Life in quarantine: A COVID-19 NFL photo gallery


Over the past few days, I’ve reached out to people in the NFL orbit—draftees, current players, a coach, a GM, a scout, the NFL administrator in charger of the Draftathon fundraiser, an ESPN analyst, a trainer to NFL players—to ask how their lives have changed in this unprecedented time, and where they are in life and livelihoods.

And I asked them to send me pictures.

A COVID-19 NFL gallery, April 2020:

Anna Isaacson
Senior vice president of social responsibility, NFL
Living in Brooklyn (temporarily)

Isaacson runs the league’s “Draftathon,” the COVID-19 TV and web fundraiser on draft weekend.

Anna Isaacson
NFL vice president Anna Isaacson, with son Theo, 4, in Brooklyn. (NBC Sports)

“My husband is an orthopedic surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan and Westchester. He’s doing virtual tele-health visits, working with families whose loved ones are being treated for COVID-19, and has different levels of exposure to the virus. We have a 4-year-old son, Theo. We made the decision three-plus weeks ago that my son and I would come to Brooklyn, where I grew up, to stay with my parents. My husband is staying in our apartment on the Upper West Side. I’ve been working full-time on draft, starting on calls and video conferences at 9:30 a.m., running maybe 10 hours, and then maybe more after Theo goes to bed, if I don’t pass out. Theo shows up on every call with the commissioner. He [Roger Goodell] just laughs and says, ‘How’s Theo today?’ He’s an active boy going through every symptom, every anxiety, full of confusion. It’s hard on Theo. He doesn’t really understand. Every day he says, ‘Text Daddy. Tell him to come and pick us up with the car.’ Being five months pregnant, I try to keep the stress down. But Brooklyn is so much of an epicenter.

“For me personally, from a social-responsibility perspective, this draft is so important. I feel such a responsibility at this time in our country to do this right. We do community events all the time, and they’re all important. But this one feels different. It feels weightier, heavier. This is our shot to unify people, to really help. I go to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about it. We’ve got to get it right.”

Justin Herbert
2020 NFL Draft quarterback prospect, Oregon
Living in Eugene, Ore.

Justin Herbert
The Herbert brothers in Oregon, left to right: Justin, age 22; Patrick, 19; Mitchell, 23. (NBC Sports)

“I’m back in Eugene with all my family, my [two] brothers, my parents. It’s been cool to get to spend time with them. I throw with my brothers. I’ll throw five days a week. I usually have some meetings [virtually, with NFL teams]. I’ve gotten pretty good with the Zoom meetings, actually. I lift on the back porch. We were sent some dumbbells and some free weights, so we go back there and lift. I watch some film, go golfing when I can. A couple golf courses here are still open. We’ve done our best to monitor who we come in contact with.

“This is an exciting time, as tough as it may be with everything that’s going on. I think it would’ve been really, really cool to be at the draft and it would’ve been a really special moment to just be there in general. Instead of that, being in Eugene, I’ve always loved Eugene and being here is really special. I know that my family will be there. Whatever happens, happens. If you get too caught up in what you can’t control, it doesn’t turn out your way all the time.”

Ted Karras
Center, Dolphins
Living in Mansfield, Mass.

Ted Karras
Dolphins center Ted Karras in Massachusetts. (NBC Sports)

“I’ve used some of my time to work toward my Master’s in Business Administration at Indiana University. I’ve been studying for a midterm in financial management, re-watching some of the lectures. This is kind of fun—[former Patriots teammate] Joe Thuney is going for the same degree. We have lectures Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., but they’re all recorded so you can go back and watch them any time. This is my second master’s. My first was in Recreation, Sports and Tourism, and when I finish this, I’ve got my next one planned at American Military University online. Astronomy. One of the great perks about being a player is you get $20,000 a year in education benefits, then more after you retire. It’s crazy: I’m going for six [Master’s degrees]. I got into Harvard to study literature, but that’s a pretty serious one. I’m going to save that for when I am done playing.

