Video From The 1st Annual Fantasy Football Fest in Atlantic City, N.J.

This past August, I was in Atlantic City to cover the inaugural Fantasy Football Festival, a one-of-a-kind fantasy football experience according to the organizers, ReedPOP.  This was the first time any festival or convention was organized and catered around fantasy football.

DSC_4086ReedPOP, the production company behind New York Comic Con (the largest pop culture convention on the east coast), PAX, PAX East, UFC Fan Expo,  & Star Wars Celebration organized the festival.  ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans, is organizing the festival.

It took a while to get the videos edited as my editor was finishing up college and graduating.  I should be able to edit videos faster in the near future so everyone can experience the events closer to when they happened.  When the NFL Draft comes around in a few months, you will not have to wait long to see and listen to the 2013 NFL Draft prospects.

We has to break the footage into two videos.  The first video features NY Giants Super Bowl MVP and Super Bowl XXV Champion Otis Anderson as well as teammate Howard Cross from that Super Bowl.  We get a few words from employees at Fathead, the makers of sports wall clings, some fans, the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, HGTV star of Man Caves & Baltimore Ravens Tony Siragusa, and so much more.

The second video features an interview with ESPN Fantasy guru Matthew Berry and former NY Giants and Jets player Billy Taylor.  You can see a fantasy draft in progress and action from the passing and field goal interactive station.  Plus as a bonus added extra, a joke shared with former New York Giants QB and CBS sportscaster Phil Simms.Fun was had by all that attended and if ReedPop has this event later this year, I am sure they will get a similar turnout.

DSC_4254Also on the second video is an interview with the head chef who drives and operates Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill.  This thing is the size of an 18 wheeler.  The ideal item for that July the BBQ.  Johnsonville was there as part of the tailgating section of the event.

Thank you to Dr. Bill Chackes, Managing Partner of Football Reporters Online for asking me to cover the event and to incorporate my own unique style of sports media coverage into this fun, humorous, and a little sarcastic video.  Dr. Bill only asked for the first part.

Now keep in mind, these videos were shot in August of 2012 the weekend of the Jets vs. Giants preseason game.  So the topics range from preseason form, the Jets acquisition of Tim Tebow, Chad Johnson, Eli Manning, and so much more.

So enjoy watching the Fantasy Football Fest.  There was some footage not added, that could be used to create more videos in the next few months.  Come back often to find out.

My article from August about the Fantasy Football Fest.  More details about the event and pictures can be found there.

 

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Before Jets/Cardinals This Sunday


Tailgate 4 The TriState
held the first part of their cause this past Sunday at the Giants/Packers game to moderate success. Thank you to both Charles from Top Shelf Tailgate and Dave at The Fan Van Party Bus for helping us on the first part of T4T. Pictures can be found on our Facebook page along with details for Sunday.

This Sunday will be the Jets portion of Tailgate 4 The Tri-State. We welcome back The Fan Van this weekend and “Flagman” Frank Conway in Yellow lot L11.

Like this past Sunday’s Giants event, we will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief during tailgating before the Jets/Cardinals game. All donations will go directly towards The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Yellow Lot L6 and Frank Conway and his flags along the median by the Track in Yellow lot L11

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts. The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund. The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Jets jerseys and possibly some former Jets players may show up as they have in the past. At our Giants event Sunday, former Giants player Steven Baker the Touchdown Maker made an appearance. They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves. It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well. Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ. He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate. That to me is the epitome of selfless.

Charles Mulea has been taking his Top Shelf tailgate to wherever he can to provide food, television, and a welcome distraction to many still cleaning up and for those responders in welcome need of comfort while assisting others. The best gifts comes from those who seek nothing in return.

If you attend the Fan Van tailgate, one cost covers all food and drink. Frank’s tailgate is very friendly, all are welcome. Just look for the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State signs at each location.

It is very easy to participate. Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!! Have fun! Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering. That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish. There are a few options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate.

