It’s Sunday, February 2, 2020, THE BIG DAY! I’m standing on the field at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The sun is shining through the open roof, the fans are roaring, and the energy is electric. I’m holding my breath as I wait in anticipation for our big reveal. Looking up to the giant jumbotrons in all four corners of the stadium, I finally see our team’s commercial playing on the screens. The NFL’s Next 100 Super Bowl commercial is premiering for all to see, in-stadium as well as in millions of fans’ homes around the world. The fans in the stands are engaged watching the film, with booming laughter…
Then, there is a hush. You can hear a pin drop. The scene with Bunchie paying respects to Pat Tillman is front and center. Suddenly everyone erupts in applause and cheers that literally brings people to tears. It’s the best reaction we could have asked for. The rest of the film is playing out and I’m still holding my breath as the most technical part of the reveal is coming up. I tip-toe forward slightly so I can peer around the corner into the tunnel where the 32 kids and Bunchie Young are excitedly waiting for their cue. Each of them is wearing their favorite team’s jersey and a huge heart-warming smile on their face. The director rallies the kids and sends them sprinting to the middle of the field with Bunchie Young leading the pack. They are waving their arms up and down to get the fans fired up. With a standing ovation the fans are exploding with encouragement and approval… I was beside myself. I got the “goosies” as J.Lo would say. What a way to kick off the big game! (Pinch me…)
If you would have asked me in college whether I wanted to be a producer of romance movies or a marketer at the NFL where I would work at the Super Bowl, I would have laughed at you. Why would anyone offer those two options together as if they were both possible? Work at the NFL? The thought never crossed my mind. Not once. Though a die-hard Packers fan since childhood, I wasn’t aware opportunities to work at the NFL existed. I regarded the NFL as if it were Emerald City; no one gets to peak behind the curtain. No, I had a passion for producing. Realizing this passion in high school, I carried it to college where I majored in Creative Producing, with an aspiration to produce romance movies. I loved telling love stories.
Shortly after graduating and being advised to work at an agency or management company to start off, I landed my first job working at a talent management company. Although a great learning opportunity, it wasn’t for me. I soon found my way into reality television production. The exhilaration of working in the fast-paced realm of reality TV was addicting. I was definitely putting all that I had learned in college and from my other jobs to good use. I felt like I finally found something I could do for the long haul…But deep down I knew it wasn’t right; it wasn’t my passion. And suddenly came an obstacle that made me rethink my entire career path: a company merger.
After requesting to be laid off (that’s another story), and some much-needed reflection, I was reminded of what really excited me, producing and football. I absolutely needed to find a job that encompassed both of those things. So only one place made sense, the National Football League. Go big or go home, right? I set my sights on the NFL, had no backup plan, and only 6 months to make it there (that’s when unemployment ran out). Having no connections in sports whatsoever, I used LinkedIn, set up coffees, phone calls and informationals… After four grueling months, my hard work paid off. I earned my shot. (I owe it to Aaron Fishman, Bill McCullough and Julie Haddon: THANK YOU!). I was hired at the NFL to work in marketing. I could now peak behind that curtain!
A year ago, I had the opportunity to sit in the pitch meeting with our agency while they pitched us this idea for the Super Bowl. From greenlight to gameday, I had a hand in just about every step of the process, including budget meetings, pre-production and production meetings, casting and edits.
I will tell you, a lot of what we do in marketing at the NFL is tell love stories. I didn’t think I could connect my desire in college to produce romance movies to what I do now, but it’s one and the same. Our fans love football. Football is family. Football is love. We are literally just telling love stories about the game, our fans, and how it touches lives. Our Super Bowl spot was that ultimate love story, and I’m so proud to have been part of something so incredible and historic.