Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Night At The 2010 NFL Rookie Premiere

Just from living here in Los Angeles, I have had the opportunity to do things that I never would have thought possible. In 2008 I was able to attend the red carpet premiere of Guitar Hero III, where Poison played a spectacular show for less than 500 people. There were celebrities, there was great food, open bar, the works. That was nothing compared to what I got to do last night.

Because of some inside information, I knew where the players were going to be and when they were going to be there. Being the autograph hound I am, I decided it was worth an effort to try to get signatures from as many of the rookies as I could. As there is every year, there is a huge party in Santa Monica the night before the main event, so I made it a point to be at the venue as the players arrived. Boy am I glad I decided to go.

I arrived around 6:45 and sat down in the lobby with a stack of cards freshly pulled from packs of Prestige and notecards for the players I couldnt get. I had a football as well, but I was going to save it for the right moment. Around 7:00 players started walking in, no entourage, no anything. I walked up to Ndamukong Suh, who was probably one of the biggest beasts I had ever seen and asked if he could sign one of my cards. He was extremely nice, and happily obliged. As soon as people saw that the players were there, three others started to walk over. He signed for all of them without blinking an eye and even chatted with us for a few moments.

Ryan Mathews was next, and like Suh, he was incredibly nice. He posed for pictures, he signed whatever we wanted and hung around for a few minutes. As a Chargers player, he had to sign for just about everyone, but he was cordial and never made any notice of being swarmed.

Dexter McCluster stopped by as well, but didnt say much. Oddly enough, he hung around the lobby the most of any of the players before everything started.

After Mathews left, Eric Berry walked in, but was more hesitant to sign for us. After he got a few requests from kids there, he ended up signing for everyone, taking pictures and so on.

Jimmy Clausen showed up while Berry was signing, and I broke away immediately to go and get him. Clausen was a BIG guy, surprisingly, and signed the first of my cards that I had brought with me. He was somewhat cold at first, but didnt have a problem playing the role once he realized that we were all there.

Demaryius Thomas showed up around the same time as Clausen, so I had him sign the card I had for him as well. He was VERY shy and just passed through on his way to the elevator.

After Thomas left, it was about 7:20, and we hit a lull. We waited for more people, but no one showed until around 7:30. Thats when things got nuts. First Maurice Jones Drew, who was there for the NFL network walked in, and no one even noticed him. Once we got a clue, who he was, he nicely signed for the two of us who walked up to him. Then CJ Spiller walked in the door, and you could tell that everyone wanted his picture and autograph. He signed a card for me, though he didnt say much to anyone. That was two big names off my list. Then the boom fell.

Tim Tebow walked in, and he was pretty much on a mission. He saw that all his player friends were signing, did a complete 180 and headed straight the other way for the elevator. I was standing right there and asked him for his autograph to give away on the site. He shrugged me off with a "not now" as a woman walked up for a picture. She shoved the camera in my hands and asked for a shot, which I took. At that point, a bald guy walked up and confronted the five or six of us that were there. He wasnt with the hotel, but told us to leave because we were "harassing" the guests. Jumping on his cell phone, he said "im going to get hotel management over here" and pointed to the door. At this point, I was more interested in avoiding confrontation because I had just received news that I was going to be able to attend the actual party that night.

Shaking with excitement over the news of my party pass, I walked outside and waited for it to arrive. In the meantime, I saw a bunch of familiar faces milling about, including Tracy Hackler, but ill get to that later.

After my pass arrived, I chilled for a while to see if anyone else was going to show up. At around 7:45, I met up with Chris Carlin and Terry Melia of Upper Deck for a pre-arranged meeting and we walked into the party. It was like a mecca of complete ridiculous-ness and awesome-ness. I couldnt believe that I was going to be able to experience it, and was glad that I brought a huge stack of notecards. There was food, there was drink, there was everything, and it was pimped out with EA sports stuff and NFL players EVERYWHERE.

Considering I had never met Chris or Terry face to face before, I spent time with them talking about life and the upcoming year. Both of them were incredibly friendly, and were just happy to be in such a cool place, just like I was. For guys who spend their days around this sort of stuff, they seemed like fans too, it was kind of refreshing in a way. Chris promised me that this year, Upper Deck's stuff would be incredible for football, despite the fact that their NFL license was gone. He knew it would be tough to carve out a new niche, but he felt confident that the design team would continue to make Upper Deck's products look better than any others out there.

