NAL Live Hosted by Andrew Haines: EP #6 Joshua Blair Owner of the Columbus Lions Columbus Lions website: Follow Host Andrew Haines on Social Media: Instagram: @andrewghaine


We're back again for nfl live. This is episode six and it's a special afternoon show. I figure let's test out different times. Let's see if people like watching during the day or evening better and so today which is cool because we have our first team owner on. And i love that because you know the owners usually never get any of the glory. It's like they only get brought up if it's bad but that's probably why you don't know joshua blair. Because he does it right you know. He is the owner of the columbus lions and. Welcome to the show joshua. How are you good andrew. Thank you very happy to be here. Well i'm glad you join me. Like i said first owner and i want to know you a little bit more like like before columbus lions so kind of walk us through like where you're from. Where'd you grow up and kind of your career up until the columbus lions okay. We'll so i wanna see in tonio texas and my father was in the airforce. He was a avid gator. So it had an interesting wipe out chance to travel around the world on. I think i. I lived in spain for seven years. I was able to travel through that. And some other things. I've been Traveled to forty seven. Different countries allow lived in four different continents. So mine may I i lived in north carolina. A goes from north carolina for a while in spain for seven years. And then when i went to high school in spain played football in spain in fact played eight and nine man football outdoor eight nine minutes. Lawmakers are schools were so small in fact my school with five hundred students had to feel two teams to varsity teams and we had to play each other for homecoming. So that was kind of it was it was good and bad. I guess if you want it was great. If you didn't win it was terrible And then when i finished high school i went to bring young university in utah provo utah and and then when i graduated from college i went. Whitney army was an infantry officer in the army and then i can bounce around the lives of different places. There's well and then. When i got out of the army moved down to a working a few different companies in and And then eventually. I decided you know what i want to move back to columbus georgia and start a ski shop. Because i had been skewed was my passion. I i can remember. I was working for a company called master brand cabinets in auburn alabama. And when i was there. I remember on easter week. Outworked think ninety three hours that week. And i got my forty hours worth of pay and realized if i put this much effort into something that i owned the i'd be a millionaire some day and so while i'm not quite there. I decided you know what do i love to do. I love scuba arkansas. Scuba instructor said. I wasn't very good one in the beginning. But i said you know. I love scuba dive tonight you know. What am i do that. So i had to figure out. Imagine taking a hobby in trying to figure out how many ways where we can do this hot to get people to pay me to do it. And so i knew. I i sorta scuba shop chattahoochee scuba in columbus georgia and we learned very quickly that are in our main focus were veterans and soldiers and veterans in in those that wanted a professional career in diving and so we focused on We are our team based on that and we made our name unnamed ourselves in the veteran community so we just did a lot of things we gotta to do. A lot of travel all over. Bamboo travel all over the world. Go diving just a year ago. I was in the galapagos islands diving and dove with. I think it was twenty three whale sharks not all at one time it on over the portable week saw twenty three different whale shark swallows diving and then see we have been able to do some some fun things the in columbus georgia they decided one year to take out the dams the dams had been hundred and fifty years and i was contractor to go down and search the entire riverbed in find out what all is down there with the predecessor banner dams that were in front of the dams that they use to block could build a a bigger dam behind. We found all these old artifacts in some of the stuff nobody had seen in one hundred hundred hundred and fifty years and i was the first one to get a chance to see it and it was. It was full man and then one of the lme kinda claims to fame was. I was featured in a documentary. I know that Stephen jeff fans documentaries so the documentary was the chattahoochee unplugged. Ended actually won two emmys in so i was one of the featured people in it and that was kind of a cool kind of a cool thing it was a son who produced it wreck turner and then you know and then over time you know the night was just around my business in in went through life and then all of sudden i was you know there was actually a little kid. Call him lightning he was he came into the swimming lessons at my scuba shop and lighting were jason gibson's nickname or yogurt. Funnily enough interestingly enough he was the first movie that kid. I actually got to see the other cars. And he comes and tells me when he said you know what he. Doesn't you know what mr josh money's. Lightning qassam fast and your major. Because you're slow and so he started calling me mater and eventually ended up becoming meeting for a long time. That was my nickname for a long time. And so but we are looking for something to do one nike's about five years old five years old and we saw that the columbus lions were playing. Football game and i was huge. Huge football fan pleaded when the nfl season ended. And i had to wait five months for picking back up again five months. Which just you know for me. Just dredge and work in such a big fan of football so i saw the clotheslines. Were line so we decided to go to a game. As middle of the season we went to a game and we set up way in the nosebleed seats. And he said maybe this this ain't gonna do. We need it. We need to come back again. And we need to sit down with wicked. See the game. you know. it wasn't like it was a terrible but we were kind of up higher than everybody else so we decided to come