Purchase some raffles or while enjoying some great BBQ, make a donation to T4T since these tailgates are offering up their services to help us raise money.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation. This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

The Fan Van Party Bus is the Party City Tailgate of the Day.  Pictures was on the Jumbotron

The Fan Van Party Bus is the Party City Tailgate of the Day. Picture was on the Jumbotron

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be. But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted. Bring your checkbook and make a donation that can go a long way to helping those in need this holiday season.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you. Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page. He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-Staate Today Before Giants/Packers Game


Tailgate 4 The TriState
will be raising funds for Hurricane Sandy relief before today’s Giants/Green Bay Packers game as some tailgating crews have joined the cause.  Many have not just been chomping at the bit to help, but to chomp into some great BBQ as well.

Two groups have stepped up to offer their tailgating services to help us raise funds for  The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

The Fan Van Party Bus will be stacked and loaded in Red Lot G16.  Our latest addition, Top Shelf Tailgate will have their professional rig set up in Red Lot E26 just across from the turnpike off ramp.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The Tri-State to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

 

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles of Giants jerseys, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Giants players may show up as they have in the past.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

Top Shelf Tailgate is the country’s first franchise tailgating opportunity.  Top Shelf offers trailers that are state of the art & built by them from the ground up to accommodate any possible need.  Catering to both children & adults the versatility is sure to please everyone. The kids can play the latest video games as the adults watch the big game on HD thanks to our DIRECTV satellite,
while our sound system keeps the music going & party alive.  A private bathroom is a luxury in the parking lot as well as the back yard.  The double keg taps conveniently serve guests the beverage of choice.  The possibilities are endless!

Top Shelf Tailgate will be accepting donations for T4T, for those seeking food and a chance to win Giants jersey’s can go to The Fan Van Party Bus

Also on hand by the Fan Van will be GMEN Shirts.  GMEN Shirts will have their shirts, sweats, hoodies, and more.  Portions of those sales today will go towards T4T.  So one could enjoy some music, food, beer, and grab some GMEN swag to show off your Big Blue pride.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The Tr-iState:

A group or individual could make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at the last one, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

 

 

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Tailgate 4 The Tri-State Shaping Up, Giants Tailgaters Needed

Since we announced our plans to have Tailgate 4 The TriState raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief, the reception has been moderate.

After consideration internally and from the opinions of others, we have decided to change the relief fund we are donating to.  Instead of the Red Cross, all donations will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief & the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

FRO will be donating 50% of proceeds from Tailgate 4 The TriState to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane relief efforts.  The other 50% will go to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.   The Mayor’s Fund retains no administrative fee, and one hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations. Funds will support immediate aid needs – including, food, water and hygiene supplies – as well as long-term relief and restoration.

We would like to thank The Jets Press, Turn on the Jets, Jets101.com, and SBNation’s GangGreenNation.com & BigBlueView.com for helping us get the word out on T4T.  Without the support of the fans and websites like these, the word of Tailgate 4 The TriState can not spread to others.  We appreciate the interest of wanting to gather others for a worthy cause.

After reaching out to various tailgating groups for both the Jets and Giants, we only have a combined 4 location at both games.

For the Jets game we have Frank Conway in Lot L11, Dave Fier in lot L5, and the Fan Van Party Bus in Lot L6 for the Jets game and VIP lot G16 for the Giants.

The Fan Van Party Bus will help us raise donations with some raffles, Cheerleaders at the Giants game, and possibly some former Jets and Giants players.  They offer a buffet style tailgate with one price covering all, including the DJ.

We are still looking for Jets and Giants tailgating groups to participate in the cause.  We thank those who are selfless and look to help those who do not have the means to help themselves due to Hurricane Sandy.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.  But obviously, any kind of donation is accepted.

However you would like to raise donations for these causes, we leave that up to you.  Just keep it fun and legal for everyone.

For those wanting to gets their morale boosted before the Jets take on the Arizona Cardinals, Firemen Ed will be making an appearance at Tailgate 4 The TriState on December 2nd to help us raise funds and fire up the Jets faithful before kick off.  Ed is passionate about giving his time for the right cause so we thank him in advance for his time.

Big thanks to Dan Vollmayer of The JETway for putting the graphics together for out Facebook page.  He gave his time when he really did not have any to make sure we had something colorful to entice others to join T4T.

