Instead of making this an encyclopedia entry that takes 30 minutes to read, I'm going to do this diary style.
(Prelude - for people wondering how in the hell I'm friends with the Gronks, this explains it. Long story short, the Blackout Tour.)
- Arrived at Sen. Patrick McCarran International Airport bright and early. (They officially changed the name last year but Harry Reid can suck my dick.)
- A few months ago I wrote a pretty convincing blog about how the 2024 Super Bowl will be played in Las Vegas and that every Super Bowl following it should be as well. (As should all Final Fours) Long story short- it's the perfect host city. More than enough hotel rooms for all budgets and class levels. High end dining out the wazoo. Low end dining out the wazoo. The entertainment capital of the world. Plenty of event space. Tons of gentlemen's clubs. Thunder from Down Under for the ladies. Legal sports betting. And on and on and on. I've been to 11 Super Bowls now and I can say the best city to host so far believe it or not was Indianapolis. The worst by far was Jacksonville. (I didn't do Detroit or NY/NJ).
- Anyway, the good people at the Las Vegas board of tourism caught wind of my blog and loved it. So much so that they invited me out for the draft weekend with promises of transportation, rooming, and meals taken care of. I appreciatively declined since I already had plans and accommodations to be out there for the draft, "working" (I have a residency at Zouk Nightclub at the brand new Resorts World), but asked if I could still partake in the media activities. They said yes of course and sent me the itinerary.
I thought it had to be a trap because it was too good to be true.
Witnessing Dave firsthand get carried out of the Patriots Post Game Celebration Party a few years ago in Atlanta by security, AFTER being dragged out of the stadium earlier by security, I knew Barstool was persona non grata with regards to the NFL. (Except for the millions in free marketing and coverage we toss their way every year. That parts cool.) (Sidebar- at the after party Dave sadly didn't go dead fish.
He was busy showing me how his jeans ripped straight down the middle of his ass from how hard the stadium security was with him when all of a sudden more NFL suits appeared out of nowhere and grabbed him. If Kraft's son hadn't been there to witness it and tell them to leave him alone who knows what would have happened? We could have had another Jimmy Hoffa incident on our hands.)
But sure enough my contact confirmed I would be cool for credentials to work the red carpet on Thursday's Draft Kick Off and get to mingle and rub elbows with all the future pros, their families, and all the big J journos.
Aside from maybe the first two rounds of projected picks I admittedly don't know dick so I hit up the expert to see if he could come join me. (They say the sign of true genius is knowing what you don't know). So I asked Steven Cheah if he wanted to come attend with me and shoot some content. He couldn't have said no fast enough because his dog ate his homework or something so I was basically shit out of luck. I would have asked Brandon but I don't think he likes me and I don't have his number. So I was rolling solo.
In the end it worked out though because sure enough, when my name got submitted for credentials to the shield, it turned out that "they ran out of credentials and didn't have as many as they originally thought... so sorry."
- It was all good. I went down by Bellagio to scope out the scene on my own and was pretty blown away.
For as insecure, ̶r̶a̶c̶i̶s̶t̶,̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶o̶g̶y̶n̶i̶s̶t̶i̶c̶,̶ ̶b̶i̶a̶s̶,̶ ̶a̶m̶o̶r̶a̶l̶,̶ ̶g̶r̶e̶e̶d̶y̶,̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶h̶o̶n̶e̶s̶t̶, and unjust the people at the top of the league are, the people behind the scenes, in NFL Productions, and the people who never get any credit for doing all the grunt work are incredible at their jobs.
This is the third Draft now that I've attended (the first was in Chicago a few years ago, and last year in Cleveland) and they have knocked them all so far out of the park.
From the setup of everything, to the logistics, ample security making everyone feel safe, plenty of bathrooms, concessions, shelter from the elements, loud enough sound, you name it and they have it covered. From an event of this scale standpoint, it's pretty impressive. Hats off to the people behind the scenes.
- Vegas did an unbelievable job situating this giant spectacle too. They closed off the strip pretty far down on each end so you could walk freely from the majority of the hotels right to ground zero which was in front of The Linq and across the street at Bellagio.
The weather was absolutely perfect.
- It's insane how many Jets fans were in town for the weekend chanting J-E-T-S EVERYWHERE they went. They're fucking deranged.
- It was also insane that there had to be 200,000 people congregating within the NFL Draft grounds with no masks on yet ESPN didn't allow Mel Kiper Jr. to attend in person because he's not triple vaxed.
- I'm getting sick of seeing Goodell's face and him pretending to enjoy the boos.
This is PR 101 right here. Everybody on the planet knows The Ginger Dicklord has the thinnest skin of all time.
So of course one of the dozen PR firms the NFL hires to do all its dirty work, bury its dead bodies, and wag the dog for it told Roger to lean in to it. The more he shows apathy or that it gets to him the worse it's going to be. And sure enough they're right.
The last thing anybody wants to do is give this prick what he wants. So when he tries his best to play heel and beckon more boos, it kind of takes the wind out of your sails.
So here's what I'm proposing.
