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Our time at the NFL Draft

We were two of about twenty school journalists to experience the NFL Draft from behind the scenes.

There we were, shaking hands with the best players ever to play in the NFL, wondering how on earth we were able to have this opportunity.

Due to the Malvern football team being involved with a ‘7 v. 7’ tournament set up through the NFL, head coach Dave Gueriera received word through the NFL that they were looking for school journalists to have a backstage tour during the second day of the draft.

A few emails and a few weeks later, we were on the train heading down to Suburban Station, excited as ever.

After entering through the main gates, we spent an hour looking for “Gate M” – or the media tent where all the reporters for the program were supposed to meet. Located in the very back, behind the stage, we walked about a mile to meet up the other journalists and with the NFL Associate who was responsible for setting this up, Anastasia Ali.

There we were given stickers that said ‘NFL Draft Special Guest’ which granted us backstage access. The tour began through a walk in the Media Pavilion, where we saw how the sports reporters set up to do their job. There were rows of long tables to the right and interviews for talk and radio shows to the left. Through there, we saw the table that the NFL prospects sit down and get questioned by reporters.

After the Pavilion, we were allowed to see the Green Room, where NFL prospects sit during the draft and wait for their name to be announced to they could go onto the stage. All the tables had a grass centerpiece with footballs sitting on top of them.

We walked the same path these prospects walk down to the stage — which was the coolest part of the tour. We were standing on the actual stage, and standing at the podium Roger Goodell uses. What do you think is actually in the podium? Important papers? A button that blows up the NFL? A trap door? All these answers are incorrect. The right answer was: a trash can, apple juice, and a crushed up water bottle. Who would have thought?

After walking on the stage, taking as many photo opportunities as we could, we were given an hour of free time to roam the public concourse, which was open to everybody. Tents of Tony Luke’s, Chickies and Petes, and other Philadelphia trademarks riddled the food court, and two cheesesteaks later, we went back to the red carpet for the coolest moment of the trip: interviewing NFL legends. These included Robert Mathis, Thurman Thomas, Mike Alstott, upon others.

After interviewing the legends, we were free to roam about the draft experience on the Parkway. Stretching our “Special Guest” stickers as far as we could, we were able to convince one of the employees near the draft stage to get us seats inside the draft theater, where we were able to sit and watch as the picks were made and rejoice with other Eagles fans after they made their pick.

Unfortunately, we had to leave halfway through the second round to catch a train back to Malvern, but the experiences we had behind the scenes and meeting Hall of Fame NFL players were truly unforgettable.

About Henry Malone

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