back in. We watched another game. We went down and I think we got. I talked to. Nima will look our ticketing person's shoes wonderful in the beginning so she still is by way so she. We went into the ticket office and we talked to her and said. Hey what's the best we can get and she was able to get me a second or third row. See into the into the vip section. So why were they on the section. You know i can remember. We did that for a couple of games and we were really getting into it in. Especially you know he he would he really likes can get on the field after the game he get on the field. We bring football. We'd play football on a professional football field. We get a chance to talk to the players. Start meeting them. And then one day they i guess the waterboy and It was this little kid he he must have been for years old. I think or something like that. Four or five years old. He comes running out off the bench and he gets probably to run of the goal line and he just stops puts the walls next they were so happy for and he picks goes another five or ten yards and he was just kind of funny because they just pause the game because it was. This was an interesting piece in just naturally. They caused the game for this five year. Old little boy being run out there so lightning besides he he has. Maybe i could do so that. We walk into the office and we talked to him about it. She mentioned it to coach gibson. In coach gibson. Centene widening a postcard and said. Hey i'd like to the waterboy for a game so we come back in the office the next week and so coach gibson. And now jason stalking widen. He goes he goes now. I'm going to be the waterboy for the whole season. And he was waterboard for three years and so the way i got involved with the lines. Of course i had to bring into the game so we would come to. We would make an excuse to come three hours early and we through the football around on the field you know two three hours ahead of time and then when it came time for the team to go do their things in the intros. I would pass malta. Me in i would go sit in my seat in a by this time i had gotten front row seats and eventually you know jason was on the wall of time on my side and he'd come talk to me because you know it was i would say would. The beginning was a little awkward. Both of you know he was always busy at it when a bug him. He's probably the busiest person i now but over time. We got to talk and he'd asked me questions about football. When i'd come in the office and eventually i express some interest in you know. What does it take to owner. And they kinda ran with it. And then you know you're talking about it jason and asked if i would if i was interested in coming along and being quarterly ownership group and And so i you know a few months later i went ahead and put down the body shares that i needed to to become an owner. And so how long you said he moved to columbus. How long have you lived in columbus. I moved here. Two thousand four and it's in fact is the longest i've ever lived anywhere of course enough to sixteen years. I've been stationed here a couple times. But before that i had never lived anywhere moving four years in my life and so i got chance to move around and it's kind of weird because you know having now been here in putting down roots. It's kind of nice. But but i bet that is to travel is always there you know. I got married about two years ago. My wife got it i. I travel so much that she didn't want to travel but now the thrown is gang. Let's get outta here. What was it about columbus what why settle there of all places will. The big reason was i was. I had been stationed here from year to. I became a scuba instructor here in columbus in so when i decided to open up a dive shop we it was naturally a good place because i already had a net worth equal that i can that i trained. I could go to that. I didn't i wasn't just walking to a new city. Somewhere opening up a shop. I think that would be open. Dive shop already is very difficult. And so when. I i just decided. Hey let's try. Because i it's it at the time. It was one of the largest markets that there was no patty. Which is the group. That i'm really wait with. They didn't have a shop in columbus and it was one of the largest markets in the country. That did not have a pet shop so it turned out to be in our first year. Okay we blew it out of the car and it did really really well back in thousand five and so that was it turned out to be a good decision so when i come to columbus for a game on come a day or two early so i can get some some scuba lessons. I've never done it. I've had. I've made friends with some fans from other teams and i have always invited to comment. We've had several takeout. Take me up on the offer. They'll come for the game in the morning. For the game they're scuba diving others lonnie out all. He's one of the players on so excited to watch. I've been watching his highlights x foot seven. Watch movies things go where he's going over to the wall and i'm excited to watch watch watch him. Play a ticket package for you. Hey you know what get scuba certified and go to a game where we do. What we do is we. It's about three hour process in which you don't get the whole thing which left the first lesson but by the end of the inner three hours or at the bottom of the pool diving. And you're right. You know what that is a big ticket package in. I'll probably offer that too. If anybody's listening wants to come die before game my staff will take a break here. Yeah no that's cool so like how long ago did you end up jumping. In the ownership of columbus. It was the we talk about the whole first year. Dna l. so is the second year the also so it's been three years since i've been one of the owners of the team been going to all the games i mean. I even went to some of the way games on his man. I'm excited to see him in. Know him paired up with some of the receivers like desmond. Reese who he picked him up in a tryout mazing kid i remember i just looked at him and he was. He was like this smallish not really small in relative terms compared to lawn. He'll look shorter but he was an amazing kid. And just kinda