Welcome to the Heartland
I’ve been alive for 29 years. It’s been a fun ride thus far. My old man was a truck driver and my mom a secretary. Just like a very large portion of our country I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon. Like millions of other Americans our family operated paycheck to paycheck, layaway item to layaway item. My mom and dad worked their asses off so my brother and I could play soccer all over the place… including in Europe a few times. The commitment to kicking balls in some fashion was all in hopes that I’d become the first one of our family to go to college… It worked.. I went (Definitely didn’t finish though.. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Kanye West didn’t either… sooo… I have no idea what the fuck that means actually). After college, on a whiskey filled April afternoon in 2009 I got a phone call from a 317 area code…“We just traded up to draft you. The last time we drafted a punter was 10 years ago. We hope the same thing happens with you. We think you’re athletic enough to figure out how to punt in the NFL, we can’t wait to watch you work” Bill Polian said. After that phone call my life became a whirlwind of emotion.
Ever since I was a child, all I wanted to do was set my family up with some cash and live life to the fullest.. The NFL was the cure for both of those. “Kick the hell out of some footballs, take care of the folks, and have a GREAT time” was the motto. So I did as such. The first time of my existence in which I had money and free time was directly after we lost the Super Bowl my rookie year. There was no question that the first city my boys and I wanted to go to was NYC. We walked a red carpet (It’s all bullshit), partied our faces off, and left with nothing but positive thoughts. I enjoyed the fuck out of NYC. Most city’s I travel to, I check it off a list of “Places I’ve Partied” and never really have the urge to go back, but NYC has something about it. There’s an energy. There’s a buzz, it’s impossible to go to sleep because it’s so fucking loud, but you get my point. Partying and being a tourist in NYC was fantastic, I just never understood the people that could live and work there. From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed like too much of everything all the time.
Last week I experienced life as a person who lived and worked in NYC. It was INCREDIBLE.. I couldn’t do it full time… but, it was incredible… It’s a hustler’s paradise. There are so many things to accomplish and endless amounts of things to do. We had our best lineup of guests, got to meet and hangout with some cool folks at the Barstool office, and learned SO much. I had never in my life sat in meetings like we did at Barstool HQ. So many numbers and so much data that show you exactly what you’re succeeding at and where you’re failing… (Facebook owns the world by the way, that was a very large portion of a meeting or 2) I had envisioned us a company that represented beautiful Indianapolis and the great Hoosier state, but to everybody’s surprise, including mine, we were getting an eye-opening amount of action from around the country (It’s the power of Barstool Sports, such an incredibly loyal and awesome fan base that rides or dies with whatever this company does. Businesses DREAM of a legion of fans like Barstool has. The Comedy Central numbers from Super Bowl week are some of the dumbest shit in history.. Stoolies dominated the television ratings in the first week of ever having a mainstream television show. That’s absurd).
Erika, Dave, The legendary Gaz, and our entire group from Indy sat in a meeting after seeing the numbers and decided we needed to be more encompassing for all of our fan base. Indianapolis will be home, but we wanted folks from other states to know we appreciated the hell out of our their fandom as well. A few names got tossed around but we landed on “Merica” because the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word is “Stereotypically American”(If that’s the vibe I’m putting off, I’m very proud of it by the way). We ran with it. Dave thought of it, Dave loved it, and I have 100% faith in Dave Portnoy. I could’ve kicked a few more years, I would’ve hated it and my knees would’ve been shot and all that, but an opportunity to learn from the dude who created the Internet was honestly something that was too good to pass up (Read that statement back in 10 years. I’m either going to be on “30 for 30 Broke 2” or an incredibly wealthy man because of it… 1 or the other, no chance of an in between). We had a brand new name and we had to go all in. We ran thru the city to create a video and launched the next night. We changed all of our social media handles, started searching for a new logo, new content ideas, new companies to sell stuff for, etc., etc.. Months of buildup for Barstool Indy was scratched and we had to go in a completely different direction to become a more “for our people” operation…
Well… it’s happening again. After a few days, all of us that were in the rebrand meeting, fell quickly out of love with the word “Merica” in our business name. We were still very much in love with the thought behind it though. The first name mentioned in the initial meeting was “Barstool Heartland”… analytics got in the way and we thought that it might box us in to another geographical location like Indy did. What we failed to realize was that “Heartland” isn’t a location. It’s a mindset. It doesn’t matter where you’re from if you work your ass off and love the United States… in our eyes you’re a member of The Heartland. #StereotypicallyAmericans have been rocking with us from all over and we’re very thankful. We have switched all of our handles to @BarstoolHrtland. This will be the name for the long haul (Expect a Barstool Hurtland line of shirts as well). We love our country, we love our military, we love life, and we keep it movin’. Welcome to Barstool Heartland. Check out the podcast to learn more. It’s above average I think.