After we were done chatting, I started to walk around. The spread they had set up was crazy beyond belief. The party spanned the entire pool area, bordering the beach and the ocean, something that added a bunch of allure to the status of the event itself. They had a station where they made their own Chili, a station with a Mini Donut making company who did fresh donuts, a table filled with candy and caramel apples, a sliders station (chicken, pulled pork, burgers, and other stuff), a mashed potatoes station, and of course, an open bar. It was the first time I wished I hadnt had my surgery, but I was okay settling on the smell of the food rather than eating it.

In the midst of walking around, I got Sam Bradford to sign another card for me, Clausen to sign my football, Arrelious Benn to sign a card, and a few others. I still hadnt seen Toby Gerhart, which was sad, so I decided to schmooze a little more. I was introduced to a few distributors and others who were there, all of which were pretty shocked to see me. I saw Tracy Hackler again, and introduced myself, we chatted for 30 seconds and I walked away. Nothing bad, just wanted to actually meet him.

After my Beckett encounter, I started to chat with the Marketing director for Upper Deck, who may have been one of the nicest people at the party. She was so happy and excited about the weekend, and I saw exactly why she had her job. She treated me more like a friend than a blogger, which I very much appreciated, and I hope I get copies of the pictures she took of all of us (hint hint).

I was in line to get some water when Scott Prusha of Panini walked right up to me and got in my face. Decked out in Adrenalyn garb for their new product he laid into me for past posts on SCU. For a smaller gentleman, he can be quite intimidating, thats for sure. I held my ground, hoping he wouldnt go too far into our history, but he wanted to make some points, and I was more than willing to hear what he had to say. We talked for about 20 minutes, and he actually had some pretty invaluable advice that I will definitely be using in the future for this site. After he warmed up a little, he wanted me to know that he really wasnt concerned with the business side of my blog, but more the history of my actions. He understood that my opinion on Panini products was just that, and didnt really care about what I said. He told me he really didnt read the site anymore, which was fine, but he was happy that the baby was doing well. Scott and I broke our conversation on good terms, but its not like we are going out for a drink any time soon.

At this point, it was about 8:30, and I was nearing the end of my rope with being away from the baby. I still hadnt found Toby Gerhart in the sea of 250 people, but I was determined. I spotted him at a corner table sitting with Colt McCoy, and approached him immediately. I told him I was from Minneapolis and asked him how things were going. He was genuinely a class act and started laughing about the picture from his Prestige card. They passed it around and he signed it for me. Colt McCoy signed another card for me, and I had determined my night was complete.

I saw Tim Tebow again, waiting in line for something, and tried approaching him more in a different situation than before. Again he told me he wouldnt sign and shrugged me off again. Others were coming up to him as well, to which they got the same answer. From what I was told, Tebow didnt sign a single autograph all night long.

Before I left, I had a great chat with a person from the Washington Post about writing and the way each person builds their brand. Chris had told him all about the site, and he thought it was pretty cool that I would be so passionate about writing about this stuff. Being on the business side of the paper, he completely understood the building of a "character" in your writing, and wished me the best of luck with the blog. Going to school in Washington DC meant that we had lots to talk about, hopefully Ill have another shot at talking to him in the future.

I think the most surprising thing about the night, other than the accessibility of the players, was how well the card companies got along. Even though they are in a brutally competitive industry, and really would benefit from each other's destruction, they are all on good terms with each other. The goal of the night, and the weekend really, was to promote the cards and the players, something that definitely resonated with me. I know that I can get caught up in the soft underbelly of what goes on around the hobby, but this night was a completely positive experience thanks to the professionalism of the people from Upper Deck and Panini. Congrats on that to all of them, I want them to know that.

All in all, this night was epic to say the least, something I will never forget. A huge thank you to Chris and Upper Deck, Scott and Panini, and Clay from Topps for putting on a great event with EA Sports. It was truly the best way to leave Los Angeles behind, I had the time of my life.


  1. So, are you saying Tebow's a douche? That's kind of what I'm getting. That Tebow's a douche. I'm not saying that I personally feel that he's a douche, I just get the impression from this post that Tim Tebow is a douche.

    That's awesome that you got to be there. Did you get to meet any of the Patriot's rookies?

  2. WWJSF?
    Who Wouldn't Jesus Sign For ?

    Tebow is a douche

  3. Outstanding opportunity. Indelible memories, and a great group of kids. you made the best of the auto options, and they all look great. I may or may not believe that Tim Tebow is a douche.

  4. Nice job scoring a ton of sweet autos man! And go figure, Mr. Jesus himself Tim Tebow was an asshole, what a shock.

  5. Why does Tim Tebow hate pour out of this blog? The guy doesn't sign an autograph so he's a douche? He puts bible verses under his eyes so he gets mocked for his religous beliefs? I don't get it.