It irks me to have great support from the Jets fans and not the Giants fans.  I personally have reached out to so many individuals I have met tailgating, as well as other groups to only get very minimal response in return.  It shows me some tailgating groups only care about their own publicity & exposure rather than using that attention to do something right for those in need.

Those tailgating groups helping out have been affected by Sandy themselves.  It says a lot to help others in need when you are one of those as well.  Dave Matteo from the Fan Van Party bus is from Ocean Grove, NJ.  He has his own issues from Sandy but is willing to help us raise funds for those less fortunate.  That to me is the epitome of selfless.

If you are interested in participating as one of our tailgating locations, e mail us at Tailgate4Tristate@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

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Tailgate 4 The TriState To Raise Funds For Hurricane Sandy Relief Before Jets & Giants Games

Last Monday was the worst hurricane or “superstorm” to be seen by the east coast.  New Jersey’s shore line devastated.  Fires rage in New York City boros and burn homes to the ground.  Manhattan darkened.  Possessions lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever.

A recovery and clean up seems eternal.  Gas lines may be getting shorter but so are people’s patience.  Power has yet to be restored in many locations while families suffering their worst heart break have yet to receive help of any kind.

My family has roots in Belmar, NJ.  One of the shore towns hit hard by Sandy.  My grandparents ran Levy’s Bakery on F Street for many years.  My Aunt Norma and Uncle Herbie lived down there until the mid 90′s.

I practically grew up in Belmar.  I can remember not just being on the beach and enjoying the ocean, but the holidays with family, spending hours upon hours at Rooftop Golf and Arcade, Zelbe’s, Siderhoff’s hot dogs, Klein’s, Djai’s, Bar A, and so much more of my life happened in Belmar.

Sandy removed the entire boardwalk and dropped it off three blocks from the beach.  A town devastated along with many communities that seek assistance in rebuilding the Jersey shore.

Like many Jersey natives my heart sank lower and lower watching the destruction.  Not just here in New Jersey, but Staten Island, Long Island, and every area in new York ravaged by Sandy.

I felt the need to do something.  I am not sure what exactly, but I wanted to do something for those that had their lives disrupted and still looking for the pieces to get it back together.

So many individuals, companies, Government groups, and so many more are doing what they can to raise funds and material items for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.  I did not want to carbon copy anyone and wanted an effort to be fun and unique while supporting a great cause.

I thought about the Jets fans I had met while filming my documentary about the Jets and their fans.  Here you have thousands upon thousands already in one location and many would be willing to support a great cause.

But why just limit it to the Jets?

Giants fans are very passionate and dedicated.  They bleed red and blue as much as a Jets fan bleeds green.  So extending an opportunity to donate to a cause that affected us all seemed only natural.

But the catalyst.  The concept to bring it all together to make it a worthy event where fans could give their time and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief.  Then it hit me.

Tailgating!

Every Jets and Giants fan likes to party and celebrate before any game.  Getting friends and family together to throw back some cold ones, grill up our meaty feast, and yell at those fans who wear the jerseys of the opposing team.  Ahh, yes….tailgating!

On behalf of Football Reporters Online, I am organizing Tailgate 4 The Tri-State.  We are looking for any and all New York Jets and Giants tailgaters to support T4T as all proceeds will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

Myself and others not just lost power, but many lost food, belongings, and homes as well.  As New York area fans, we want to provide support for those who need to start over.  That is why we are organizing this relief effort to cover both the Jets and Giants tailgating.

Tailgate 4 The Tri-State will take place Sunday, November 25th at the
Giants/Green Bay Packers game & Sunday, December 2nd at the Jets/Arizona Cardinals game.

It is very easy to participate.  Just do what one normally does before any home game, tailgate!!  Have fun!  Invite friends and family to make it a t rue game worth remembering.  That is 90% of what we would like to accomplish.  There are three options to do your part for Tailgate 4 The TriState:

1-Many tailgating groups charge a fee to be able to partake in their tailgate.  We ask if these tailgate groups could donate a portion of those fees towards the Tailgate 4 The Tri-State effort.

2-A group could also make one lump sum donation from everyone in that tailgate as well.

3-The CELEBRITY APPRENTICE donation.  This is for very few willing to make the kind of donation that speaks volumes.

Many will laugh at Number 3, but you never know how generous someone will be.

