University of Colorado-Boulder graduate Patrick Gleason experienced the Super Bowl in a way that most people can only dream of -- from the press box, then on the Ravens sideline and then shuffling MVP quarterback Joe Flacco around from interview to interview.
Gleason, who graduated from CU in 2004, is public and media relations manager for the Baltimore Ravens, 2013 Super Bowl Champs (in case you live under a rock). Gleason and CU football alum Jimmy Smith, a second-year cornerback for the Ravens, represented the Buffs for Baltimore in New Orleans earlier this month.
Still riding the post-win high, Gleason made time to talk about hanging with Flacco and how he got his start in the CU athletic department.
How did you get your start in sports communication?
I did a bit of research and prior to my freshman year at CU, found out the sports information office in the athletic department at CU, they did the PR for all the sports teams. I did some more research and found out they accepted student volunteers.
My freshman year I went to Dave Plati, and I brought in my resume and asked him if there was anything I could do. 'I'll answer phones. I'll take out the trash.' At that time, (Plati's) student assistant working on football with him had graduated. As an 18-year-old, very raw and probably naive to what I was getting myself into, he accepted me. I worked in the sports information office through graduation.
How did you get the gig with the Ravens?
After I finished up the 2005 football season with CU I made the choice that I wanted to work in the NFL. As most college kids do, you're sending out resumes and cover letters. I reached out to all 32 NFL teams.
There was a meeting I learned about, an NFL business summit. I made my way to Detroit (for the summit). I handed out my resume and cover letter to every single contact I could find from each NFL team, and the team that got back to me first was the Baltimore Ravens.
They interviewed me for a season-long internship. I accepted right away. I packed up my life, had never lived outside of Colorado. Came to Baltimore for what I thought would be a seven-month internship, and it turned into eight years with one of the best organizations not only in the NFL, but all of sports. It turned into a dream job for me.
What was it like being at the Super Bowl?
I'm not sure where to start. In a lot of ways, it still hasn't fully settled in. We've been riding this incredible high for weeks.
I'm in the press box for the majority of the game. I went down to the field with about eight minutes to go. My post-game job was to stick with the MVP, and at that point as long as we kept on pace, it looked like it was going to be Joe Flacco. I knew I had to stick with Joe. I'm standing there with Joe, and he's pacing back and forth and I'm pacing back and forth and everybody is really a nervous wreck.
At what point did you feel sure the Ravens would win? When did it sink in?
Joe (Flacco) walked up to our head coach, and he says, 'John, are we going to win this game? Darn, we don't make it easy.' John said, 'No we don't.' Joe kept asking that to several players, 'Are we going to win this game?'
As that kick went up in the air, and Ted (Ginn) fielded the ball and our coverage team swarmed around -- that's when it settled in because for whatever reason, I felt there was no way we were going to let this guy score a touchdown.
What happened when the Ravens won the game?
Once we made that final tackle, everyone sprinted onto the field. I had to stick with Joe no matter what he was doing. He says, 'Well, you're going to have to stay close because I'm going to be running around like crazy.' We get out to the field and he is just swamped by a bunch of teammates. I had to avoid getting tackled. You have this unbelievable barrage of media that comes onto the field. Before you know it you're completely enveloped in this post-game chaos.
Post-game with Joe felt like we were a couple of Ping-Pong balls ricocheting through the most intense and exhilarating arcade game.
Did you cry?
Once we did win, the emotion bubbled over. I actually expected to cry, but I haven't yet. I'm not sure if I will.
Did you get any sleep at all that night?
I did not sleep that night. Once we got done with Joe's post-game, he did countless interviews and press conferences.
Once we finished there, everyone went back to the team hotel and got changed and then we had a team party that was held a couple blocks from our hotel. We were up the entire night. We left New Orleans the next morning, our flight was at noon so I think everyone had to be down in the lobby by like 9 a.m. We're all still sleep deprived.
Looking back on that night, what's the one memory that sticks out?
My dad and sister had come down, and it was unbelievable to experience the week with them. They were at the game and the party as well.
That was personally one of the highlights of not just my time in New Orleans, but in my life when I first saw my dad in the lobby of the hotel after the game. He was the one that brought me to CU football games when I was just two years old. He's been unbelievably supportive, and one of the main reasons I've been able to experience the success that I have.
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.