Next season, we dig up this lady from The Princess Bride and sit her dead center front row. When Goodell approaches the podium, everybody plays dead silent. His mental midget brain will be so confused he'll probably freeze with stage fright. At that point we let her, and only her loose, so that the microphones can pick everything up perfectly.
(Not to mention, we all know Stern perfected this act. Goodell attempting to mimick it is a slap in the face.)
- The Patriots traded down (obviously) to then draft a guy ESPN didn't even have a footage package on ready to roll (classic Belichick) leaving people like me to scratch their heads wondering why a guy so brilliant insists on trying to outthink everybody come every April. Imagine how invincible BB would be with an actual GM?
- I ended the night having dinner with my dad who I've reconnected with after not speaking to each other for 20 years (another story for another blog) at Smith and Wollensky at The Venetian where his buddy Ronan works. Ronan is the head bartender there and knows EVERYBODY. He told me stories for 3 hours about his close friend Bob Stoops and how he met him.
Turns out like 10-15 years ago Bob Stoops stopped into S&W for dinner and drinks and started chatting Ronan up. After learning he was from Ireland, he quizzed him on his favorite sport, which was rugby. Ronan went on and on and on about it to him. Stoops asked him if he knew anything about American Football, and he replied "not really". Stoops followed that up by asking if he had ever heard of the Oklahoma Sooners, and Ronan said, "yes actually, they can never win the big one." Stoops almost fell out of his chair and the two have been friends ever since.
Ronan got to stand on the sidelines for all the big OK games, attend his hall of fame ceremony, and is great friends with his family. He had some great personal stories, and told me all about the best and worst tippers in Vegas (Best= Dana White and its not even close. Everybody in the city will tell you that. He goes above and beyond to take care of everybody. Worst = MJ and Tiger). I could have listened to this guy talk for 10 hours. Was a great night.
- Now it was party time. Gronk Beach, part 2, was officially kicking off.
At the one and only Encore Beach Club at Encore.
What a fuckin party this turned out to be.
For starters, we managed to time it perfectly with #TeamJB official hype man Mojo's bachelor party- (Sidebar - for those OG Stoolies out there, in one of the WILDEST turn of events showing just how small the world truly is, Mojo is engaged to OG Barstool employee Gracie Tracy)
- so we brought back almost the entire crew for the weekend. Something that hasn't been done in like 5 years.
DJ Irie from Miami opened up
He conducted a dance contest amongst the brothers-
(Glenn won it easily)
We got a nice USA chant going after Mojo and Rob gave a shout out to all our servicemen and women in the crowd-
Travis Kelce randomly showed up
Even more randomly, Russell Westbrook showed up
Somehow that little weasel Darren Rovell weasled his way into the party and was sniping pictures. He posted this horrible photo of me like the little pervert he is
(Full disclosure, it is no easy feat to work up the courage to go skins with the Gronkowski family. That said, what a horrible look from me. Awful posture. Soft as fuck. I have a lot of work to do before summer.)
- Julian Edelman made a surprise appearance. I looked up and saw him doing pull-ups from the truss with his button-down shirt open and knew instantly it was him.
I think the only person more upset that the Patriots core broke up than us fans is Edelman. Poor guy is still holding on to the golden days harder than Jerry.
- Camille was there
- The Chainsmokers came on to a RIDICULOUS introduction, and had the entire place going nuts. My friend who works there said they did 5,000 people through the doors which is an outrageous amount of people for a Friday afternoon at Encore Beach.
- After the party wore down we headed to the suites and kept the party going. I had to leave to go get ready for work in a few hours. I got to open and close for Tiesto at Zouk. Sold out MADHOUSE.
Best club in Vegas. Biggest DJ in the world. Unreal night.
- Dan Bilzerian is not a tall person. Saw a wrecking crew walk by the casino floor at Resorts World (I think there was a poker tournament) and turns out it was his entourage.
- Saturday day I was a zombie. I don't know how, but the entire crew was up early and back at it at Encore Beach Club bright and early.
I laid low to recover before Mojo's bachelor dinner and working again. Which ended up being a wise move considering there were literally walking dead amongst the crew
By lay low I mean went and played craps by myself with some stud shooters and won a few hundred bucks which I then took and gave back, plus more, to the casino, with the quickness at the black jack table.
From there we all hopped about the Guys Gone Wild express and headed to dinner at Todd English's new place Pepper Club (which was absolutely fire btw)
Zouk was the next stop again where I was playing with Zedd to another packed house.
Such an awesome night capping off an awesome weekend.
Sunday was one of the most miserable days of all time. Sunday Scaries hit more like Sunday Night Terrors at this age. Especially after 3 days in Vegas (2 days should be the maximum allowed by law).
All in all a hell of a weekend.
It's great to see Las Vegas back 100%, and it was great to hang out with Steven Cheah's good friend Rob, his brothers, Papa G, Mojo, Casey, Tevo, Waldron and the Prime Social Boys, James, and everyone else I'm forgetting but love.
Congratulations to Mojo and Gracie
p.s. - sadly, this weekend did not beat the Gronk Cruise. One day, when I have the resources here, I'm going to take some random commenters brilliant advice and put together one of those cartoon documentaries like Feitelberg does on the whole cruise and everything that went down.