just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Each has a football her daughter. I remember looking at them. And i was like you know. He looks like kenya. Zeke you'll head in the beard and everything looked just like king ezekiel from the shape of the of how i was here was and so i talked to him that day and then watched him getting a game. A watch the desmond. Get into a game in my. Gosh he was he he got him. Regain shorter's store on receivers something that week. And he played really well picked up a fumble. Did this that is he just happened to be is a. He knows where the ball isn't. He's always run the ball. And then i kept pestering jason. Why don't we bring him back. He's a local guy he's great He's got a big following and we should bring him back. He played cup against worse than than eventually came back and then finished off the rest of the season and it was just an amazing kid. So you're you're kinda like jerry jones then to you. You don't just own the team. You're doing player personnel to not in any way i honestly believe that i'd completely and i might get involved if they're like. I was beaten jason up for a good ticker we'd had. We had great caters. Sometimes they would have some games and we went through a period where we lost three games based on a kick. And that's tough. That's a tough pill to swallow win. You missed an extra point. You lose a game and so on. So i kind of you. I hit jason overdose that you need to honest good kicker. I know that it's easy to have a a local kicker. But we need a kicker because it kicker will make irish thought. Kicker made a huge difference of the game he can score they quote a touchdown or two and between deuces an extra points and field goals. And that's that's a huge difference. Ameri called me up one day. Goes he goes. You're gonna love me for this and he calls me says. Hey we got kicked out of boys. State title rossa. I said so so tyler. He told me that he had he was a runner up. For the i forget the name of trophy kickers get. I mean think. Most people would ask six. I couldn't keep her high school. One positions that i played so i was really big into that and we brought him in and we played his first game. We were playing. The massachusetts pirates. He scored twenty four points. That i think he had five deuces. Two extra two field goals in a handful of extra points to include with the winning extra point with no time left on the clock. Just decimated His kicking game was just amazing. And i i still think he's there. We go the lou groza award. That's what it is thanks. So he did. He was amazing and he just i remember. I picked him up from the airport to pick not from the group transportation drove me and talk to oblige and then took him to practice. And i and i videotaped his first kick was he kicked. He kicked a deuce on his first kit just in practice warm ups and it was just he was us a great guy. I think he should be in the nfl. And then. but i made one big mistake. Because i decided you know this is. This is arena football. We need to have you know. It's be a lot of interaction. And so i created a a walk on song for him every time he walked in the field. It's time to play the game from wrestling from triple h and so we would put that on in. Who knew that this would describe. Would come on the mis. Kick terrible you so finally we good managers and the everybody's running over to me. In the middle of the games they got. It turned out so we finally turn it off and he picked up his gave again. And then you went to the massachusetts pirates in every time you come us with third back on the field needed. We a great guy tyler and he did really well and that i guess af so he did really well erin. Hopefully he makes it to the nfl sunday. Well casey smith who just joined your your ownership group. I go way back and he's right. I had kicking issues as well. I signed the mascot actually picked the mascot in the game and he he made an extra point so it was like a non pro game. So great guy great. He's got a chance to be with him a few times. And we're excited. We're off the columbus trying something new bringing on new partners. The new owners we we. We'd like to get twenty owners if we could and truly become a community based t where businessmen the community can get involved. They can all bring their talents and their abilities to help the team and there courses a lot of things that benefits that if you're an owner of a football team of professional football team you're in a lot of benefits that you get as well and so there. Really is a great symbiotic relationship near the end. And so i'm. I'm one of the changes that i made. When i became the majority owner was dropping the middle at five percent down to a one percent. So we've got a few owners in now. There's a few more that were in discussions with so. We're excited to see bears fruit. And i'll tell you what i think. That's a great idea. Because i can't tell you how. Many times i've been a solo owner or ninety something percent and man. It gets lonely by yourself. And i've never been like a huge money guy. I'm a more of an operator. So there's little room for error when you're not property properly capitalized. And like you said if i ever got back into it. That's what i would do. I would put together a large group of people that have similar vision that it's about the community and not only. Do we get some some extra capital but you get those contacts. You get those people that now are bought in. And i can tell you right now. Casey's got a great deal of knowledge and a marketing standpoint. And and things like that. I mean and obviously he's going to. He's going to help his investment and pursued casey. Once once he came down and met with us last year we realized trying to buy in it. It higher percentage you also meant a significant amount of greater amount of money so we re realized that by dropping that we can get people that are willing that wanna get in on the ground level and be a true owner Ownership in the team. Not just a share of of some random thing and some of the others. We've seen some of the other teams do this year. And we we've already seen just some of the recommendations in it