The Blitzalytics Team’s Experience: Attending the SMWW Football Career Conference and NFL Combine



The Blitzalytics team attended the Sports Management Worldwide Football Career Conference in Indianapolis this past weekend. We all had a great time networking with NFL executives, scouts, coaches, and media members throughout the weekend. Walking away so impressed, we all wanted to share our experiences with others. Here are our team members and what they thought about their time in Indy:


Jack:

Football has been my life’s calling for far too long to simply continue to ignore what I feel I am meant to do. Signing up for Sports Management Worldwide’s classes last August was easily the most influential decision I’ve ever made in my twenty-seven years. It’s one thing to love football as a fan, and it’s another to be passionate about it, but to make it my life was a mere pipe dream only seven months ago. Now I knew I LOVED football, but I didn’t know I’d fall in love with the football community. I idolized the Mark Dominiks, Ian Rapoports, and the Sheftys of the world… I just would have never guessed that these same men and women I see on TV would wind up being the nicest, most genuine people I’ve EVER met. Being surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded people who share the same passions as me was an experience of a lifetime. From the Lashbrooks, to Russ Lande, to Jen Mueller, to the tons of NFL players, coaches, and execs, us up-and-comers couldn’t have felt more support and hospitality. If I have to take away one thing from SMWW’s Football Conference, it’s not the stacks of business cards, or networking opportunities, or stories of shaking hands with legends; it’s the relationships built. I got into the industry because of my love of the game, and I will now continue my pursuit of a career in football with equal passion because of the individual people who work in the greatest sport in the world. I highly recommend attending the conference and NFL Combine if this is what you believe you are meant to do in life. There’s no better place to get your foot in the door and start your career in football.


George:

First and foremost, I want to thank the Blitzalytics family for coming out to the combine. From the get-go the team hit their stride and never looked back. People now know who Blitzalytics is because of all of their hard work and determination! Without each other we could never make this dream a reality. I love these guys!


The Combine is one of those things you have to go to at least once in your lifetime if you ever claim to be a fan of football. It’s like the Disney of the football world, except at this theme park you’ll be taking pictures with the likes of Mark Dominik and Adam Schefter instead of Minnie and Mickey. During this rollercoaster of a weekend you can casually walk and sit down at the Yard House bar feet away from a GM while he’s enjoying a beer. You can look across the bar and start chirping at an NFL coach to take it easy on your team in next year’s Super Bowl, to which he’ll promptly reply, “Not while you got 12 bro.” You might even be going to your gate in the airport and see Panthers legend Steve Smith walk by and the only words you’ll be able to muster up are “Can I shake your hand? I love you man”, to which he sticks his hand out and gives you a weird look. It is the quintessential event for the avid football fan.


While it seems like the Combine is just about getting autographs and seeing celebrities, it’s so much more. The NFL Combine weekend provides the opportunity to surround yourself with people just as like minded as you are. When you’re with these people, whether it be at the SMWW conference, the Combine, or even sitting at a random bar in downtown Indianapolis just chatting about football, it gives you the hope that the career you’ve been striving for is within reach. Over countless shots and beers (these football folks love to drink man) you build relationships with these individuals that could one day blossom into a career. If you EVER want to break into a career in football, the SMWW conference and combine weekend are an absolute must! This was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I cannot wait for what next year holds with my Blitzalytics family.


Jason:

As every kid grows up they believe they can grow to greatness. However, without effort, perseverance, and the will to succeed, most will soon find out dreams are harder to catch than one would think. From the time I was born I had a connection to sports. I knew I wanted to have a career in football, not necessarily as a player- but who doesn’t want to be a professional athlete when they are young? Growing up, my first word was ball, as I had no intention of sleeping with stuffed animals in my crib. I am the youngest of three and my oldest brother, who is almost seven years older and either bullied or ignored me, was passionate about sports, particularly football. Due to the age difference, we had nothing in common. I knew nothing about sports at the time, but wanted nothing more than to be acknowledged by him. I began to realize his interest in sports and sought to learn about football myself. I have made some pretty good decisions (and some bad ones) in my life, and entering the playing field of football (my brothers world) was where my passion for the game ignited.


