Pretty, pretty good: How one NFL executive landed on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Seahawks
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I’m a “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-aholic. It’s the Larry David show on HBO with humor that appeals to most of us and turns off others; it’s Seinfeldian with mature and cringeworthy themes. The Seinfeld part is understandable, since David was one of the creators of the show. This is the story of how Seahawks vice president of communications, Dave Pearson, landed on one of the great “Curb” episodes ever—last week’s show about a Jets’ fan so distraught about the team’s performance that he kills himself—and the tentacles of the show that had to do with a golf outing.

Seattle’s general manager, John Schneider, runs a charity with his wife called Ben’s Fund, which fundraises to help families of children on the autism spectrum. At the Ben’s Fund gala in 2018, ardent Seahawks fan Jeff Schaffer, one of the executive producers of “Curb,” donated an auction item to die for (if you’re a “Curb” fan): a walk-on role in a future episode of the show. “My favorite show, by far,” Pearson said. “I love everything about it.” At the event, Pete Carroll asked Pearson’s wife Beth, “If I get this for Dave, will he do it? Will he go through with it?” Of course he would, Carroll was told. So Carroll made the winning bid, it got announced, and he said to Dave: “That’s for you.”

“Pete’s as gracious, generous and compassionate a boss as you could have,” Pearson said. “That was amazing to do.”

Pearson had a choice of two roles, both at Larry’s golf club: He could be a guy in a towel in the men’s locker room, or he could be a golfer appealing to the club pro for a favorable ruling on the course. That was easy; Pearson wasn’t going to be on TV in nothing but a towel. So he flew to Los Angeles 13 months ago to tape his part of the show. He was going to have two lines of dialog at the course, with Larry and Ed Begley Jr., standing nearby. Pearson was asked if he had any problem using profanity. “Swearing is my best quality,” he said. The day before, he practiced his two lines, totaling 24 words. When he got to the course, he had his own trailer, and took a van with the actors (David in the front seat, with Begley Jr. and Richard Lewis in the van) to a spot on the course. His scene as an aggrieved golfer, took four takes. “What was tough,” Pearson said, “is my scene had to be timed up perfectly with Larry and Ed Begley Jr.—as soon as Ed finishes, I have to start, and Ed Begley Jr. walks behind us during the scene. And I had to stand a little awkwardly so the camera could show Larry watching our scene.

Pearson, in red golf sweater, next to playing partner, to club pro Jimmy: “Jimmy, what’s the rule on this? He swung, the club head fell off, but he followed through. That’s a stroke, right?”

Jimmy: “Decision 4 dash 2. A strike is defined by forward movement of a club to the ball. The shaft itself is not a club. No penalty.”

Playing partner: “YES!”

Pearson, walking away: “F— you, Jimmy!”

Jimmy: “Read the rule book!”

Afterward, Pearson had lunch with David, Lewis, Begley and the actors. “They couldn’t have been any more welcoming. And yes, Larry loves the Jets. He talked about the Jets.”

“Awesome, fabulous, wonderful experience,” Pearson said. “They said I did fine. It was different than I thought it’d be. But the toughest part was watching it on TV with my mother-in-law in the room.”

There are some rather adult themes in this episode. And spoiler alert: Austin Seferian-Jenkins name is in there. Twice. Oh, the pain of the Jets fan.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.