The 2010 NFL 101 Crew

In its continued mission to bring an NFL team and a Super Bowl to Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission hosted its annual NFL 101 event last week. It is the only NFL sanctioned event in the Los Angeles area, and it was beyond entertaining.

They threw in a little Andrea Kremer, a fiery Herm Edwards, a cool Chargers quarterback in Philip Rivers, and ex head of officiating and current Fox NFL Rules Analyst, Mike Pereira. Then they added an interesting tiff between Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask. They included the always entertaining NFL front man Rich Eisen going toe to toe with super agents, Marvin Demoff, David Dunn and Jerome Stanley with some fascinating NFL CBA talk. They tossed in some NFL coaching from ex head coach and current NFL Network and FOX Analyst Brian Billick, Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery, Giants WR Steve Smith, Bucs RB Derrick Ward and some NFL like training camp drills. Then they mixed it all up inside the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and that produced one fun-filled NFL night.

The evening started with a mini training camp on the stadium floor where the fans in attendance could participate in running routes, catching passes, throwing passes, and kicking field goals. It was the NFL 101’s version of NFL combine drills.

Brian Billick coached up the would be QBs as they prepared to throw the football through a hole in the boards placed five, ten and fifteen yards away from the line of scrimmage in the Quarterback Accuracy Challenge. New York Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery aided fans in their attempts to run pristine routes and catch passes from a throwing machine in the Wide Receiver Challenge.

Seattle Seahawks new Head Coach, Pete Carroll was back in his old home stadium. He looked right at home under the California sun signing copies of his book, Win Forever: Live, Work and Play Like a Champion.

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll

Then as the warm sun started to set in the sky behind the upper deck of the old stadium, the event really took off. As the fans in attendance sat down for a great dinner provided by Wolfgang Puck, Andrea Kremer hosted a panel to preview the upcoming NFL season, and that’s when the fireworks started.

No, not in the sky, mind you. Fireworks between Peter King and Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask. Now I was not at the event last year, but from the sounds of it, Peter and Amy got after each other then as well. This year the debate between King and Trask got heated when the subject of the new NFL overtime rules was broached. Peter was in favor of the new rules, saying, “Fans don’t want to see a long field goal to win the game in overtime. They feel cheated.”

Amy replied that a kicker kicking a long field goal was just as exciting as any other play in football. She recalled that one of the most exciting moments in her life was watching Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski kick a team-record 57-yard field goal with 2:30 left in overtime to beat the Jets back in October of 2008. To which Mike Pereira replied, “Most exciting? We’ve got to talk to your husband about that!”

Trask went on to say that winning a game in overtime with a field goal is no different than a kick return for a TD ending sudden death. So Peter King went on to ask the fans in attendance the following question, “Which would you rather see, a Devin Hester kick-off return for a touchdown or a 57-yard field goal to win the game?”

It was a unanimous decision – a Devin Hester TD! Although I cannot provide proof, I believe the only people voting for the field goal either worked for the Raiders organization or were related to Trask.

What does it say about a team when they can only get excited about their kicking game?

Herm Edwards

Herm Edwards

Herm Edwards got involved in the overtime rules talk by jumping out of his seat. Literately, Herm jumped out of his seat and started a fiery speech about the players wanting to be on the field in overtime. He could not be contained and as he jumped around on the stage for a few minutes, he followed up his famous, “You play to win the game!” exclamation with this new gem regarding what players think of the new overtime rule.

You play to play the game!”

And with that, the evening was over. Andrea Kremer thanked everyone for attending, and invited everyone back next year with the hopes of the event being bigger and brighter. I’ll be there to catch King/Trask III.

So for now, the waiting game continues in Los Angeles for an NFL team, but at least you can catch current and former players and coaches at the LASEC’s annual NFL event.


Faces In The Crowd:
Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Rivers was as nice as you could expect. He was sincere and honest about what the Chargers needed to do to start fast this year amidst the many issues facing the team right now. L.T. gone. Antonio Cromartie gone. Vincent Jackson suspended and possibly holding out, and even Lights Out Merriman unhappy with his contact. At one point, I thought he was about to pummel Jeff for coming over and cutting in right in the middle of our interview.

I quickly said, “That’s OK Philip. This is my crazy co-host.” I am always having some fun at Jeff’s expense. After that, Philip took a few more questions from me and answered them all like a champ. Make sure you listen to Episode 6.13 to hear the interview.

Chargers QB Phillip Rivers

Chargers QB Phillip Rivers

Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery
Jerricho sold us on Rex Ryan in the first thirty seconds of our interview. He also answered our “different” question with a smile. Jeff asked, “If you could not be working in sports, what he would you be doing?”

Jerricho smiled and said, “I’d probably be writing music.” So regardless, he would be entertaining someone somewhere.

Next, I proceeded to inform him that I had once mispronounced his last name as Crotch-ery while on air, to which he shared a story regarding his last name. He said, “That’s OK. I’ve heard them all, Crotch-y, Crooter-y, Coochie, and Co-cherry. That was my nickname in high school. Someone said it wrong once, and it stuck. I was Co-cherry all through high school.” He even granted me permission to call him that the next time I saw him.

Giants WR Steve Smith
Steve was pretty quiet but immediately turned feisty when Jeff informed him that I was a huge Cowboys fan. I asked Steve if he was going to continue to light up the Cowboys and he quickly answered, “For sure!”

ESPN’s NFL Live Analyst Marcellus Wiley
I walked up to Wiley and said, “I was sorry to see you leave the Cowboys.”
Wiley simply replied, “I wasn’t.”

NFL Total Access Host Rich Eisen
Jeff and I walked up to Rich on the field of the stadium and Jeff quickly paid Rich a compliment for wearing a Seersucker jacket and Rich had a good laugh at that. We then proceeded to talk about the possibility of a work stoppage in 2011 and we all agreed that hopefully it would not come to that. I had fun with Rich at Dan Patrick’s expense recalling a recent interview Rich did on the DP Show. Maybe Dan will say hello next time before asking questions.

Rich then introduced us to Paul Salata. You know Paul. He announces the final pick of the NFL draft every year and founded “Mr. Irrelevant” and “Irrelevant Week”. We said our good-byes and let the two of them catch up.

L.A. Times NFL Writer Sam Farmer
Sam was a guest on the show last year and he quickly asked, “What happened to you guys?” We sort of lost touch with Sam as the season progressed, so we vowed to have him back on throughout the show this year. Jeff commented on Sam’s success after being on our show, but I will not embarrass either men by going into detail on that one.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King
It was good to see Peter again. We passed on our condolences on the loss of his brother, and he was gracious enough to share some personal stories about his brother. We talked about the season and Jeff asked him which team Jeff should align his allegiance to this season. Peter asked Jeff, “What are you looking for, a team that will be fun to watch or a team that is going to win the Super Bowl?”

Jeff said he wanted a team that would go all the way. Peter told us that he was sticking by his San Diego Chargers versus Green Bay Packers Super Bowl, but that if Jeff wanted a fun team to watch all year long, he should pick the Carolina Panthers. Peter really likes quarterback Matt Moore and thinks the Panthers will impress people this year and have an exciting season.