“I’ve been working out in the garage of one of my [former] Patriots teammates, Hjalte Froholdt. My wife and I are big Scrabble players, so we do some of that. Watch ‘The Office.’ Play Call of Duty. And I fixed a couple of holes in the drywall in our house. We’re in the same boat as everyone else.”

Louis Riddick
Draft analyst, ESPN
Living in Mullica Hill, N.J.

Louis Riddick
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick in New Jersey. (NBC Sports)

“Last year, we’re on the ESPN set in downtown Nashville, just to the right of the stage. Hundreds of thousands of people there. Absolutely electric—just like it’d have been this year in Vegas. Free-flowing, playing off one another’s comments. You could hear the excitement in our voices. Hyped up. Same way some players talk about needing and wanting and feeding off the crowd in games . . . you get a taste in a live draft setting. This year, I’ll be in my house in Jersey, in my office, with a camera and video return so I can see the telecast. Door shut. Just me in there. Quiet. Sterile. Talk about a 180 from what it would have been like in Vegas. Most of us will be working the draft in our own little silos.

“[Media-performance coach] Gerry Matalon used to say we had three jobs—to inform, to educate, and to entertain. The entertainment part’s really important this year. My hope would be we give the people, despite all the challenges we face globally, something they need in America right now. We’re all aware this has to be fun—and it will be.”

Tom Telesco
General manager, Chargers
Living in Newport Beach, Calif.

Tom Telesco
Chargers GM Tom Telesco in California. (NBC Sports)

“It is surreal to be home. I’ve never been home this much in my life. My [three] kids are upstairs in their rooms, doing their school stuff from about 8 to 2:30 every day. We don’t have a basement, so I’m at the dining room table with a Surface, an iPad, a Mac, an XOS computer, working as usual. I’m like a lot of people these days—we don’t have a land-line in our house, so we’ve got to get one put in, at least as a backup right now, in case cell service goes down on draft weekend.

“We left our building the 17th of March. We’re trying to carry on as we normally would, but it’s been adjustment. I never even heard of Zoom until we had to start using it. A lot of time has been spent on, ‘How are we going to set up and run a draft, logistically, from my house?’ The challenge of it is kind of invigorating. They say it’s a virtual draft. I don’t really get that. Nothing fake about it. It’s the real deal for us.”

Chris Harris
Cornerback, Chargers
Living in Dallas

Chris Harris
Chargers cornerback Chris Harris in Texas with daughters, left to right: Aria, 5; Amaris, 1; Avianna, 3. (NBC Sports)

“My days are pretty much the same. My wife and I take care of our four girls under 5 at home. Usually it’s a tag team. My wife has the baby—she’s four months old—and I handle the other three. We have a pool, so I go swimming with them. They like soccer and basketball, so we play a lot of that.

“I work out with five guys, younger guys, and my trainer, Ronnie Braxton, at a field here, five days a week, from 11 till 1:30 or 2. In the past, we used to have 20, 25 guys in the workouts, but my trainer cut it down this year because of the virus. All the weight rooms here are shut down, so we’ve taken our weights out onto a football field and created this really spread-out weight area. It’s like one of those Field Day areas when you were a kid. We don’t come into contact because of the virus. We used to do 7-on-7s, but not this year due to the virus. I am cautious. I don’t touch my face. As soon as I get home, all my stuff goes right into the washer, and I don’t touch the girls, don’t touch anything.

“It’ll be a strange year, whatever happens. I was a rookie in the [2011] lockout. The whole NFL was on hold, waiting for the CBA. My advice for guys is you better be in shape whenever camp starts. The teams that have been together, that didn’t have a lot of turnover, will have a big advantage.”

Terrell Lewis
2020 NFL Draft linebacker prospect, Alabama
Living in Hyattsville, Md.

Terrell Lewis
Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis with grandmother Pinky in Maryland. (NBC Sports)

“I work out once or twice a day, talk to a bunch of teams, watch TV. Killing time. Same old same old. Today I went to get some food after my workout, and they were really paranoid there about how I ordered the food. I went to hand them the menu and they said, ‘Just put it down.’ Crazy. But I understand—being really careful with this virus.

