Gameday, 7:00 p.m. – Making Introductions

Pregame introductions seem straightforward enough from the stands: they inflate the giant helmet, the cheerleaders run out of it, the players step into it, the announcer calls their names, they run onto the field, everyone cheers, cue the football game.

As with just about every other element of hosting a football game, it takes some work behind the scenes to make it look that simple.

This is Will Norman, director of public relations for your Washington Redskins.

Will has a lot of different responsibilities, but the one that’s important to us this evening is that he’s managing part of the player introductions. Specifically, he’s holding back the Redskins starting offense to be introduced individually, sending out the rest of the team, and reminding everyone that there are fireworks in the endzone and they should try not to get lit on fire.

First, though, he has to run across to the Bills tunnel to make sure that the guy managing Bills introductions is all set. (He is.)

Then, just after he’s run back to the Redskins tunnel, two officials grab him and take him back underneath the stadium to discuss a discrepancy of one minute on the schedule. (Literally, one minute: are player introductions at 7:02 or 7:03?)

With that squared away, Will heads underneath the inflated helmet as the Redskins make their way from the locker room.

As more and more of the team emerges, the small space begins to fill up with very large men, all of whom are very fired up. It is Will’s job to shout “Starting offense stay back!” and “Pyro in the endzone!” over and over again, loudly, until they have all heard him. I do not ask him, but I imagine the knowledge that HE WILL BE BLAMED if one of these highly paid, talented individuals catches fire is somewhat nerve-wracking.

Thankfully, none of them do, and the starting offense is successfully held back for individual intros.

That’s it for Will — he heads out to the sideline with the players, this one small aspect of his work done. But it’s not it for the introductions. First, the helmet must be deflated, the mats around it removed. Then the deflated helmet must be forced off the field and back up the tunnel, a process that is not as easy as you might imagine.

The stuck helmet causes a bottleneck, holding up not only me, but a number of other people trying to get to their seats, and the color guard as well. When the helmet finally releases, the Hogettes salute the color guard as they to head up the tunnel and out.

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4 Responses

  1. I love your blog. The behind the scenes stuff is great–please keep it coming!!

  2. Hey Matt- great coverage of Gameday. Just a question- Did Jason Taylor play at all in this game? He wasn’t listed as a projected started. I taped the game, but it is not on until 4 AM in Ohio, so I was just wondering! Thanks.

  3. Matt – Good stuff. I really like learning how the “Redskins’ Machine” works – from your perspective.

    Having you with the team is like being there myself.

  4. Matt,

    I am really enjoying this opportunity to keep up with the team from afar and learn from your behind the scenes perspective. Keep ’em coming!

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