Throughout this past year, I have had the opportunity to network and build a portfolio within the sport I am most passionate about. Sport Management Worldwide presented me with the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest football minds in the industry and build my knowledge and talent in scouting. Most importantly, the SMWW GM and Scouting course gave me life-long connections, as I have begun to build my portfolio and contribute as the Director of Scouting for Blitzalytics. Just this past weekend, the Blitz team, SMWW alumni, and courageous individuals who believe their career to be in the greatest game with passion in their heart, received an invitation to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis to attend the SMWW football career conference. The conference presented my colleagues and myself with invaluable connections, advice, and knowledge. We had the opportunity to listen to some of the brightest minds in the game including, Mark Dominik (former Buccaneers GM and ESPN analyst), Russ Lande, John Wooten, Rick Spielman (Vikings general manager), Ian Rapoport, Adam Schefter, Jen Mueller and many more impactful individuals in the game today. The connections I made are unforgettable, and they will assist me in forging a career in the game I will cherish forever. The decision to partake in SMWW and their Football Career Conference was a new spark in my career path, rivaling that of “entering my brothers world.”


Ashton:

If you’re a fan of people watching (who isn’t??) and football, man have I found the event for you. I have never in my entire life been surrounded by the amount of notable individuals like I was this past weekend in Indy. Go treat yourself to a vanilla latte and blueberry muffin and post up at a table by the the Marriott Starbucks, (just an escalator ride away from the SMWW conference) and prepare to be starstruck at every angle of your peripheral vision. From media personalities to vaunted coaches to front office members, everywhere I looked was another instance of awe. It was wild. Even if you are hesitant to shell out the extra cash to be a part of the festivities and events, just being in the Indy area at night will likely produce a handful of noteworthy figures that I’m sure would be able to provide a good story or two to bring back home (we were able to hear plenty). I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing weekends of my entire life and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this magnificent team. The future is bright for this group we have here at BA- stay tuned fans.


Collyn:

This past weekend I learned two things: I love the Combine, and waking up for football before sunrise isn’t bad at all; it’s actually quite amazing. Last weekend was one of the best times in my life, and I enjoyed every second of my experience. Being from Indianapolis, I always saw the festivities and heard the buzz around the city but had never been to them in person before. The men and women of SMWW showed me an amazing time, and I can’t thank them enough for making my dream a reality. They afforded me the opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest people in the NFL such as Mark Dominik, Ian Rappaport, Rick Spielman, and Adam Schefter. Listening to panel after panel of amazing football minds was so satisfying and enjoyable to me, I could sit and listen to them talk everyday. I would also like to thank Dr. Lynn Lashbrook for putting all of this together and offering such a unique opportunity to experience the Combine. SMWW’s NFL GM & Scouting course was the reason I aspire to be a Director of Player Personnel in the NFL one day. I have always loved the game of football, but to see the future of the game perform on the biggest stage together is incredible. Additionally, to be surrounded all day, every day, by the best of the best in the NFL is extremely humbling and exciting for someone who is trying to reach their status in the league. I love football and this weekend confirmed that I could cover, watch, scout, and even just be around the sport for the rest of my life. I was thrilled to finally see the faces to all of the great minds that make up the Blitz team, and I am excited for where this site is headed. I am blessed to work with such awesome individuals every day with Blitzalytics.


Alexander:

To quote my friend and colleague Jason Feiner, “waking up for football is easy, waking up at 5:30 for anything else is absolute [crap]!” Though we were all running on a severe lack of sleep the entire weekend, I think I speak for the rest of the team when I say this conference gave us an invaluable wealth of resources and knowledge that have already proven to be significant in both Blitzalytics’ development and in my personal career growth. As we listened to the most prominent industry professionals in all aspects of football, from Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport to Rick Spielman and Mark Dominik, we were given the most informative opportunity possible to learn about careers in the sport. Blitzalytics also gained an extraordinary amount of recognition, support, and credibility in just a single weekend due to the ample networking opportunities. Finally, being able to see the NFL Combine in person was simply one of the greatest experiences of my life and let all of us gain a completely new perspective on scouting. I can’t wait to see what we will achieve this year!


