Brandon Marshall had one of the greatest seasons in Jets history in 2015. The trade to get him in which the Jets gave Chicago only a fifth round pick looks like one of the great steals in recent NFL history. Marshall was a difference-maker in every sense of the word for the team with 109 catches, 1,502 yards, and 14 touchdowns.
Brandon also has become a media personality though his work on Showtime's Inside the NFL. He will be part of CBS' Super Bowl coverage this Sunday. On top of that, he is serving as Audience Sports' social media host this week. The Audience Network is available on DirecTV and AT&T Universe and is the TV home of The Rich Eisen Show, The Dan Patrick Show, and a new sports talk show hosted by Joe Buck. You can follow Brandon's work over the week by checking out Audience Sports' Twitter and Instagram handles.
Brandon was kind enough to speak with me for a few minutes yesterday to talk about various topics of his life on the field, off the field, and in front of a camera. My conversation with Brandon is transcribed below.
John B: What are you up to this week?
Brandon Marshall: I teamed up with AT&T's Audience Sports. I'll be taking over all of their social platforms from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook. It's awesome for me because I think everybody knows I'm trying to get into this space. It's another opportunity to interview celebrities and athletes and work with that aspect of the business and partner with somebody doing it at a high level. Look at who they have on the sports side with Joe Buck and Undeniable. You have Rich Eisen and The Dan Patrick Show. I get an opportunity not only to shadow those guys this week, but I also get to piggyback off of their interviews and get those guys when they are coming off the set. Then we have some cool things where we get to walk around the parties with all access. There is something about a mic and a camera. You walk up to the door. They see these cameras, and they think I'm somebody so they open their doors and let us run around. The thing I'm really looking forward to is the DirecTV party Saturday. I'm going to try and get behind stage at the stars' green room. I'm excited to partner with them not only for the obvious reasons because when you partner with somebody as big as AT&T and DirecTV's Audience Sports, everybody just opens up their door, but I also get a chance to learn.
JB: What are some of the challenges working in the media both here and during the season since you are trying to be an honest analyst, but at the same time you're sometimes talking about teammates, friends, and opponents?
BM: In this setting there's no challenge. The challenge comes when it's in season. You never want to be a distraction to your team. I can't talk about what happened to Geno Smith in the locker room to the extent the guys want me to. I can't talk about insider things like game plans. You have to be careful. I believe you should speak what is on your mind, but you have to be careful through the week not to give the other team bulletin board material. I don't know necessarily whether I really believe in that, but because everybody else in the organization believes in it, I have to buy into it because I'd become a distraction otherwise. But I'd rather be the guy saying what is on my mind. If the DB is garbage, I want to say the DB is garbage. If I think we're going to win the game, I want to say I think we're going to win the game. This is sports. This is entertainment. It's all fun, but you have to be careful. That's the game that is off the field. There is a business. There is politics. You have to navigate through it the best way. In this setting it's awesome to meet some of these guys. I think tomorrow on my sheet I have JJ Watt, Joe Montana, and Antonio Brown, probably the best receiver in the league right now. Those are some very powerful interviews that I'll have. I just want to talk to those guys about things other than football. I want to see what their interests are. Do they want to get into broadcasting? Do they want to paint? Do they want to open companies? I'm looking forward to it.
JB: As the team went on its five game winning streak, Ryan Fitzpatrick alluded to the team simplifying things on offense. Could you elaborate on what he meant?
BM: We were pressing. We were going out there and instead of sticking to our gameplan, running the ball, simple stuff, textbook things in the passing game, running 15 yard comebacks, the slant route, things that were there...we were trying to win the Super Bowl in one play, and you can't do that. You have to take it one play at a time, one game at a time. Once we got back to that where we settled down, we started stringing wins together. Unfortunately we didn't finish at the end, but I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of our coaches. I'm proud of our organization. I'm proud of our fans who supported us and didn't kill us after we lost that big game against Buffalo. It was fun this year and something we can build on for next year. I think we do have some momentum. We'll have the core guys coming back hopefully. It should be fun.
JB: You have become an advocate for awareness of mental health issues. Could you share some of your journey that got you to become such an active spokesman for the cause?