pointers casey's given coach gibson and i. It's it's made a huge impact and we were looking for the season. And then we. We've got an old got. A couple warmers in the works in one of the one. The we've been talking to eugenia castro again in chile. Great guy great story. We got a lot of wonderful things coming up from that soon to right here yet. So genio preceived. We talked about him from the owners. Meetings in geneva was down in chile and he owns a sports academy development sports academy down there in what he does is he. Trains people to play american football and so in not only is. It's not just in chilly. But it's also in ecuador in argentina and they've got the he he. I remember on talk and they might be a little less than exact details. But i think they had six countries in south american latin america. Come down to chilean play. A each country put together an american football team and then five thousand people show up to the game in one hundred thousand people she look at it from on social media so there's a following in no one of the things that talked with him. I met him kind of weird. How we met. I was visiting chile last year with or a year and a half ago when my best friend was stationed at the embassy he was the senior military officer chile. And so while. I was down there. How is this real quick. Al says sharks we got. They'll run running social media. I'm sure that stephen exactly sorry that up there you know So we're down there in in. Because i'm down there all of them seeing on facebook. I'm seeing more comments from people in chile. And i happened to notice this jason hope. Hopefully he's doing well. We we love jason. But we we. I see i see post from this guy in chile and i'm like wait a minute. This has this guy involved in football national sin and we. We started talking to me any immediate says. Hey i want to come up. And i want to be part of the game. I want to do this. And so he. He happened to be in some meetings. I think he was an nc double a comp. Some sort of combine with the nfl and he was up here representing the south america with some players. And so i said hey here in orlando christine orlando. Let me get you to together. And then they got together and chris was. I wasn't sure if anything was going to come of it. I guess chris and him talk over there little translating thing that they do and next thing i know another also some kind of some big plans but we realized you know you can have huge plans but there might there might be thirty steps to get to the end of that plan and so one of the things that i'm very thankful for what they learn. You can't go to step thirty in in a week or year. You gotta take those steps along the way and make sure you've built a foundation so that way every time you build another block on there that you have a foundation that you can rely on so if you take a step back following all the way off off off the pier there and so with eugenia we're bringing in one of his players actually With the with the south american I forget what chris paul of we're able to bring in a player that doesn't count on a roster space. We've already sign one of his players philippe bay and he's going to be coming up and playing. He's gonna be part of the team you know he's going to happen he's i don't i'm not i don't know whether his you know he's seen that level of competition yet but he'll you'll get there but i i'm sure the team's get laundry but know he's gonna come off and now he's a big kid at these three hundred thirty pounds and so we'll see what he can do. Well the good thing is it gives them an opportunity to come up and and compete and learn. And so you know that can be a whole another avenue to attract good talent and international talent. 'cause you know let's let's face it. We want to grow the game globally. Not just here in the us so you know. That's that's real exciting to here. Going quick on that one of the things we're excited about is eugenia has been has been working the nfl in south america through all of his contacts. I it's interesting. We see if we look at our hosting might get five thousand user. I remember i had one play of german thorson that got twenty thousand years that i that it just amazing test dunkin but when they post it down there he's getting one hundred thousand us on some of this pope's magin when the nfl season starts in. Columbus is working on trying to get a spanish language broadcast as well as an english broadcast on youtube. Imagine all of us in all the people that will get involved in football if we can we can bring in the entire continent. And you know we're the we're the only game in town. Has there been discussions on. Maybe trying to do like a Like an all star down there from the teams up here or some sort of exhibitions. Well we i think there has been a few steps but one thing that we have done is coach gibson and i and some are the lines team. We're going to leave. You're planning on going now. I in fact we're supposed to be down there next month. Except we've had to cancel due to covid so we're going to do it next year is we're going to hold some football. We're going to go to there to chile argentina and ecuador. Hold a hope. One day camp in each place and also jason's hold a camp for the for the For the coaches and how learn how to teach football it each of the locations. So that's something that we're going to do. We're going to do next year it. We're not to do the at the beginning before next not received the before the next season and hopefully You know the tobin yeah. I think that's great. That i mean that's a process so i mean it is gonna take a little bit of time to To get it you know where where you want it but you know. He's he's excited for the the lion season upcoming but going that's a great thing about new owners excited. Oh yeah. I don't know you might not wanna say on here but i do. You have any kind of like you know. Investment range that you look for four owners coming in. And if you don't wanna say that's fine. I didn't prep you for that. But i was just thinking with with that. So people have an idea. I know i'll share my screen when i came in. I spent forty thousand dollars to come in. And