Nick:

The largest epiphany of my entire life was freshmen year of college, when I sitting in a class on coding in Python and database management. Instead of listening to the professor I was watching the All 22 film of Super Bowl 49, diagraming every play on notecards and attempting to track and understand the chess match that was unfolding in the beautiful city of Phoenix, Arizona. The realization hit me in the face like a cement truck, or Marshawn Lynch, that my passion in life had nothing to do with coding or investment banking, but instead with the greatest game ever played- football. From that moment on I began looking into tips and tricks to break into the sports world and develop a successful career in an area of work I was in love with. When I first saw a class titled “Football GM & Scouting” from Sports Management Worldwide I honestly thought it was too good to be true. I could not sign up fast enough at the thought of being able to learn from such great football minds such as Mark Dominik, Russ Lande, John Wooten and Dr. Lynn Lashbrook. The class was phenomenal and everything I had hoped for, but little did I know that the real fun was actually right around the corner at the SMWW NFL Combine Career Conference with my newly formed Blitzalytics family. From the moment I arrived it was unfathomable to me how great and knowledgeable every single person I met was, and how much fun I was having talking football for hours on end with people from all over the world. The next day, following the social meet and greet, was jam packed with incredible speakers, hosts, and moments. Jen Mueller and Dr. Lashbrook were fantastic as moderators, really diving into each speaker’s background and the road they took to get to where they are today, doing what they love for a living. I could do full paragraph breakdowns from every single presentation on what was said and what I learned, but through all the amazing presentations from Mark Dominik, Aaron Shatz, Ian Rapoport, Joel Corry, Mike Stober, Greg Hylton, Rick Spielman, Adam Schefter and many more, I had three main takeaways. First, to work in football, I must be prepared to work extremely hard and for low pay/volunteer to start out. Second, I must network and build relationships with as many people as I can. Third, never eat alone- share that time to connect with someone I already know or to meet someone new. The next day I got to go to the Combine live and watch QB’s, Wr’s and TE’s workout. Honestly, this day turned into one of my favorite experiences ever with the game of football. I could have sat there for 24 hours straight and watched the measurables and on field drills. All in all, I cannot thank SMWW enough for holding this Combine conference and to my Blitzaltics teammates for being such incredible people and making my weekend unforgettable. The weekend was a perfect first NFL Combine, and I cannot wait to be back for many more in the future!


Rusty:

The SMWW Football Career Conference was an eye-opening experience! Meeting in person for the first time, the Blitzalytics team had great chemistry from the start. The networking event on Thursday night was an amazing opportunity that SMWW provided and it allowed Blitzalytics to get our name out there to professionals in the industry, along with personal networking opportunities. The next day, I was up early for the conference and headed to the JW Marriott. On my way in I saw a multitude of NFL personnel and knew that this career path would be very exciting. The conference had extremely relevant topics and I learned a lot from the speakers, especially Ian Rapoport, Adam Schefter, Rick Spielman, and Kelly Kleine. Another networking social after the conference was an additional opportunity to network with the speakers and other SMWW conference attendees. After that, the Blitzalytics team went out for a team dinner, which was a wonderful bonding time with even more football talk. The last day, we went to watch the Combine. The quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends looked great. Our spot in the end zone seats offered an unbelievable vantage point, especially during the quarterback drills. All-in-all, the NFL Scouting Combine and SMWW Career Conference were worth every penny spent and I hope to do it again next year!


Cody:

When I decided that I was going to the SMWW Career Conference I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew there was a great lineup of speakers that included Rick Spielman, Adam Schefter, Ian Rapoport, and many more. I’d heard about the great networking opportunities by being in Indianapolis during the combine, but I didn’t expect the amount of access to NFL executives, scouts, coaches, and media members that I was going to have. I started off my weekend by checking in to the conference at the JW Marriott, where I was able to meet Russ Lande in person for the first time. Afterwards, when I went on the Starbucks line for a coffee, I noticed everyone that was around me. I started seeing faces I recognized from all over the NFL, and that’s when I realized my decision to attend the conference was a great one. We were able to hear from an amazing lineup of speakers that also included Mark Dominik, John Wooten, Aaron Schatz, Jen Mueller, Ric Serritella, and many others. We got great insight on what it takes to make it in the sports industry and heard very inspiring stories on how these professionals were able to climb the ladder to get where they are at today. One of the most memorable parts was actually being inside Lucas Oil Stadium and watching the Combine live. This is one of the best weekends I have had so far in my young career, and I am looking forward to being in Indianapolis again in the future!

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Blitzalytics LLC

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