The Giants & Jets have already given $500,000eacg for Hurricane Sandy relief.  We as Jets and Giants fans have a chance to show our support and make our contribution.  We have an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.

As of now the Jets tailgate on December 2nd will get loud as Fireman Ed Anzalone is on board with T4T.  Fireman Ed will be offering his time at where we designate the central tailgate to be.

We will designate a flagship tailgating location at both games once we hear back from those wanting to participate.

We just started reaching out to fans, other companies, and former players to get involved with T4T, so updates will be coming.  They can be found on our Facebook page.

When I contacted the Jets on Monday, I added this in my letter:

I am sure you know time is of the utmost importance on this (organizing this project).  I hope the Jets organization would want to support their fans efforts in coordinating a program to raise funds for Sandy relief.  Please contact me with any questions or when a decision is reached.  Thank you for taking the time to consider this for your next home game.

After hearing back from the Jets, they regretfully can not get behind and endorse a cause that is being held on the MetLife Stadium property due to other contractual obligations.

They will be announcing their own efforts where fans can help raise funds during the New England Patriots game on Thanksgiving.  So for our effort during tailgating, we will not have the Jets support. The Jets can only support fans efforts away from MetLife Stadium.

For those Jets or Giants tailgaters looking to have their tailgate participate in Tailgate 4 The Tri-State can e mail us at Tailgate4TriState@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page where there is additional contact information.

 

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What Ride Are We On As Football Fans

There seems to be a connection between professional sports and a certain euphoria we get from our teams.  Sometimes we experience the highs and some times, the lows.  We experience this rush of adrenaline, emotion, and endorphins that work us up into a frenzy not seen since Bruce Banner and The Incredible Hulk

Call it what you will.  But we all pay some amount to maintain this feeling on a weekly basis.  Some pay to enjoy it in the safety of their home while various others dish out numerous amounts at the stadium to get their fix.  During tailgating and the game.

And just because one lays out more from their wallet does not mean their high is any better.  We all experience the same roller coaster ride of emotions equally no matter we each pay out.

We as fans get a rush from attending a game.   Sometimes the drug kicks in at tailgating.  Firing into a frenzy before the fireworks go off in the stadium. By the time inside, the high is contagious it spreads to everyone. When the action starts, its phase two.  Riding its ups and downs like a bad acid trip. Not knowing if it will end in a high or low.

But we come back for more.  They always know we will.  Every time.  At times we know the disappointment but we want to be surprised.  Let the win sneak up on us.  The rush is better that way instead of being fed it slowly through an IV.

For a long time it seemed the fans mattered.  The teams seem to know our pulse and at times, act accordingly.  The NFL treats the rest like addicts, knowing no matter their urge they will always tune in and be sucked into another Sunday vortex of advertising and football.

We all have a vice.  That one item that draws us in like a vacuum and we let it take us to our own personal state of euphoria.  But those who know what their audiences vice is, they exploit it to no end.  No matter the bad trip they throw at you, you keep focused wondering when the ride will get better.  Chasing the dragon in hopes of catching it.

Eventually we do, we grasp it hard and take pride in the accomplishment.  Knowing that our hard work and dedication to not only our team, but the sport we love will pay off.  Pumping our endorphins to heights we rarely see.  Rejoicing with others while sporting our warriors victorious colors.

There was a time when the fans voice really mattered.  When we could be heard before the marketing and advertising became louder and more dominant.  When it was the AFL against the NFL, they did everything they could to keep their fans.  The same needs to be done now.

We can see past the blinders they choose to acknowledge.  We know the difference between a quality product and when someone is trying to sell us a bill of goods.  The NFL is selling us baby powder instead of the high quality product they usually serve us each week.

We had a chance.  The fans and the critics had a chance to make a mark on the NFL.  But they knew their mistake long after we saw it pass us weeks ago.  Even with a deal made, reputations in the NFL are tarnished.  The NFL needs the Army as a clean up crew.  They re lazied it one blown call too late.  Ask Green Bay.

The fans collective conscious will never let the NFL forget the mistakes they made.  Not just to them, but to the players as well for creating havoc and stress in the workplace.  It seems the NFL offices are up just high enough in NYC where screams only come across as faint whispers, making it hard to hear the problems until it is too late.