“I’ve been mostly using Zoom to have meetings with some teams. Green Bay, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Tennessee, Detroit. That’s been completely weird. I talked to one team with my shirt off, looking kind of rough. I need a haircut. Today, I talked to coach [Matt] Patricia and the staff with the Lions. On those calls, we talk ball, their scheme, watch film, talk about my upbringing, my journey at Alabama, how I fit in their team, what I’m doing with my money to make sure I take care of it. We get to know each other a little bit. I want to make them feel comfortable with me as a person.

“The draft will be so different. Having a draft party taken away—you can’t truly cherish the moment like you wanted to growing up. Even after the draft, we have no idea when we’ll go to our team. You’re training, but for what? OTAs? Camp? The season? You try not to think about how long this will last.”

Michael Pierce
Southeast region scout, Rams
Living in Daphne, Ala.

Michael Pierce
Rams scout Michael Pierce in Alabama. (NBC Sports)

“I was at the Clemson Pro Day [March 12], and it was a nervous time for a lot of the scouts. You’re thinking, ‘Is it best to be on the road right now?’ After that, I was driving to Georgia Southern for their Pro Day, and I was told we were coming off the road. I flew home from Atlanta, and I’ve been home since. We have draft meetings, and we all get on

Microsoft Teams, and each scout comes onto the screen to talk about his guys. Actually, some of what I’m doing is watching tape of next year’s class. We’re working ahead.

“What I like about this year is we’re concentrating on the player, on the basics of the player. We’ve been to the schools, we’ve watched him play, we’ve watched his tape. We know the player. Now we fall in love with the player, not the story. You know what I mean? These guys are so polished now that sometimes opinions get changed on guys based on interviews and things like that. This year, there’s not as much face-to-face, but to me, scouting comes down to tape.

“It’s a weird time, a scary situation. I try to filter it out. The show goes on.”

Ron Rivera
Coach, Washington
Living in northern Virginia

Ron Rivera
Washington coach Ron Rivera in Virginia. (NBC Sports)

“Being a new head coach now, the last time I was in this position in Carolina was during the [2011] lockout. So I didn’t get to meet my football team until the day we started training camp. This is not uncharted territory. We’re just waiting to see from the NFL and NFLPA when we can start this virtual coaching with our players in our off-season program. Because I was the first head coach hired this year, I was able to get my coaching staff hired, and get the playbook ready, so we were way ahead of the curve. We’ll have virtual meetings with our players and start our installation. What I’ve told our coaches, ‘Keep it simple. Stick to the core, stick to the meat. We’ve got to be really good at the simple things.’

“As far as the draft goes, one of the things we’ve said is at the very beginning of the clock, if we don’t have anything going, we’re not going to waste time. We’re moving on. This is going to test you, to find out just how good your basics are, how good your college scouting department is, how good you are as evaluators, determining whether or not the guy is going to fit you. It’s interesting. We’re kind of going back to the basics, the fundamentals of scouting and coaching.”

Ryan Capretta
Strength and conditioning trainer
Living in Westlake Village, Calif.

Ryan Capretta
Trainer Ryan Capretta, left, running a Zoom workout with Chargers safety Derwin James. (NBC Sports)

Capretta, a former NFL strength-and-conditioning coach, runs athlete-training firm ProActive Sports Performance in southern California. Multiple trainers in ProActive work with 30 current NFL players and about 20 draft prospects—usually in person. But this spring, Aaron Rodgers, Derwin James, David Bakhtiari and Clay Matthews, among others, work with Capretta virtually.

“Normally we work with guys 1-on-1 or in small groups, but now we either send a guy a detailed program or work with him over FaceTime or Zoom. Today I did a Zoom workout with Derwin James. I was in my garage workout space, he was at his home. It lasts about an hour. We do what I call three rounds. Round one is to get the blood flowing, wake the body up. Round two is the meat of it, with high-intensity intervals and minimal rest. Then he chills out for a minute or two. Round three is the finisher. I zap him. Maybe a split-squat holding dumbells to the side, some high-knee jump-ropes. Then I might say, ‘Derwin, hit the hill.’ He’s got a hill behind his house, and he’ll go do two sprints up the hills, maybe eight seconds each, then come back. Then we’ll do a stability exercise and cool down.

