Saturday, September 3, 2011

Madden NFL 12 Pigskin Pro-Am

You all know what today is, right? COLLEGE FOOTBALL, BABY! Or more specifically, the first Gator game of the year - a/k/a the only thing that makes me feel even remotely okay about the fact that it's fall now. Usually, you can tell me, "fall is coming!" and I will dig my heels in and fight it tooth and nail, but when I remember that fall=Gator football, it hurts just a little bit less and I wind up saying, "oh, well, okay then."

In honor of the return of college football, I thought today would be a good time for me to tell you about a football event we went to back in July that I never got around to recapping: the Madden NFL 12 Pigskin Pro-Am at Bryant Park, a flag football game played by NFL greats and other celebrities to promote the new Madden NFL 12 video game.

You may remember that thanks to, we were able to attend another Madden NFL 12 promotional event: the video game cover shoot with Cleveland Brown Peyton Hillis:

Good times.

1iota hooked us up with Madden-event tickets once again, this time for the Pigskin Pro-Am at Bryant Park on July 27th, which was filmed and aired on TV this past week. We arrived at Bryant Park early that afternoon for the big event, and waited literally hours to be led in. We felt it was pretty poorly organized at first, but once we got in and settled, it was still fun. That seems to generally be the case with these sorts of events.

For the event, they had Bryant Park all decked out as a mini football field, with bleachers for the fans, and a spot for the press at the west end.

Bryant Park set up for the Pigskin Pro-Am

Almost game time!

When they brought the fans in (that's us!), they divided us into two groups: the Famers and Gamers. Each was given either a red or blue shirt (red for Gamers, blue for Famers), and that was the team we were going to be rooting for during the game. To motivate our cheers, we were informed that whichever team won, that team's fans would receive a FREE copy of Madden NFL 12. Oh, buddy, let the cheering commence! (For the record, we were Gamers fans sporting red shirts!)

Want to know what famous peoples were in attendance for the big game? The NFL stars included: Tim Brown, Ronnie Lott, Dan Marino, John Randle, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Michael Strahan, Herschel Walker and Kurt Warner, along with Tony Dungy as the coach of the Famers and Rodney Harrison as the coach of the Gamers. Celebrities in attendance were: Matt Bomer (White Collar), Rob Brown (Treme), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Terry Crews (Bridesmaids, The Expendables), Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights), Willa Holland (Straw Dogs), Anthony Mackie (The Adjustment Bureau), Ryan McPartlin (Chuck), Chris Meloni (Law & Order SVU), Rachel Nichols (Criminal Minds), Elisabeth Rohm (Heroes) and Chrissy Teigen (Sports Illustrated/Victoria's Secret Model). Others that showed up: Maria Menounos, Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk and Roger Goodell. Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen were the announcers.

They started things off with a draft to pick the two teams. Our Gamers team got the likes of Deion Sanders, Dan Marino, and Michael Strahan. As each player was chosen, they were given a red or blue jersey by the NY Jets Flight Crew (cheerleaders) and sent to their respective sidelines. It's game time!

NY Jets Flight Crew

Let's go, Gamers!

They explained the rules to the crowd, not all of which I remember, but suffice it to say there were about a billion ways to score. For example, if a catch was made on some designated circle on the field, it was three points. If a touchdown pass was caught in a designated spot of the endzone, the touchdown was worth 12 points instead of six. Etc., etc., let's just play.

And play they did. Although our Gamers scored first, the Famers quickly doubled our score with a fancy endzone-spot catch and then it started to get ugly. Our team was scoring, but the Famers were just piling it on. They were really taking advantage of all the "extra points" opportunities and our team just wasn't.

Rodney Harrison giving pre-game tips to Chrissy Teigen

Opening kickoff

But, the crowd was rowdy and the celebrities seemed to be having fun with it, so it was all good. Of course, we did want that free copy of Madden...

Chrissy Teigen and Rob Brown, playing it up for the crowd

Kurt Warner

Jerry Rice

Tony Dungy

Michael Irvin

Dan Marino

Commissioner Goodell even spent some time roaming through the crowds, taking pictures and signing autographs for fans.

Roger Goodell with some Gamers fans

At the start of the second half, the Gamers were down by a rather significant deficit. However, that's when things turned crazy. They brought in a surprise player, last year's MVP Maria Menounos. And, Deion Sanders seemed to stop goofing around and actually played, so from that point on, the Gamers made quite a comeback.

Rodney Harrison, you just got soooo busted.

Deion Sanders getting the crowd pumped up

At one point, Rodney Harrison (Gamers coach) challenged a touchdown by the Famers, and the crowd quite vocally disagreed.

Rodney trying to calm the fans down after his controversial challenge!

The game got a little close at the end, but the Gamers ended up winning it! Quite a comeback from way behind! The Gamers fans started chanting "We won Madden!" as they started handing out the free games (actually, coupons for the game when it came out, but whatever). Awesome - new game for Eric!

Scoreboard at the end of the game! Famers: 100. Gamers: 106!

Dan Patrick and Rich Eisen interviewing the coaches after the game

Eric and I rewatched the whole thing when it was on TV last week, and Eric even made it on TV at the end of the game! (I had already left by that point to run errands.) Way to go, Eric!

Can you find Eric in this picture?
(He's second from the right, about in the middle, with sunglasses on! The guy to the right of him is his friend Dave from work.)

Another fun NYC event!

Enjoy your football games today, friends! Go Gators!

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