And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and evil.  Not in any mean or military sense; we as fans never look towards that.  The referees only wanted to work.  Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.  Using social media to voice displeasure and create a wave of force to be heard.

But now, driving on Route 3 East towards NYC, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark, that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back allowing the NFL to remain dominant and make all the right calls.

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Inaugural Fantasy Football Fest Fumbles The Ball, But Room To Improve

Last weekend I was in Atlantic City to cover the inaugural Fantasy Football Festival, a one-of-a-kind fantasy football experience according to the organizers, ReedPOP.  This was the first time any festival or convention was organized and catered around fantasy football.

DSC_4086ReedPOP, the production company behind New York Comic Con (the largest pop culture convention on the east coast), PAX, PAX East, UFC Fan Expo,  & Star Wars Celebration organized the festival.  ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans, is organizing the festival.

Headlining the festival were Philadelphia Eagles’ stars Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, New York Giants’ greats Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, former Washington Redskins QB Joe Theismann, NFL Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Chris Doleman, Super Bowl XXV MVP Ottis Anderson, ESPN Fantasy Expert Matthew Berry and others as they participated in autograph signings, panel discussions and fan Q&A sessions throughout the weekend.

DSC_4091Aside from hosting your own fantasy draft live from the AC Convention Center with your friends, the inaugural festival in AC had a number of activities and special events throughout the weekend including fantasy expert round tables, video game tournaments, interactive athletic competitions (punt, pass, kick, sports memorabilia, & a tailgate party and beer tasting.

To read more about the festival and future events, you can visit their website at www.fantasyfootballfest.com.

Last Thursday night at 9 PM before the event, I was on the weekly Football Reporters Online BlogTalk Radio program interviewing our guest, Greg Topalian, ReedPOP’s Senior VP.  Gregg was excited about the coming event.  He mentioned the radio spots they ran, posting flyers on the boardwalk, and plastering any information about the event where ever they could.

Greg also mentioned how ticket sales were going very well and about 25000 tickets for the festival had either been sold or given out by the radio stations.  From all the information provided it sounded like the inaugural event was going to be a hot ticket in town.

DSC_4092But from those who attended, the event turned out to be a great effort rather than a memorable weekend.  Even Phil Simms could not wait to leave.  More on that later.

Day one started with about 25-30 fans waiting outside for he 10 AM opening.  I had this vision of a long line, maybe 100-150 people standing outside.  Chomping at the bit to get inside for a memorable fantasy football experience where one can also buy some memorabilia and meet some players for an autograph or two.

It was memorable all right, but not in the good way some may have liked.  By the time one was in the door, there was enough time and room to get everything done fast. Which many did.  Not many attended for fantasy football reasons.  Many came in and got the autographs they wanted and left.

Now some did come for fantasy football, but by the time the inquiries were done there was not much left to do.  Even though they had panels, fantasy football drafts on site, and video game stations lined up with Xbox & PS3 with Madden and NCAA football games, it was not enough to keep the patrons there.

The best part of the video game section was the original Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Techmo Bowl.  All one had to do was play as Bo Jackson to win the game.  Not a cheat, but a heavy advantage in the game.

There ere not many vendors inside as well.  There were a bunch of fantasy experts and websites to gain valuable knowledge from, but it was not enough to keep people there for an extended period.  After certain autographs were obtained, many fans left.  It seemed the players were more of a draw for some rather than learning how to draft your fantasy players.

DSC_4187

ESPN’s Matthew Berry & Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick & LeSean McCoy

Over the two day period there were less than five fantasy drafts overall.  Tables were set up to handle at least 12-15 per day at a time.  The panels also drew little listeners.  The only panels people sat and listened to were to the Eagles cheerleaders doing trivia and when the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and ESPN‘s Fantasy Analyst Matthew Berry were taking questions.

Besides the typical fantasy booths like RotoExperts, FantasyGuru, Fantrax.com, Gameday Fantasy Football, and a slew of others, companies like Fathead, Steiner Sports Collectibles, Jack Links Beef Jerky, World Poker Tour, Point Pong. and others tried to offer up football merchandise.

