Fake It, Till You Make...(My Sr Bowl Week as a FAKE P.A.)

Written By Greg Dawkins
Jan 31, 2011

What I saw on my Facebook page, in response to one of my pictures: “Ah, I see your annual stalk-fest has begun. I just love this aspect of your personality.” What I believed her to be saying: “You are a loser with no hope of ever having a date with a woman, much less tricking her into having sex with you.” It’s true. Senior Bowl brings out the stalker in me. Like other red-blooded men in my hometown of Mobile, Ala., I take the week off to enjoy the NFL decending upon my fair city. Below is a somewhat accurate account of my week.

So, my buddy Rob Brown (@RLBrown3 for those of you on the twitter) allowed me to hang out with him on Radio Row. He hosts a sports talk show from 4-7 on an outfit out of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (shameless plug: stream it at sportstalktheticket.com). There’s also an a.m. version, but I’m assuming that if you’re reading a sports blog, you’re too hungover to listen at that hour. I digress. Needless to say, this hookup provided me with unprecedented and much-envied access. And on Day One of this access paid off in spades. I went with Rob to the media meet and greet. And behold, less than three feet from me: Greg McElroy. As a Bama man, I was tempted to sit in his lap. Atypically, I restrained myself. Then, Ricky Stanzi. As most of you know, he loves America. And so do I. But probably not in the same way. So, I avoided contact. Finally, Zac Etheredge. Even though he attended the polytechnic institute across the state, this young man was in danger of not walking again last year. Now he’s at the Senior Bowl. Pretty awesome in anyone’s book.

Day 2 was the highlight of the week (month, year, life). There I sat, enjoying drinks and shots at a local watering hole with a friend, Erin. Rob and his co-host for the week, Brian Harper (yes, Roman Harper’s brother) had wandered down to a media/NFL event at the Battle House Hotel’s bar. Fueled by Jager and a lack of shame, we decided to join. Lo and behold, who is the first person I see when we get to the Battle House? Sean Payton of your STILL World Champion New Orleans Saints. Here’s where it gets cool. While waiting to beg for a picture (because I’m like that), I eavesdrop on Payton’s conversation with Dennis Allen (Saints secondary coach) who is telling Coach that he has accepted the job as Denver’s Defensive Coordinator. So, literally, I was the first person to know. It’s the little things that make me such a geek, I know. Despite Payton’s perturbed state, he was nevertheless gracious and posed for the camera. Inside, hung out with Mort Mortenson, Jack Del Rio. Later, got a picture with Gregg Williams, Saints’ Defensive Coordinator. Went home drunk and happy.

In the midst of all this, the practices are held during the day. Morning for the North Squad, afternoon for the South. I’m not going to grade talent here. There are plenty of other unqualified bloggers who are graciously doing that for you. A couple of general observations, though. Christian Ponder looked like a man among boys. Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi, and Titus Young of Boise St. fame, despite his size, excelled. And Greg McElroy did himself a world of good this week. My guess is that he wasn’t going to be drafted, and he probably will now. Also noteworthy, Ponder and McElroy signed every last thing that the kids brought for them to sign. Does this mean that the fathers of Mobile’s schoolchilren pulled the kids out of school to come to the practices. Of course it does. It’s Alabama. Also spotted at the practices: Mike Leach. No parrot on his shoulder, disappointingly. Given that Senior Bowl week is pretty much the NFL Job Fair, one wonders what that was about. Also, not 3 rows in front of me, was Drew Rosenhaus. I’m not a fan, and I’m guessing none of you are either. However, it’s times like this when I wish I was smart enough to know how to hack into his blackberry from afar. There’s got to be a way, dontchathink?

It’s also important to mention the role of the Alabama quarterback during the week. No matter how dreadful he may be, the Bama qb gets an invite. And here’s why: looked up from my spot on radio row to see a gaggle of younguns, about 40 in number and all dressed in crimson, following after someone, screaming for autographs. Turns out, it was G-Mac, looking like the pied piper. Which prompted Brian Harper to pose the question: most ridiculous fan support ever at a Senior Bowl? The answer, and by a mile: Brodie Croyle. It was like The Beatles had descended upon Mobile. Women screeching, children screaming, grown men clamoring for him to sign stuff. Never seen anything like it. And he had that bitchin’ hair.

Here’s where it gets weird. By weird, I mean COMPLETELY AWESOME. Next night, I’m sitting outside a local watering hole with a woman of ample proportions in full stalk mode. And who should walk up to the bar’s door? Why Jerry Glanville, of course. In a leather jacket and sunglasses, of course. Now, you should know that despite his having coached the Failcons back in the day (Rise Up, why don’t you? God, making fun of that never gets old), he’s earned cult status, at least with me. I spoke to him an urged him to go in. He did. Here’s Rob’s report of what happened inside. He walked in, raised the sunglasses, assessed the situation, and immediately turned and left. He’s cool like that. Next day, Rob gets to interview him on the radio. Glanville’s pimping his website, JerryGlanville.com, which is some sort of coaching thing. Check it out if you want. The important part--this gem was dropped, “Either you Elvis, or you ain’t.” At that point, Rob turned to me and said, “this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Turns out, it wasn’t even the best thing that was to happen to Rob that week. But that’s a story for him to tell, not me. I should also report that later, at a local drinking establishment known as The Garage, the Minnesota Vikings’ scouts won the party. Karaoke, shots, the whole deal. And me without my Favre jersey.

Finally, the game rolled around. By now the NFL people have left. There is a virtual tent city outside the stadium and the game of the day is trying to accumulate passes to the corporate sponsored tents where there are open bars and free food. After about a half of the game, I wandered out to the tents for a day of flowing drinks and bad decisions. I heard the South won, which was a shock to everyone given the dominance of the North’s lines during the practices. Also, Greg McElroy broke his throwing hand. Needless to say, my day was better than his. It’s always a tremendous time. This time next year, make your way down. I’ll let you buy me a beer.

Greg Dawkins is a sometimes lawyer, full-time roustabout, who can be reached on twitter @GBDawkins

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