The following post is by Erin Sharoni, one of Fila’s REAL Women of the Toning Collection and the co-host of CNBC Sports Biz: Game On with Darren Rovell, which airs Fridays at 7:00 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.
On Sunday, February 5th, over 100 million Americans will tune in to what is arguably the biggest televised sporting event of the year: Super Bowl XLVI.
In what promises to be a tense rematch, the New England Patriots will attempt to exact revenge on the New York Giants for their 2008 Super Bowl loss. Die-hard football fans and casual spectators alike will gather to indulge in food, stake their wages, and comment on a slew of highly anticipated commercials.
There’s one thing, however, that most Super Bowl viewers will be missing out on: The ability to chat with their favorite players.
It may seem far-fetched to assume that anyone other than a handful of privileged reporters would be afforded the luxury of speaking directly to the stars of the day, but technology has once again changed the game. There’s a new player in town: Gridiron Grunts.
Gridiron Grunts is a unique mobile communication platform created by athletes, for athletes and their fans. The application allows pro-football players to deliver unfiltered audio messages, known as “grunts,” directly to their fans. It also allows fans to send their personal audio messages, in turn, directly to the players.
Gridiron Grunts is the brainchild of two former NFL players, offensive lineman Jeb Terry and defensive linebacker Ryan Nece. A seemingly odd couple given their respective positions, Jeb and Ryan became close friends during the four years they played together for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As pro-athletes, they became intimately familiar with the communication barriers that exist between athletes and their fans. According to Jeb, they view Gridiron Grunts “as a way for athletes to control and manage their brand in a way that they haven’t been able to do in the past, while creating authentic communication with fans.”
It is the authentic communication with fans that Ryan Nece, a Super Bowl champion himself (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl XXVII), emphasizes the importance of. He notes that athletes on Twitter and Facebook have the option of designating their communication to a manager or publicist. Because the Gridiron Grunts platform relies on voice, the player himself must deliver the message. Leveraging the power of the human voice to foster the opportunity for a literal conversation between athletes and fans is what makes Gridiron Grunts so unique, according to Ryan.
Gridiron Grunts boasts an impressive roster of current NFL players, including popular Patriots players Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, Giants breakout star Victor Cruz and Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw—all of whom, barring injury, will be out on the field this Sunday.
One thing is certain: Two of those four athletes will emerge from the weekend victorious, as Super Bowl XLVI Champions.
Undoubtedly, the winners will want to share their elation, the defeated may want to explain their failures, and fans of either team will want to question, comment, lament and celebrate. Gridiron Grunts will be the place where the stories of Super Bowl XLVI are told, in the words of those who experienced it.
photos and video are courtesy of Gridiron Grunts