DSC_4208Sirus XM radio had their Fantasy Sports Radio show broadcast live as the event was going on.  Fans could listen in to fantasy experts give their opinion as well as former athletes give their analyst opinions on who to draft for your fantasy team.  94WIP Sports Radio, 97.5 The Fanatic, 97.3 ESPN Radio, & 103.7 WMGM Rocks were also doing certain live broadcasts or reports from the event.

For those wanting a true taste of playing on the gridiron, there were interactive areas where one could catch a pass, kick a field goal, or throw passes for accuracy.  The Giants Perry Williams was having fun along side the fans in the passing section.  Jets/Giants Billy Taylor was giving defensive stance tips to the Lingerie Football League ladies who were also a part of the festivities.

DSC_4171

Jets/Giants Billy Taylor with the ladies of the Lingerie Football League

One could notice some of the other players and former players in attendance wanted to get their time there over as soon as possible.  Many of the fans and even the vendors noticed how some shortened their time on purpose due to the low turnout.

For example, Michael Vick was originally scheduled for his autograph session from 1:30-3:30 PM and then a panel discussion with Matthew Berry breaking down the QB position from 4:15-5 PM.  LeSean McCoy was scheduled from 2:30-4:30 PM for his autograph session.  The only session that did not change was the QB panel discussion.  LeSean McCoy took part in that as well and it became a general Q&A session as well.

Both Michael Vick & LeSean McCoy had their autograph sessions changed from their scheduled times  to 5-6 PM.  $100 for Vick to sign any item and McCoy $60 for any item.  As soon as 5:30 came they both left before the end of their scheduled times.  This could be due to low autograph requests, low attendance, or the fact not many stayed until the 6 PM day one close.

They were great with the fans and signed whatever people presented and answered tons of questions.  One has to wonder why they would leave early.  If they got paid for one time and left before that scheduled time, they really made out like bandits.

DSC_4093Day two of the event saw less fans attend.  Even some of the vendors did not come back for day two.  Some even came in after the 10 AM start time.  The demeanor of the vendors showed their displeasure with the event.  From the supposed 25000 tickets either sold or given away it appeared less than 2000 attended the event.

My wife and I stayed at the Sheraton, less than 50 yards from the convention center.  One of the Sheraton’s attendants mentioned he had no idea the event was going on that weekend.  According to him, he saw no posted advertisements for the event.  While my wife and I walked, we barely saw any ourselves.  The only ads we saw were on a revolving billboard and light post flags leading to the convention center.

DSC_4254Outside the convention center, there was a tailgating section.   WMGM Radio was broadcasting live outside alongside the the worlds largest portable bbq grill.  It takes p the whole trailer of an 18 wheeler.  Johnsonville has three trucks and brings them to various events across the country.  The next stop after the Fantasy Fest was to Bristol, TN for NASCAR.

It appeared there were more food vendors inside than outside.  The driver of the Johnsonville truck was also the grillmaster.  Johnsonville was at the event to help raise charitable funds for the Marines.  But they felt let down by the event.

DSC_4253They claim there were no signs or posters inside to direct fans outside to the tailgating section.  After checking the event floor, there really was no signs.  They were all posted outside the doos of the event in various parts of the convention center.  We went outside both days and each time the tailgating section looked empty.

The guys from Johnsonville felt disappointed as they look to help raise funds for charity.  This event let them down as they could not raise the kinds of charitable funds for the Marines as they had hoped.

Day two also saw former Giants QB Phil Simms as the autograph attraction.  Phil was great with the kids and more than happy to talk to the fans and sign whatever they wanted.  I found out from one of his handlers that he drove himself down there that morning.

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NY Giants QB & Football Analyst Phil Simms

Phil Simms was scheduled from 11AM-1PM.  And like a few others the day before, he could not wait to get out of the event.  His line for autographs was short and he left the event before the end of his scheduled autograph time.  Phil Simms sped out the door so fast he beat Usain Bolt’s world record in the 100 yard dash.  I should know, I was behind him taking video.

The event may not have been an overall success for some, but for those who got what they paid for, they left satisfied.  I guess if you are a true fantasy football fan and you had your questions answered before you could draft your players, then it was a success.  If your kids saw the players you grew up watching and had them sign the autographs you wanted, then you left smiling.

