Hobby Musings: NFL Auction Bringing A Piece of the Game to the Fans – Not too many of us get to experience the thrill of playing in an NFL game on an NFL field. At best, we can cheer on our favorite team and sport apparel. With that in mind, NFL Auction has managed to bring a little bit of the on-field action to the fans by offering game-used memorabilia. Whether it’s footballs or game-used jerseys, the NFL’s charitable arm has been able to offer a unique array of items from legends, current stars and rookies alike. For more on the program and what it is offering from the Super Bowl, I had the chance to catch up with NFL Auction senior manager Pete Quaglierini.
KS: Pete, for fans who may not know, what is the function/goal of NFL Auction?
PQ: There’s only one place to bid on exclusive Super Bowl Packages and authentic signed and game-used items from your favorite teams and players: NFL.com/auction. Over the past five years, NFL Auction has donated more than $5 million to NFL and team charities and nonprofits.
NFL Auction plays a key role in the NFL’s Cancer Screening and Salute to Service campaigns. Game-used and game-issued items are featured on the site so that money can be raised for the league’s charitable partners.
The NFL does not profit from the sale or auction of items on the NFL Auction platform. Charitable contributions are donated to the NFL’s nonprofit partners, designated by the NFL in its sole discretion each season. Some of these nonprofit organizations include the NFL Foundation, American Cancer Society, USO, Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, NFL Player Care Foundation and many team charities.
KS: Looking back a little, how did it get started?
PQ: NFL Auction started in 2001 as a joint charitable venture between NFL and the NFLPA.
KS: How many games would you say you go to every year to collect the game-used memorabilia?
PQ: During the months of October for Crucial Catch and November for Salute to Service, we try and hit as many games as possible in the first two weeks to stock the site with items to sell to our fans to support the two causes. We also attend the Draft, Rookie Premiere, The Pro Bowl and Super Bowl to acquire items and give fans access to the NFL’s marquee events.
KS: What types of memorabilia do you typically try to get, and how does that work with the teams and players in facilitating the process?
PQ: For Crucial Catch and Salute to Service, we acquire items directly from the field and players such as game-used footballs, game worn items, cleats etc.
KS: Are any of the players ever hesitant in relinquishing their memorabilia?
PQ: Yes. Some players will wear one jersey all year so in that case we will get him to sign his game-issued jersey or something similar.
KS: What would you say is your craziest story in getting memorabilia from a game?
PQ: I had just acquired the kickoff ball from the opening game in Pittsburgh and was walking on one of the bridges when out of the corner of my eye I saw a fan coming at me with a tomahawk chop to try and knock the football out of my hand. I stiffened like a running back cradling the ball and miraculously managed to hold on to the priceless memorabilia.
KS: You were at the Super Bowl earlier this week. On what can described as a hectic day, how do you go about colleting memorabilia from the game?
PQ: I speak to the officials prior to game day and tell them what I need and how should be the best way to acquire the items without interfering with the flow of the game.
KS: When it was all said and done, what Super Bowl memorabilia were you able to acquire?
PQ: This year from Super Bowl LII, I was able to get the official flip coin that was used, and the first and second-half kickoff balls. We may get some pylons and maybe another game-used ball from each team, but we do not get all that many items.
KS: Have you ever noticed any particular item of Super Bowl memorabilia that fans want more than anything?
PQ: NO. I think fans want anything to do with their team and the Super Bowl.
KS: Authentication is one of the biggest concerns in the sports memorabilia hobby. Besides colleting the items yourself, what measures do you take to ensure its authenticity for fans?
PQ: We use PSA/DNA to authenticate items from various events throughout the year.
KS: Since the Eagles’ victory in the game, what kind of demand have you seen for their memorabilia?
PQ: Eagles items have really taken off. Even older guys like Ron Jaworkski are selling well.
KS: Overall, who would you say is the most in-demand player in the NFL for autographs and memorabilia right now?
PQ: Right now Antonio Brown, Drew Brees, and of course, Tom Brady sells the best by far.
KS: Who would you say is consistently the most in-demand team for memorabilia?
PQ: I would have to say any Packers or Steelers sell on NFL Auction very well
KS: The Super Bowl may be over, but the NFL offseason is just getting started. As we go forward, what events will you have coming up for NFL Auction?
PQ: We do a very big signing at the NFL draft with the prospects coming into the league, and we also get a lot of NFL legends to sign.
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