“It works out great. Different guys work out differently. With Aaron, I send him a detailed program, and he’s good with doing it himself. David Bakhtiari, he has a program, but I’ll Zoom or Facetime him in. We do so many different things here. Clay Matthews has a beautiful home gym, so he works out there; he’s been with us for over a decade. We Zoom guys in, and do conditioning, strength, yoga and mobility work. Is it perfect? No. But it works. When you’re working out, you get into the zone, and it’s really not that big a difference. We can BS with guys over Zoom just like we’re there with them.”

Steven Hauschka
Kicker, Bills
Living in Newport Beach, Calif.

Steven Hauschka
Bills kicker Steven Hauschka, with son Jones and wife Lindsay in California. (NBC Sports)

“I’ve got a 2-and-a-half-year-old son, and my wife Lindsey and I are expecting another boy in a month. We’re trying to be super-cautious. We decided to have a home birth, and that decision looks even better now. I probably wouldn’t be allowed in the delivery room in the hospital now. Being home so much, I’ve taken a deep dive into cooking. Made some pretty good pizza this week. And I’m with Jones, my son, most of the day. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for snails and playing with trucks . . . and reading up on potty-training. I know there’s chaos in different parts of the country right now, but there’s also a lot of goodness in society now, with things slowing down. People have hit the pause button. I see neighbors talking to neighbors.

“I’ve been doing FaceTime workouts with my trainer. I’m able to use kettle bells, TRX, the Keiser Functional Trainer and Pilates equipment.

“It’s a really unique time. It’s super weird. So many livelihoods—we’re all in a state of limbo. Still, I feel fortunate to be alive right now in this great country.”

Read the rest of Peter King’s FMIA column by clicking here

Super Bowl squares 2023: Explanation, how to play, rules and printable template


Star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are set to go head-to-head today, Super Bowl Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

Even if you’re home watching on the couch, you can still get in on the action by filling out your squares, which has become a Super Bowl tradition.

What are Super Bowl squares and what is the format?

A board features 10 rows and 10 columns, adding up to 100 squares total. One of the teams is assigned the rows, while the other team is assigned the columns.

RELATED: What food to eat during Super Bowl LVII

Each person in the pool then chooses one (or multiple) squares, depending on your pool’s rules. In some pools, squares are randomly assigned, while you may choose your own square in other pools.

After all the squares have been filled, numbers between zero and nine are randomly chosen for each row and column.

How do Super Bowl squares work? How do I win?

Each square has a corresponding row and column number. At the end of each quarter, the player whose two numbers match the end digits of each team’s point total will win.

RELATED: Why does the Super Bowl use Roman numerals for naming?

For example, if the score at the end of the first quarter is Chiefs 13, Eagles 7, the player whose box corresponds with “3” for Kansas City and “7” for Philadelphia would win.

Most pools pay out for the final score at the end of each quarter, for a total of four winners (1st quarter, halftime, 3rd quarter, final score). Some pools pay out for every score throughout the game.

Where can I find a template for Super Bowl squares?

NBC Sports has provided a template below, complete with a 10 by 10 grid. Fans can click here to print this template out to use for their Super Bowl squares.

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season and Playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

Marry Your Passion With Your Curiosity: Panelists Discuss Building Your Brand in Leadup to Super Bowl LVII


Fans in every color jersey of the rainbow internationally will tune into Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday. Ahead of the game, NBCU Academy partnered with PNE Showcase and Arizona State University to bring students and professionals an inside look at the people who color outside the lines for the National Football league.

The three powerhouses co-hosted the Building and Being Your Brand seminar in hopes of helping students and other national professionals identify their brand and the best ways to communicate the pillars of their brand to the masses.