If ReedPOP plans to do this event next year, there is a lot that needs to be rethought and restructured.  Not only do the fans who attend need to leave happy, but so should your exhibitors.  They pay for space on the floor and should be given a true chance to make a profit on top of their expenses for the festival.  If the exhibitors leave the event pleased, then they will plan  to return next year.

If there had been video game tournaments where players could play Madden, NCAA 13, or Siper Techmo Bowl with prizes and sponsor tie ins from EA Sports, Nintendo, Sony or others could have added more of an interactive feel to the event.

ReedPOP could show live status feeds from Twitter to encourage the use of social media to get people to the event immediately.  Even a prize every hour for the best tweet.

I enjoyed myself at the event.  The Philadelphia Eagle cheerleaders formed lines to welcome fans in and I ran threw.  I took my attempt at the field goal kick.  If you want to know how I did, come back when the video is up.  Plus I interviewed New York Giants Otis Anderson, Howard Cross, Perry Williams, Billy Taylor, Jets Bruce Harper, Ravens Tony Siragusa, ESPN’s Matthew Berry, and more.  So in order to know what we talked about, you WILL have to come back for the video.

DSC_4199If ReedPOP decides to do this event next year, I will come back.  I’d like to see how they can improve in their second year to increase attendance.  This convention can be a success with the right adjusting.  Take advantage of the successes it had and capitalize on it for next year.  You will find football fans do enjoy events like this as it provides the interaction fans welcome from players.

When the players are signing autographs & laughing, fans obtaining signatures and memorabilia, and vendors are interacting with sales and valuable fantasy information, then everyone is happy.  That is how you measure an event’s success.

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2012 Season Preparation Begins For Jets & Their Fans

Over the past week, training camp began across the NFL.  The Jets reported to training camp with more questions than answers.  Even though the Jets will not be on Hard Knocks there is always enough drama and media following around Gang Green.  Just turn on SportsCenter.

From the release of information regarding locker room issues to the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow so called “QB controversy”, the cameras will keep rolling through Jets training camp.  Let’s face it, the Jets provide more drama than TNT.

The veterans need to let what happened months ago slide off their back and get down to business.  If Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, and the other starters want to look ahead to the 2012 season, they need to forget about how the 2011 season ended.  The incoming rookies need to be led by the veterans example and act as a cohesive unit.

But as much prep work the Jets need to do, so do the fans.  Why should fans do prep work?  What could possibly be so important that fans need to do prep work for the 2012 season.

It’s called tailgating.

Majority of you are probably thinking all one has to do is pack food, beer, and a grill.  Then drive to the stadium, find a spot, set up and enjoy.

Sure, for the basic one timer this is a great idea.  But to the experienced season ticket holder who makes a day of tailgating, there are many steps taken for the quintessential tailgating experience.

Before MetLife Stadium & parking permits, one would be able to arrive as early as they wanted to.  At the old Giants Stadium, my wife Gina & I would get there as early as 7 AM before a 1 PM game.  A few others would arrive before us.  We made a day of it, breakfast and lunch before the game.  Everything packed the night before and finding a prime spot the next day.

The best part about arriving at least 6 hours before kickoff was that there were no employees at the entry gates.  One could drive to their stated parking destination and not pay $20.

I am 37 and I talk about 5 years ago as if I was referring to 1943.  Like technology, everything seems to be moving faster these days.

Some groups already established like L7 Tailgate, Dave Fier and the group at L5, and “Flagman” Frank Conway staked their clam the minute they were first allowed into the newly established MetLife lots.  They get there early enough to the same location to ensure there is room needed to support their tailgating experience for everyone involved.

MetLife Stadium is set up  according to your parking permit.  The more you pay for it according to its list price, the closer to the stadium you are.  This could play a factor in your tailgating.  The farther you are, the earlier you may have to end your tailgate.

This is why the Jets have preseason games, to work out the kinks before the season starts.  Same should go for those wanting the best tailgating experience during the season.

First off, not many die hard season ticket holders attend preseason games.  One could go and scout every location needed.  To go from colored lot to colored lot is not easy, but it can be done.  Attend one or two preseason games and you will find your prime spot for the season.

