Posts Tagged ‘green bay packers’

Ultimate Minnesota Sports Fan Experience — Sunday, October 23

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011


Courtesy of MLB.com

Event Details

What: A package featuring a one-hour meet-and-greet with Jack Morris and an upper level ticket to the Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings game.

Where: The meet-and-greet will be held at Kieran’s Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Contact information, including the address and an area map can be found here.

When: Sunday, October 23. The meet-and-greet will be held from 12 noon CT until 1 PM CT. The NFL game kicks off at 3:15 PM CT.

How: Purchase a combo pack, including access to the Jack Morris meet-and-greet AND a ticket to the Packers at Vikings game for $100.


You can also purchase access to the Jack Morris meet-and-greet without an NFL game ticket for $35.


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Jared Cooper at (646) 397-5350 or via email at Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com.

Note: ALL SALES ARE FINAL. Please review our Terms & Conditions.

* We will have a photographer on hand, but please bring your own camera to ensure your personalized photos with Jack are taken.

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Lambeau Field and Cowboys Stadium: Where Future NFLers Desire to Play

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011


With the NFL Draft on April 28-30 fast approaching, 256 former college players will realize their lifelong dream of being an NFL draft pick. They have envisioned stepping out on to the NFL field countless times from grade school through college. But when they have those thoughts and visions, what field do they see themselves stepping out onto?

I spoke with a few dozen pro prospects at the 2011 NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February to ask them not which team they would most like to play for, but which stadium they would be most excited to play in. Granted this is a small sample size, but the answers were pretty overwhelming. The top-two most popular answers show a bridge between respect for the NFL’s history, and awe of the modernity of NFL venues. These players are between 20-22 years old in most cases, so it is striking that the most popular answer was Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. Lambeau opened in 1957, making the stadium older than many of these players’ parents, and while the Packers are the Super Bowl champs, they played three road games on their way to the title, meaning there weren’t the provocative images of cold, hard playoff football in Green Bay fresh in these players’ minds.

Photo courtesy of Packers.com

So what makes Lambeau, plopped in the middle of the smallest market in the NFL, so appealing?

Tennessee Volunteers tight end Luke Stocker credits Lambeau’s appeal to “all of the history that is there and Coach Lombardi and all of the trophies under him.” Stocker goes on to say “Green Bay has a tremendous amount of history in the NFL and a tremendous legacy, so getting to play in Lambeau Field would be very special.”

All-purpose All-SEC first-team selection Randall Cobb from Kentucky echoes the same sentiment as Stocker, saying, “It would be great to play at Lambeau Field. It is just a historic field and so much has gone on there. So many great players have played on the field and great coaches have been there. It would be a great opportunity to play in that stadium.”

History, as perfectly captured by NFL Films’ evocative footage, plays a large role in shaping the opinions of where these players want to play. This is something Maryland WR Torrey Smith alluded to when also naming Lambeau the place he’s always wanted to play in. For some people however, their reasons are more personal. Oregon LB Casey Matthews, brother of Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews attended the Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens Monday night game during Clay’s rookie year in 2009 and said it was “pretty cool to see…how the town took him in and what he is to that town.” He is also looking forward to playing at Lambeau, but when asked if he would prefer it be against or with his brother, he laughed and said, “either way.”

Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram from Alabama wasn’t as definitive, saying, “I want to play in all of them. All 32 of them.” He then narrowed it down to two answers, which happened to include Lambeau Field and the other most popular choice. “You always hear about Lambeau Field and the Cowboys’ new stadium, so it would be fun to play there,” says Ingram.

Players who most want to play at Cowboys Stadium offered a different reason than those interested in Lambeau, most notably the huge video board and the positive reaction the stadium garnered when it opened, as well as leading up to the Super Bowl. In the case of LSU WR Terrence Toliver, he played at Cowboys Stadium during the Cotton Bowl and loved every minute of it. He wants to play there again saying, “I thought it was the best stadium ever.”

Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure has also been to Cowboys Stadium, not as a player, but as a spectator. Leshoure was at Super Bowl XLV and was impressed with the video board as he attended his first-ever NFL game. The video board and the stadium itself do hold special meaning to one player in particular, Alabama QB Greg McElroy. When asked his preference he answered, “Cowboys Stadium. Without a doubt. It is not even close. My dad (Cowboys Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, Greg McElroy, Sr.) helped build it.” McElroy is also a local kid from Southlake Carroll, not far from where Florida St. QB Christian Ponder went to high school at Colleyville Heritage. Ponder would like to play in Cowboys Stadium because “I grew up outside of Dallas, five minutes from the stadium. I haven’t been to the new stadium yet so I think it would be a great experience.”

It is not just Lambeau Field and Cowboys Stadium that future NFL players want to play in. Several of the players I spoke to mentioned stadiums that had special meaning to them because of their childhood or family fanhood. Additionally, it has become more common for neutral-site NFL games to take place at NFL stadiums, exposing some of these players to these venues prior to their NFL career.

Below are some quotes from players who mentioned stadiums other than Lambeau and Cowboys Stadium:

Penn State RB Evan Royster: I played in FedExField this year against Indiana. It is different. It is more colorful and more out there. It was cool. It is definitely going to be a little bit of a different atmosphere.

Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward: I went mostly to the Falcons and Saints (with my father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward) as a kid. My dad would always take me to the locker room after the games and I enjoyed the process because it was time for me to bond with my dad and meet some of his friends.  I want to go to all of them. It is a great opportunity and you get to play against some great talent. Every team in the NFL has some great talent. I just don’t have any loyalties. My dad was always moving around so I never got to say “that is my team.” My grandparents loved the Pittsburgh Steelers because they live there and they would die if I went there. I don’t really have any loyalties but I think it would be a fun opportunity to get to say I played in the NFL.

Virginia Tech RB Darren Evans: I played sparingly (at FedExField against Boise State) but it was an amazing atmosphere. It was a really good game but we couldn’t come out with a win. I have heard the Chiefs stadium (Arrowhead Stadium) is pretty loud and crazy. That would be pretty cool to play there.

Photo courtesy of AP Images

Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson: Reliant Stadium (pictured right) hasn’t been around long, but I would love to play for the Texans. I am from Houston and it would be a great team to play for. I hope I can join a good organization that has confidence in me and wants to see me succeed. I think I can be a great addition to any team in whatever city I go to.

Cal RB Shane Vereen: This one (Lucas Oil Stadium) is pretty sweet. This one wouldn’t be bad at all.

Michigan State TE Charlie Gantt: I’d have to say Ford Field. It would be cool because my whole family is in Michigan and I’d be playing at home. That is my team; they were OK this year but it has been tough the last couple of years. But that is my team and if would be great to play in that city as an NFL player.

San Diego State WR Vincent Brown: (Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego) is an amazing stadium. Demarco Sampson and I walked out on the field yesterday and we were taking it all in. It is a big stadium with a nice field. It was a good experience.

Utah RB Matt Asiata: Definitely San Francisco. I grew up watching my dad watch the 49ers and that stuck with me.

UNC LB Quan Sturdivant: Just playing in the NFL period, it doesn’t matter which stadium. We played at the Panthers stadium (Bank of America Stadium) and the Titans stadium (LP Field). They are definitely a lot bigger than the stadiums we played in. The bowl game in Tennessee it got kind of loud in there, so it was fun.

Hawaii WR Greg Salas: Any one. I am just looking forward to it. I grew up a Raiders fan. I was a fan of the Chargers too and I have been to a couple of their games.

Super Bowl XLV – A Weekend to Remember

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011



Also see: Super Bowl XLV Photo Gallery

Even as mainstream media members complain about everything from the weather in Dallas to the type of soap in the hotel rooms on their free trip to cover Super Bowl XLV, it should be noted that even the most criticized NFL events are better than what other sports leagues are putting forth. Yes, the snow and ice did most certainly dampen the mood – and shut down large swaths of the city on Thursday night – but overall the weekend was a tremendous success.