BM: I think a lot of people know by now that I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I spent three months in an outpatient program at McLean Hospital. There I learned so much about myself. I learned so much about how the brain works. I was involved in group therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, self-assessment. I still use those things in sports and life to navigate through life's stresses. It's good. I'm able to take some of those skills and tools that I've learned and pass them down to younger guys and even older guys...players, coaches, executives, personalities, I'm excited to be a conduit to bridging the gap in the mental health community. I just want to continue. The number one thing we have to do is galvanize the community because where we are at today is where the cancer and HIV communities were. The second thing is we want to do real work. We want to do preventative work. We want to intervene early. We want to put on site behavioral health care services in schools. We teamed up with the Child Mind Institute. There are some things way over my head, but we have scientists on our board. One of the things we're trying to do is find biomarkers to identify it early. We're giving away 10,000 free screenings in the New York/New Jersey area. The goal is to try and eradicate the stigma.
JB: I'd like to talk about your experience with Todd Bowles.
BM: Coach Bowles reminds me of a mix between Bill Parcells and Lovie Smith. When a lot of people think about Bill Parcells, they think about how hard he was, but there's also the aspect of him where he's really chill and calm. I love that about him. I think the guys love that about him because there is a trickle down effect. When the leader is calm and cool. You need that to win ballgames. You have to keep your hand steady. You can't hang from the rafters when you win, and you can't hang your head when you lose.
JB: What is your offseason routine to prepare for the next season?
BM: For the past nine years, I have always started the Monday after the Super Bowl. Now that I'm a little older, I'm going to take a little more time to get away from it. I'm going to reflect and rejuvenate. When you get older, you have to start earlier. Your muscles start shutting down and deactivating so I do what I call regular folk workouts. I'll go into an LA Fitness instead of my gym. Instead of doing football workouts, flipping tires and running on treadmills, I just want to go in and lift to keep my body healthy and strong. Come March or April, I'll start picking it up a little bit more, but this offseason for me is more about the mental and just getting away from the game. I've been at it a long time. I've been playing since I was six years old. I just want to refresh a little bit so that I can be available mentally for a Super Bowl run next year.
JB: How did you find out about the trade last year, and what was your initial reaction?
BM: We were part of the process the whole time so we had an opportunity to almost pick where we wanted to go. We put our options on the table. New York was a scary one because of the outside perception and how the New York media drives their narrative. But when I talked to Coach Bowles, he put all that to bed and made me feel comfortable and safe. It just felt right.
JB: So it would be fair to say Coach Bowles was one of the driving forces behind your decision?
BM: He was number one and pretty much the only force.
JB: Who is the toughest cornerback you have faced (with the caveat you can't say Darrelle Revis in practice)?
BM: Well, Revis IS the toughest. He's the best. I'm a Brent Grimes fan. He had a tough year this year, but he's still one of the best cornerbacks in the league to me. There are some younger guys coming up. Patrick Peterson is pretty good.
JB: What about Grimes' game makes him a tough matchup?
BM: He's just smart, fiesty, and has a lot of athletic ability.
JB: Who would you say are the leaders of the team in the locker room?
BM: I don't like to get into that discussion. I think we have a lot of leaders, both coaches and players. You guys know who they are.
JB: Have you spoken with Ryan Fitzpatrick since the season ended about his contract or anything else?
BM: Every day. We talk a lot, but we don't talk about contracts. We talk about brother stuff, player stuff, teammate stuff, family stuff.
JB: So you could say you guys have developed a real bond over the last year?
BM: The cool thing is it's not just me. It's with Eric Decker, our third, fourth, fifth, sixth receivers...our scout team offensive line. This guy is really good at bringing everybody together. I think that's why we turned it around. He's really the glue behind all of that.
JB: Is there one moment that sticks out on the field, in the locker room, or in practice that galvanized the team on the way to the late season five game winning streak?
BM: The Houston game. It was where we were really hit hard with adversity. We sat down. Coach said what he said. We had a meeting. He basically said, "Get it right, or I will."
JB: What is your Super Bowl pick?
BM: I picked Denver on Inside the NFL a couple of weeks ago, and I'll stick with that.