Here is a layout of the MetLife Stadium parking situation
Parking lot B was formerly a non PSL parking area.  In 2011, it was converted to yellow PSL parking.

By viewing the map, the areas that fill up first are the outlined black areas in each parking section.  Look at is as real estate while tailgating.  You can have a small plot to host a tailgate and not have to compete with drivers looking for a place to park.

Many campers, diesel trucks, and u-hauls tailgate on the “outer rim”(Star Wars reference).  “Flagman” Frank Conway has room to fly his 546 flags this way.  If there is a section of concrete or grass that can be occupied, those will go first.

Next to go are the parking lot lights with the lot location on it.  Hence the L7 Tailgate and Dave Fier with L5.  Get a bunch of friends to park side by side and in some cases, on the opposite side as well to have a central hub for tailgating.  Some of the guys at L5 have a fun and entertaining way to mock the opposing team each game day as someone drives through their tailgate.

Once the outside rim and the lot markers are gone it all spreads out from there.  The prime spots are usually gone in about an hour.  This is why many line up at least 1-2 hours before the gates are opened.  They know by waiting, even for that long, you can guarantee yourself a prime location.

Relax, one does not have to line up as early as fans did to watch Peyton Manning practice for the first time with the Denver Broncos.

Just keep in mind the larger your tailgate, the earlier you want to arrive to secure a spot that can hold not just all the people, but what everyone brings with them.  So act like Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

August is a great time to get those needed essentials for tailgating.  Many stores view August as the end of summer.  So many tailgating essentials for grilling or barbecuing will be available for a discount.  One can find coolers, utensils, charcoal towers, certain portable grills, and more for prices lower than some expect.  Stores would rather sell them for a deep discount than not sell them at all.

One item that is an essential for any tailgate is a pop up tent.  They come 10′x10′ standard and usually start around $95.  It comes it handier than an umbrella in rainy situations.  Keep your grill and food dry so your tailgate can continue in any weather.  Many put them over the back of their car so friends always have a dry place to stand.  Trust me, if it rains and you do not have one, you will wish you did.

Other items like chairs, tables, flags, inflatables, air horns, fire pits, flat screen TV’s, satellite dishes, couches, end tables, or whatever else makes your tailgate a memorable one is up to you.  I provide the basics.

Maybe a future article will focus on the more extravagant and stranger tailgates out there.  I have pictures on some and they will definitely make you laugh.

One could use the above guidelines for either the Jets or Giants home games.  The parking doesn’t change.  Only the fans tailgating.

Former Dallas Coach Jimmy Johnson At NFF HOF Announcement

Former Dallas Cowboys, Oklahoma State, and Miami (Fla) Head Coach Jimmy Johnson gives his thoughts and opinions on today’s collegiate and professional players, injuries, social media, and more.  Always great to hear candid opinions than one’s already prepared for press statements.

Also catch my other videos of the event on my YouTube page.  You can also find an interview with former New York Jets Sack Exchange member and 2011 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Marty Lyons.

How A Wilson Football Is Made

Last Wednesday, April 25th, Dr. Bill Chackes of Football Reporters Online and myself were invited to a demonstration on how Wilson footballs are made.  This was being done on the top floor of the NFL Store in midtown across from Bryant Park.  After the demonstration, Dr. Bill interviewed Kevin Murphy, General Manager of American Football.  The company behind Wilson.

DSC_2465It was educational to see how Wilson makes their footballs.  This was only the second location in their history where they have done this demonstration outside their factory.  The only other location is at the Super Bowl each year.  So for those who went to the NFL store last week were in store for an exclusive.

Wilson footballs are made by hand here in America.  Yes, American footballs being made, hand made, by Americans.  The way Wilson has done it for over 80 years.  It is a good feeling knowing that they care about their employees enough to give them that job security.

As you watch the video, you can see how the workers take pride in what they do.  Knowing that each ball they make was crafted by them.  There are under 25 workers in all who hand craft these footballs.  It is an apprenticeship, a trade that has to be learned over time and perfected by few.

I would like to thank both Dr. Bill Chackes and John Fennelly for giving me great opportunities over the past two years.  Videos like these, my writings,  and others over the past two years would not be possible without them.  I thank them for giving me exposure and experience.