    He does have way too many fans that expect far too much out of him. I'm sure he gets mobbed in Florida wherever he goes. He's probably tired of the attention. UF fans expect him to be John Elway. Jaguars fans wanted to draft him with their first round pick. Hey, I'm a Jaguars and UF fan, but that's ridiculous. He is over-hyped by ignorant fans and his NFL future is very cloudy. Good luck Denver. But a douche, asshole, and Mr. Jesus? Why the anger?

    Having said that I would be very disappointed if he wouldn't sign an autograph in that setting. And I'm very jealous you met MJD. I would definitely have him sign the football in place of Clausen.

  6. Wow! What an incredible opportunity and I am glad you used it to its fullest advantage. It's also nice to know that you were able to interact directly with the companies on more of a neutral sight than say, The National, as I am sure they were much more themselves than they might otherwise be. Having partners who have been involved in these events before I know how exhilirating it can be so I am so glad you got to experience this given what a huge NFL fan you are.

  7. Cool story there Adam! I'm jealous that I wasn't there! Good thing you went... probably was a once in a lifetime experience!!

  8. Is this another one of your April Fool's jokes?

    Just kidding.

    I really have nothing to say but WOW!!!

  9. i hate tebow. not as a player. as a person.

    he did a signing down in florida. it was 150 for a sig on anything and 75 bucks just to have a pic with him. FAG! fuck that clown! lol

    although, i have sold 2 of his signed bronco jerseys in the store already. but he is still a fag

    the reason he doesnt sign is because he is already under exclusive contract with palmbeachautographs. he has his own holo with then and all. his contract states he is only aloud to sign for the card companies only!

    i know steiner just did a huge deal with and traded a bunch of jeter stuff for tebow. my guess is it was probably 2 or 3 tebows for ever jeter, but still. hes a cocksucker

  10. Gellman, great opportunity. Sounded like an amazing time.

    Uh, Heard, so you don't like him because he is upholding a contract he has and when he charged money at an event, that money went to his charity. Which part makes him a "fag?"

    BTW, you're comments are completely baseless and you should really be ashamed of yourself for the type of name calling you are throwing around here.

    You have no issue profiting off the guy though. Unreal.

  11. I wouldn't be as hard on someone else, but Tebow has put his beliefs on his sleeve... and under his eyes. If he is going to be so outspoken, he is going to have to face the consequences if he isn't more gracious than everyone else everywhere he goes. It's a ton of pressure, but he put himself in that position. FYI I'm a Christian.

  12. Obviously there are those of you who don't know the New Testament, specifically the Book of Revelation, 13:27:

    "If thou signs for fans without the exchange of 30 pieces of silver, thou will be doing satan's work. The righteous must ignore those fans unable to provide the thirty pieces of silver and only sign for those fans who will help thee line thou own pockets. Only then will thou be able to enter the kingdom of heaven."

  13. Sooz, while I don't agree with Heard's language. However, it is a little ironic that you pick up on this given Tebow's own homophobia.

    As for the money going to his "Charity", I suppose that would depend on your definition of it. There is no doubt that he does do some good work for children, some of his "charity" work is about coverting people, including other Christians to his bigoted and narrow-minded vision of what Christianity entails. To me that isn't being charitable, it's being a hate-monger.

    I also doubt that all money he was charging was going to charity. Regardless, the idea of charging people, including children and the poor, $150 for his signature doesn't sound like the Christianity I was bought up on.

  14. Scott rides yer ass for going overboard, and you took some good out of it. Kudos

    Congrats, and thanks for sharing the events(Very well written, easy to follow)

  15. hahaha. first of all my comment was a 100% facts! lol second of all i didnt know this site turned into church? anyways. tebow is a FAG. and his money doesnt go the charity. he keeps it. his exact contract,

    "public info"

    150 flat on any item
    his cut is $110
    company cut is $40

    when someone gets there pic with him
    $75 total
    25 to company and 50 to him

    if that doesnt spell out fag for you then idk what does.

    i wasnt trying to OFFEND anyone. not one bit. tebow is an asshole, plain and simple. for him to ignore adam like that and not sign because "in his eyes" (tebow) is better then anything, should have been the #1 pic and as a 9 inch black dildo up his ass because he got takin so low in the first round. but the truth of it is he didnt even deserve to go untill the 3rd round max. = FAG.

    he could have signed one autograph for him.

    eli manning = steiner contract
    derek jeter steiner contract
    lebron james = ud contract

    yet they all sign. so what the fuck makes tebow diff? THAT 9 INCH DILDO UP IS ASS!