the table for me but they, too, were compromised. What started off a half-assed effort on their part ended up being more of a legal counsel session than anything. 

The theme of every conversation I had could be summed up as, “we feel good about XYZ but can’t say without a doubt that XYZ won’t happen.” 

The enemy was working diligently. They had time on their side. I didn’t. 

After talking it over with everyone, we felt great about moving forward and we sent over a document that would:

  • Terminate my individual contract with Barstool
  • Divest my stock options with Penn
  • Delete all gambling content off of the internet (YouTube, personal, and Bussin’ social channels)

You might be asking, why go to all of these lengths just to play a few weeks?

Playing would benefit everything I’m doing. It would feed Bussin’, generate more content, and scratch my itch to run down on the punt team with superior lane discipline. Not to mention an extra year of pension, NFL benefits, and a few more game checks wouldn’t hurt either. You might not understand it all but not everyone can play 5D chess.

But like I said in the beginning, it was never actually about my gambling. It was about protecting #12 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

A smoke bomb was thrown. 

The enemy moved the goal post - the final move that would bring me to my knees. They wanted a document that I didn’t have the power to share on my own. 

Even then, the option to play wasn’t completely off of the table. But I would now have to look at removing myself from everything just to do it. From Bussin’, Barstool; basically do nothing except play ball. I’ve gotten to that point in the movie “300” where Leonidas is standing in front of Xerxes willing to negotiate and is ultimately asked to bend the knee. 

Advertisement

And I will not bend the knee. 

Year 10 lived a good life. I know the enemy wishes it would've been my talent that kept me out but they should be proud that they found a new way to win. They can celebrate knowing that they kept me off the field. That they kept me out of Canton, OH.

The deck may have been stacked against me, but make no mistake, I am always the dealer.