Posts tagged royce gracie
Even before Marshall Faulk played in the NFL many knew that he was going to be a superstar in the league. In college at San Diego State University Marshall was a three-time All-American. The Indianapolis Colts drafted him as the second overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft. After his time with the Colts, he played for the St. Louis Rams.
Faulk is one of only three NFL players with at least 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards. Marshall has been named the league MVP, helped the Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV, and was selected seven times for the Pro Bowl. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Faulk can be seen on TV shows such as “NFL Total Access,” “Thursday Night Football,” and “NFL GameDay Morning” on the NFL Network.
Before Super Bowl weekend I caught up with Marshall. He was working with Verizon to promote the “Who’s Gonna Win?” campaign in connection with the Empire State Building. Besides talking about that promotion we did chat about this year’s match up between the Seahawks and Broncos, his time in the NFL, and his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Art Eddy: You are part of Verizon’s “Who’s Gonna Win?” program, the first-ever social media-driven light show on the world’s most iconic building, the Empire State Building. Tell me a little about that promotion?
Marshall Faulk: This whole “Who’s Gonna Win?” campaign is an initiative by Verizon. They are powering up the Empire State Building. Fans can help decide if their team’s colors will go up on the Empire State Building. It is a pretty cool program. Each day is going to be a different program leading up to Saturday.
Obviously everyone wants to know who is going to win. That is the interesting thing to see. Which team’s fans will get more involved and how many hashtags will be for Seattle or Denver is going to come into play. We will find out when the Empire State Building will be lit up.
AE: It sounds like a very cool program. Who do you think will win the Super Bowl? Broncos or Seahawks?
MF: I think it can go either way. I don’t have a favorite. Usually you can look at the numbers or watch how they play common opponents. It is so tough to tell. I keep telling people that only because Peyton (Manning) is a friend of mine that I just want to see him win another Super Bowl. Outside of that I really don’t know. I am not going to lie.
AE: Speaking of the Super Bowl you had the great fortune of playing in two of them. What was the week leading up to the game like?
MF: You want to say that it is all business. You are trying to have a normal week. Last night I saw that a bunch of players from the Seahawks have a team event. They showed some support for the (Brooklyn) Nets by going to the game. Those are the kind of things you want to do. Dinners, going to a basketball game, just things like that with your teammates.
Keep it in a team atmosphere. If you have family here, have dinner with your family. You don’t want to be that guy who is drawing negative attention to your team. That is what we are waiting for. We are in the media. We are trying to see who is going to be the idiot to try and do something stupid.
MF: Let’s see here. First you come out of the tunnel. You are excited about the game. You realize the magnitude of the game. You look around and see all the press. You look at the field and say ‘God this looks small.’
You hyperventilate. You catch your breath. Probably the second series after you get a hit a couple times and had a few times touching the ball.
AE: With everything that you have accomplished in your phenomenal career from MVP awards to a Super Bowl win what is the number one thing you take away from your time in the league?
MF: Winning the Super Bowl. I am telling you that it is the hardest championship to win. It requires all hands on deck. When you are on the field 11 guys must be pulling towards the same goal. It is the greatest team sport ever. It is the greatest sport ever. I just love how fun it is to win a championship.
The one thing that you know about our game and I love this as well, the best team doesn’t always win. It is the best team on that day. In other sports you get seven games to get it right. In our game you get one game to get it right.
AE: Can you imagine playing the best of seven for a Super Bowl? It would be crazy right?
AE: After your time in the NFL you got the call that you would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What was the first thing that entered your mind when you got the news?
MF: I will take you through the whole process. When you first hear that you are on the ballot you are kind of nonchalant about it. It gets down to 35 and you are like alright. When it gets down to 15 you are pretty good. The week of the Super Bowl and pretty much that Saturday was when I started having the pregame jitters feeling.
They are calling names. I am standing up there. My hands are sweaty. My heart is beating. I am saying to myself you can’t go in the game. You are not playing, but that natural feeling of anticipation or excitement that you have when things are out of your control when you can’t do anything about it. That was what it was. I was quite relieved that my last name ends in F and it was called early out on the list. It was a good day to hear my name called. I will say that.
AE: You and your teammates on the St. Louis Rams had a sick nickname, “The Greatest Show on Turf.” What was it like to play with guys like Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and the rest of that high powered offense?
MF: It was fun. I enjoyed playing with those guys. As much fun as it was the one thing that we talk about when we see each other like we did at the Pro Bowl recently. Ricky Proehl, who is now the Carolina Panthers receivers coach, was at the Pro Bowl because the Panthers coaching staff was there for the Pro Bowl.
We just started talking once again. Ernie Conwell, he works for the NFLPA. Me, him, and Ricky were having the same conversation. We always talk about it. The one thing that continues to come up about it is how unselfish we were. When I look at the Denver Broncos that is what you get from them. They really don’t care who is catching the touchdowns, who is catching the passes, who is getting the yards, or who is getting the accolades. It is all about a team goal.
It is hard to get that especially from receivers. We had it. It was special. I definitely enjoyed playing with those guys. We talk about it. I always point to Ricky Proehl. The year before Ricky led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. The year we won the Super Bowl he catches one touchdown. It was touchdown that sent us to the Super Bowl against Tampa in the NFC Championship. He doesn’t say a word about it the whole season. That is the unselfishness you need in order to win games like that.
If you’re a dude (and I am guessing you most likely are or will easily be able to tell that you are not), then it is safe to assume that you know MMA. Mixed Martial Arts has seen explosive and exponential growth, sustaining this unprecedented run in terms of both eyeballs in the stadiums and on tv, as well as financially, given the monetary prowess of the now-institutional UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship.