Having worked in the NFL for four years and seeing what goes on behind the curtain, it is incredibly interesting to attend this event as a non-NFL employee. I had my first chance to fully see radio row in all of its gluttonous glory, attend NFL parties surrounded not by co-workers and bosses, but by friends and ex-bosses, and watch the game from the comfort of my seat, as opposed to franticly pacing back-and-forth to help out in the press box or around the stadium. I was also able to see parts of North Texas that I was not able to in my last visit, including parts of uptown Dallas and Fort Worth.

I ate some great food at NFL parties and league-sponsored events, met a lot of new people, and made connections that will be important for the future of Sports Power Weekends. But most importantly, the game was fun, exciting, and down to the wire.

Below are some bullet points of the weekend’s highlights, and a special thank you to some incredibly hardworking people:

  • The Friday Night Commissioner’s Party was an understated yet elegant affair. The food – what little of it I surprisingly had – was good, but the crowd was better. It is always great to chat with team PR folks, and even media members can be fun to chat with at these events.
  • On Friday I attended the Fuel Up to Play 60 press conference featuring comments by Commissioner Goodell and 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year Sam Bradford. Bradford is so polished and composed, it was almost as if you were seeing the present commissioner and the future one on stage together. If Bradford can build upon his initial success he will be a great spokesperson for some lucky companies, and a great face for the league.
  • In a 24-hour span I saw Brooklyn Decker and Marisa Miller at the media center, and Erin Andrews at the Hilton Anatole, the NFL headquarter hotel. A real murder’s row that alone made the trip worthwhile.
  • Nick and Sam’s Grill in uptown Dallas serves up some great food and offers a bit of a high-class brunch atmosphere. It has a decided downtown Manhattan feel as far as the crowd goes. Just a lot of good-looking people starting their party early. Their food is worth any wait you may encounter.
  • The Taste of the NFL event was a foodie’s dream, and I did the best I could to try out as many food stations as I could handle. The only sour point of the night was the 45 minutes of traffic that we hit just one mile outside of Fort Worth. You can read more about my thoughts on the Taste of the NFL here.
  • After the Taste of the NFL I headed to the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie for the Saturday Night NFL Party featuring a concert by Faith Hill and The Pretenders. I missed much of the musical performance but I heard it was one of the best Saturday Night Parties in years. I can’t imagine it topped the Super Bowl XLII Saturday Night party in Tempe headlined by Foreigner though.
  • The NFL Tailgate Party prior to Super Bowl XLV was a great event, though the line moved at a snail’s pace and it took about an hour and 45 minutes to get in. Once there, the food stations (mostly barbeque) did not disappoint and the layout was immaculate. Performances by Keith Urban and Maroon 5 entertained the fans prior to the real show.
  • Cowboys Stadium is simply palatial. If not for the ticket/seating fiasco that took place, I think Cowboys Stadium would have been a shoe-in for another Super Bowl, weather be damned. The stadium is definitely befitting the biggest sporting event this country sees annually.
  • Getting out of the stadium was actually incredibly smooth and not problematic. It only took about 45 minutes to get from Arlington to downtown Dallas after getting on the hotel bus, and 15 of that was just getting to the highway.
  • The Super Bowl is the best sporting event of the year, hands down. Being able to attend the game and be down in the host city as part media member/part fan is really a treat, and is something I hope I can continue to do. It is not without the incredibly hard work of the NFL PR department that the media is so well taken care of. The executive-level guys get the recognition, but the straw that stirs the drink is really the hard-working team of Randall Liu, Corry Rush, Darlene Capiro, Jon Zimmer, Annie Rohrs and Terence Malangone. They are on the grind until the wee hours to make sure everything is taken care of, starting weeks and months before the game. Their hard work and accomplishments deserve to be noted.

Dallas was great, but I think Indianapolis can be even better. I look forward to that city and Lucas Oil Field tackling this challenge head on.