As those of you who follow me on Twitter already know, I spent the better part of yesterday morning over at the NFL offices here on Park Avenue.
What started as a quick 15 minute meeting with Charles Coplin, the NFL programming vice president, to pitch some programming ideas for the NFL Network (Corey and I actually mentioned this on the show Wednesday night - you all just thought we were kidding) turned into a a brief tour of the NFL offices and lunch with a group of NFL people thanks to the tireless and, frankly, wonderful NFL PR folk, namely Brian McCarthy and Joanna Hunter whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Radio City during the draft this past April.
As far as Packer Transplants goes - yes I pitched it to be a show on the NFL Network. I mean, last night I was watching "Top 10 NFL Families" on the ol' NFLN. If this isn't a network crying out for new, original programming, I don't know what is. I also talked to Mr. Coplin about a couple other ideas I've had rattling around in my head. He also was kind enough to tell me a couple Packer-related things they have planned (sorry, I've been sworn to secrecy) that Cheesehead TV may or may not be able to be involved in.
After my meeting with Mr. Coplin, I ran into the PR posse. We talked awhile, Brian asked if I was doing anything for lunch (why no, no I'm not...) and off we went on a tour of the NFL offices, the highlight of which was, without question, the display in one of their lobbies featuring Vince Lombardi's jacket. (Apologies for the horrible photo - I had no idea I'd be getting the red carpet treatment and only had a crap Blackberry with me) I also saw Tom Landry's hat, which, I have to admit, totally blew me away. Yes - I am a nerd.
We took a stroll around the office, with stops at the officiating headquarters I'd seen profiled on the NFLN before. Rows of TV screens and equipment where a group spends each Sunday watching every snap of every game. I also got a peek at the studio where they do their talking head segments from people based in New York. (NFL Network is headquartered in L.A., for those that don't know.)
Brian was kind enough to re-introduce me to Greg Aiello, whom I had met briefly at the draft and who is in line to take over as senior vice president of communications from Joe Browne, and we exchanged both pleasantries about Twitter (yes, he's on, as are Brian and Joanna) and some more pointed words about Jerry Jones and Cowboys Stadium. (Greg, you know I'm right! Actually, I begrudgingly conceded one of his points later in the day)
After seeing more amazing things and meeting more cool people, we made our way downstairs to a lunchroom/cantina. The place was deserted except for one guy picking out his lunch from the salad bar.
It was Roger Goodell.
"Hey Commish, I want you to meet Aaron Nagler, the biggest Packers fan in the world."
I shook Goodell's hand and as he asked if I was from Wisconsin it dawned on me that I was having a "Top 5 Day". I mean, one of those days that you will never forget as long as you live. There are the days your children were born, the day you married your wife, the day the Packers won the Super Bowl - and today.
I said goodbye to Roger (we're clearly on a first name basis now) and settled in with the PR team and a couple other denizens of 280 Park, including Mike North and Stephan Hein who, I was informed, are responsible for the NFL schedule. "Packers schedule is good. You shouldn't have any complaints" said North between bites of salad. (What's with all the salad eating by the way? This is football. Let's get some meat and potatoes, people...) I agreed, but couldn't resist throwing out a "Would have been nice to get Favre in Lambeau in December" which was greeted with a "good point" from somewhere around the table but with a shrug of indifference from Mr. North who no doubt has become impervious to such barbs.
Lunch was spent talking mostly about the World Cup and the Stanley Cup game the night before, which is understandable. If there's anything worse than being at work it's being in the lunchroom at work talking about...work. Of course, we did talk a little Favre which led to my well-known hatred of Brad Childress. Brian, who like all good PR people was glued to his Blackberry constantly checking for anything and everything, casually asked at one point "So you hate Childress, how do you feel about Bill Cohwer?" Seemed random, but I responded that I respected him as a coach and looked forward to seeing him back on the sideline. Lunch wound down and off we went back upstairs to Brian's office. On the way, he stopped and poked his head in someone's office and said "Did we just miss him?" Bill Cowher had been there and Brian had been trying to introduce me.
I could have stayed all day but I thanked Brian for lunch and for showing me around and most of all for the introduction to Goodell. I still can't believe it all happened. One thing is for sure, I truly hope Corey and I get to work with the NFL, even in some small way. Yesterday was just too cool.
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