There are just under 4,000 people employed by the NFL, which makes for hundreds of job paths within the league. As the panel began, NFL international marketing and player relations manager Emily Wirtz spoke about how her roots in Germany translated into the role she has now.

The first door opened for Wirtz in the NFL was as a digital video editor and producer. Wirtz transparently admitted she did not feel qualified for the job but with an extra push from her father, she decided to still go after the interview.

“My dad told me that even if I do not land the job, it will at least be good interview practice,” Wirtz said.

RELATED: How to watch Super Bowl 2023

Wirtz still thanks her father to this day. Her video supervisor learned she spoke German and instantly recommended her for a role within the NFL’s global expansion. She would go on to execute the first NFL game in Germany. Germany’s first official exposure to American football at the highest level sold out of millions of tickets in three minutes.

“When we are on the way to these international games in London, Germany and Mexico City, the NFL staff, we’re usually on a big bus or van,” Wirtz said. “In the van it’s about 40 of us and we’re literally trying to find a fan in one of the jerseys of all 32 teams. When we see someone we are like Chargers, Rams or whatever the team is! Every international game I’ve been to, all 5, we’ve been able to spot someone in each jersey.”

By showing up as her authentic self, Wirtz was able to leverage her job. All five of the panelists promoted a “helmet-off” approach to the game. This idea promotes getting to know the stories of the players to help advance the game.

Director of NFL college and club social marketing Sana Merchant-Rupani discussed taking on tasks that require you to grow. Before joining the league, Merchant-Rupani worked in digital marketing at Empire State Realty Trust. In the position, she was tasked with creating an Instagram presence for the company.

Merchant-Rupani had no experience with Instagram when taking on this task but it directly led her into her current role.

RELATED: Super Bowl national anthem 2023

“You have to marry your passion with your curiosity,” Merchant-Rupani said.

Senior manager of NFL game operations Karley Berry further emphasized Merchant-Rupani’s message by presenting the contrast. Berry posited that if a job is presented to someone and they check off all the job requirements, then the job is not for them.

The entire audience was initially confused by the statement but as Berry went on, she explained you must take a job that will offer you something new and will leave you with an extra skill you did not have going into the position.

Prior to stepping into the game operations realm, Berry took her first step into the football world when she was a recruiting assistant at Penn State University.

Growing up around Nittany Lion football her entire life, she knew the brand of the university’s football team. While in State College, PA, she challenged the recruitment staff to go after men with outstanding character.

“When we would go on home visits, I would make sure to pay attention,” Berry said. Berry wanted to be intentional with her tactics and believed the best players were those that were good people on and off the field.

Merchant-Rupani, Berry and Wirtz all used elements of their personal brand to succeed in their current spaces to get to their dream work destination. This message was passed on to the audience through painting their journey through experiences.

“We all know about Patrick Mahomes. There are other stories,” senior manager of NFL social marketing Jordan Dolbin said.

RELATED: Chiefs Super Bowl history

Dolbin called on storytellers to push their limits. She wanted to ensure she was challenging audience members to go beneath the surface of the performers with the best stat numbers.

She brought up a story she came across during her Super Bowl preparation that was a “where are they now’ approach to telling the stories of all the players that caught interceptions against Maholmes in high school.

“Now, that is the story I will remember when this is all over,” Dolbin said.

Cincinnati Bengals special teamer Trayveon Williams added his experience to the panel, emphasizing exploring his other interests outside of football. He also commended today’s players for the tenacity in their approach to leaving a legacy outside of football.

The panel agreed collectively their main reason for taking time away from all the Super Bowl work obligations and festivities was to provide the representation they did not see while carving out their career paths.

NBCU Academy will be virtually hosting the Next Level Summit on March 22, 2023.

Author’s Note: Alexis Davis is currently in her last semesters in Walter Cronkite’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor’s from North Carolina A&T State University in multimedia journalism in May 2022. Davis is a featured writer for the MEAC conference. Davis also switches between play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter for the PAC-12 conference’s app. She also hosts a podcast focusing on international basketball players and their fashion experiences called What’s in Your Bag?