If the walls of Mike Detillier’s Raceland home could talk, they would regale observers with countless tales of the sports icons whose jerseys, pictures and autographs adorn the walls of his “man cave.”
Fortunately for observers, Detillier, with his trademark bayou drawl, can speak for his walls with an impeccable penchant for storytelling and an impressive wealth of sports knowledge.
Known to many simply as “The Football Guy,” Detillier, 55, is one of the premier football analysts in the region, and has recently wrapped up his annual pre-NFL Draft guide, aptly titled Mike Detillier’s Draft Report, in advance of the NFL draft, which begins Thursday.
The 200-page publication rates more than 700 college football prospects and features in-depth profiles on over 350 players. The M&D Draft Report has become a spring staple for many rabid football fans around the world over the last 30 years, selling thousands of copies each year to places as far as Japan and Australia.
“My mom always says, ‘You could’ve done this when you were 10 or 11 years old,’ Detillier explained. “It’s always been something I had a great interest in.”
Detillier, who spends part of nearly every day evaluating football players on film, said the hardest part of assembling his annual draft guide is the editing.
“If I put out what I write, I’d have a 900-page book,” Detillier said. “I have to condense that to around 200 pages.”
A former fullback and linebacker at Central Lafourche High School, Detillier studied aquatic engineering at Louisiana Tech and Sacramento State before subsequently working for the state of Louisiana as an engineer.
One night in the early 1980s, Detillier received a phone call that would open the door to sports media. Detillier’s friend from high school was dating legendary WWL sportscaster Hap Glaudi’s daughter. “(My friend) told Hap, ‘You’ve got to get Mike Detillier on. I’m just telling you he knows more about sports than anybody, especially football,’” Detillier recalled.
After a 10-minute phone conversation, Glaudi invited Detillier to join him on his sports talk radio show the next day.
Glaudi, along with former Nicholls State men’s basketball coach and athletic director Don Landry, encouraged Detillier to publish his first draft report in 1985.
The inaugural issue was around 60 pages. Detillier said he “maybe sold 40 or 45” copies.
“It was a lot of work for that sort of deal,” Detillier said.
Detillier continued to gain exposure when he connected with New Orleans sports icon Buddy Diliberto, making regular appearances on Buddy D’s WWL radio show in the 1990s.
“I got taught the sports talk sports business by the two old men that had done it longer than anybody,” Detillier said.
The Raceland native’s profile reached another stratosphere when he arrived on the national sports radio scene in 1999.
Terry O’Neal, the former New Orleans Saints salary cap consultant under head coach Mike Ditka and longtime sports television executive, called up Detillier one day and asked him to fill in for him on ESPN Radio’s The V Show with Bob Valvano, a nationally syndicated program.
“(Terry) played a big part in opening that national door for me,” Detillier explained. “I was more of a regional guy.”
These days, Detillier is inundated with media requests, making nearly 25 radio show appearances a week. Leading up to the NFL Draft and in late summer before football season, that number usually swells to nearly 50.
Detillier, always the gregarious bayou social butterfly, rarely turns down an interview request, working with the radio host or booker to find something that works for both parties’ schedules.
It also helps that he can field questions from his bedroom.
On a typical day, Detillier nearly always conducts a radio interview from his bed. Following breakfast, he hops on various radio shows around the country before settling in to watch film on draft prospects or catch up on writing articles for various football publications, until the afternoon, when the daily sports radio circus ramps up again.
“I’ve been doing it for so long that I’m kind of almost routine with it,” Detillier said.
Detillier, who retired from engineering in July of 2015, said his initial profession helped hone his hobby-turned-profession of football analyst.
“When you have a (engineering) job there is process you go through to come up with that final product,” Detillier said. “It’s the same way if you’re looking at a player. Every job is different, just like every player is different.”
With the 2016 M&D Draft Report already at the printers in early April, Detillier proudly shows off his remarkable collection of sports memorabilia, which includes vintage copies of Sports Illustrated, framed Anthony Davis and Peyton Manning jerseys, autographed Muhammad Ali boxing gloves and much more.
Detillier even remembers receiving his first copy of Sports Illustrated in 1968.
“It was a skier, Jean-Claude Killy, he was going into the Olympics. I remember it vivid at that point,” Detillier said.
Even though the 2016 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 28, Detillier is already preparing for the next iteration of the M&D Draft Report.
“I got a pretty good start on 2017 already,” Detillier said.
Draftniks across the nation can’t wait.
- Check out Detillier's first round draft predictions.