As with all trends in sports, there are standout moments. The defining heroics and antics that stand out in short-term history, whether for water cooler gossip or long-term holy shit moments. If the sport ends up making it for the long term, and this will only happen if UFC single-handedly corrects the ills that led to boxing’s tragic downfall, then we just might be talking about some of this stuff for the long haul. But only time will tell. These appear numbered below, but not necessarily “ranked” in priority or meaning.
5. Ginger Fighters
Not gonna’ lie. My sister and I have a lifelong fascination with Gingers. This did not start with the onset of South Park, either. This is a much weirder deal. Now if little red headed freckled people are singled out and considered sissies as children, then MMA would surely end up being a likely safe-haven for them once they reach early adulthood. And the UFC, being the pinnacle of organized MMA at this point (and into the foreseeable future, thankfully), did its part to salute Gingers everywhere, just about chopping the head permanently off the rumor that redheads can’t fight. Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter featured grudge-match coaches Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock going toe to toe, but what really stood out about that season (spring/summer ‘06) were the fighters, which included among others: Michael Bisping, Kendall Grove, Matt Hamill, and of course, ginger Ed Herman. This Team Quest member, Pacific Northwest native, redhead fights in the 185-lb. weight class and excepting the injury that has sidelined him recently, Ed “Short Fuse” Herman is a complete and total badass. Although Kendall Grove ended up taking the TUF season finale, all three judges scored the fight 29-28, very close, and Dana White granted Herman, the loser in this case, a 6-figure deal as well.
4. Vegans in MMA? WTF?
You’ll have to excuse yourself for thinking about eating beef in terms of a training regimen, and MMA practitioners. It’s just not the case every single time. Far be it from you and I to understand how a Vegan of all personalities and persuasions, could make the leap up to UFC caliber fighting. But again, the Ultimate Marketing juggernaut that is The Ultimate Fighter Reality Show produced just such a spectacle for its ongoing PR campaign in TUF Season 6, in the form of lightweight fighter Mac Danzig. Now I am sure I’m not the only one who has been a bit disappointed with Danzig’s performance since joining the pro ranks of the UFC, but he is a confident, capable fighter who might just be temporarily missing that “x” factor that makes a champion. Still worth the watch, for sure.
3. TUF as a Franchise: The Only Reality TV (Barely) Worth Watching
The Ultimate Franchise: a reality television show that extends and controls the brand, introduces brand new personalities to its audience, and shows the true struggle in terms of training and living that these fighters go through in order to be the real athletes that they are before they step in the cage — that is The Ultimate Fighter. I don’t think that cage fighting could have become what it is today without this television show. Sure, rules and regulations have made the sport something beyond just blood and gore to talk about the next day at work. Creating a shift in perception that is monumental? Leave that up to tv — and Dana White nailed it with this one. Just enough of the at-times locker room toddler bullshit, and right before you get sick of some of these occasional idiots’ bravado, you get to see them fight. I don’t care for watching people argue, or trash talk, or puff themselves up with lofty ideas of becoming champions. What I care about is picking a winner, developing an appreciation for a fighter’s craft, and watching them grow into true professionals. And there is all that and more on TUF.
2. Throwdown Cage Bed for Kids? Kidding?
When you are looking to build a paradigm-shifting enterprise, then any smart marketer knows you start somewhere in childhood, and you go no-holds-barred. Which is why one look at the Throwdown cage bed for kids will have the most savvy understanding just where this new bed-cum-training accessory is coming from. It’s pretty much like a fun-style bed, think “racing car bed form for toddlers,” and then throw it up on steroids and have its father beat the holy hell out of it when it’s just a little toddler bed. Which we have before now, always referred to simply as “a crib.” That’s right. We’re forced now to retrofit our language as we evolve as humans, thanks to MMA. Your infant’s crib is a four-sided cage, and when the little hooligan grows up just a little bit, you’re gonna’ do nothing more than double the amount of walls he will be surrounded by. Octagon, baby. Don’t ever look back.
1 Old School Vs New School Shit Talking: Gracie vs Hughes
I’m guessing I’m not alone when I tell you that as a television personality and a fighter, I don’t like Matt Hughes. I don’t know what it is, but his arrogance, regardless of his wealth of talent, just rubs me the wrong way. Now were I to meet him in real life, maybe he’s a great guy. I could see a ton of integrity and grit. I have nothing against him personally, I don’t even know him. But in terms of the entertainer aspect that I do know of him, I don’t like him. So when the grudge match went backwards through history, and no one other than the father of the sport was called out, Royce Gracie, there seemed to be a lot on the line there. I only wish, as I am sure many other do too, that these two fighters had met in their prime. To watch old bouts of cage fighting, with round robin tournaments and fewer rules and no weight classes, Gracie practically put the first iteration of the sport on the map, without any help from anyone else. Playing up the historical aspect of the brand was one of the greatest things that Dana White and UFC could have done. Genius marketing, to be sure — but marketing that works well typically has a great product behind it. And in this case, heck yes.
The bottom line here is that the UFC has made a good product a great one, through marketing. And in a very basic light, the lynchpin of their marketing strategy has been to link up MMA and its constituent parts with other areas of popular, contemporary culture: vegan eating habits and politics, reality television, raising children to succeed as athletes beyond known levels and at any cost. Continued growth will require a consistent parallel development where new viewers are given reasons to watch these pure athletes go up against each other in a cage that shows off how one combination of fighting styles might just be superior to another similar combination that is not exactly the same.