would i appreciate it was. I quickly made it back in marketing. But by using the team in being the market in break in attract folks to the scuba shop which was able to make it back. So we're we're looking at Probably about eight thousand dollars a share. Just kind of a ballpark figure. If now i think that's i think that is so important hit though because i can't tell you how much i've made awful not necessarily between directly but indirectly through other businesses that i own because number one is i believe in sports marketing and so having seen it firsthand when i can see my business get an increase in sales due to marketing through the team it makes it easy to go out and sell them the community as well because you know it can work and work so But yeah there's so many benefits that you know ownership brings that are not just black and white on the the balance sheet so you probably won't make money on the football piece of internet. If we break even year we're going to be ecstatic but my business has been exposed to a lot. More people that ever would have scotland waltz. Well and the thing is you're not gonna you're not gonna go either. You know having a nice group of people so it's you know it's it's more sustainable and columbus been there you know for for years. I remember going down there to as league president. When the first the first team jason was with started their the the vipers and Nice nice community. Nice nice facility. You got a building that is supportive which is crucial. A lot of times you know arena. Football's the red headed stepchild in the arena. And you know you guys have a good support system there which is great. How do you balance it. All of your business. And the one thing i've seen over the years sometimes you'll get a new owner in and they get so caught up in the team because it's fun and it's the shiny new toy and bennett neglects their business and they really struggle. So how do you stay. Grounded and focused so that that doesn't happen with you. The bottom line is like scuba shop. And then also we and jason we own a couple of other businesses well but with each of the businesses. You have to have to build that staff up. I i couldn't have done what i'm doing with the lines. Now say ten years ago business was was not in position where it would support that. I've got a great staff at the school shop. Jinyan jared do a wonderful job. I've got about twenty instructors. Who can handle that. In the beginning. I used to do most of the teaching. Most of the operating most of everything was not really a one man show but i i had to be there to make all the decisions and everything else and so now. What's been nice is i. I spent probably years five years training up the staff to do what they can do. Now to the point where. I don't have to be in as much so now. We're not now i can instead of being instead of working in the business. I'm working on the business. you know. A lot of people like to say that to my job now is more to bring more business in and then figure out. How do i get my staff to be able to support what we can bring in and sometimes we have to tap tap it back I know during the During the summer months we tripled when everything shut down. There's there's the water. Least that we know of as nasa we so we could cut. We did pretty good in in a sense. We triple the amount of students that were coming through in so that was a challenge and but fortunately we had a lot. We had great staff. Great instructors who did what they will take could to make it work somedays. It's it's somebody's at stressful. Somebody's not But the the big key is make sure that Wanna try not to take my work home with me so I think it started yesterday. I think because now. I realize i've got about a month's worth of bookkeeping to do in the next seven days. I felt bad though. Because you're like it's my day. And i i'm not working. I keep message back up or just continue. Knows it's it's all good. So basically. I i try you just you just have to know what's to be important. The one good thing about football is we've set up the office so that it can run on broadened. So good people would riding curtis mayfield with broughton. You got to name who works there. we've got. Rick is the salesperson. And and then we've got a lot of people who come in and volunteer help when we need it in their specific areas and then we have some great owners. You know. we've got john hargrove and johnson amazing guy he. He's one of his positions is a civilian assistant director of the arm. So he has a lot of connections. He's the kind of guy that walks in fort benning the protocol in not. He's coming in so they have. Somebody you know worrying walks in. He is out of handled is the right word. But basically they know he's they they don't want him running around postal these different places on his own. They wanna make sure that he doesn't go supply and so And then you've got my call who's been is wonderful addition to the team and then jay patel dr patel. He's been he's been great been helped us out with quite a bit. And then so we've got a great staff and we basically to empower them to do their jobs because if they will do their jobs allow me to. Do you know mike piece of it. Which is which is not a lot of it in my mind gets more to the level of. Hey here's what we want to do and my my to pick holes in it figure out how to make whatever they want their idea how we make that a little bit better in how to support it from the ownership group and also is. It is something that's doable in. Can we afford to do that. Are you considered the managing partner for the club. Or i am. I am the managing partner on the majority share. The team now assorted our it with a small percentage and then you had at the time yet kiki and skips eight who had been there. Basically almost from the beginning in a teeth noureddine off duke laboratory and so all them were two point. Where you're they'd been involved nearly thirteen fourteen years. It was time for them. You know they had a. They were getting their age. There's some health health issues and so I just happened to come at a good time. And work with each one of them as a group and then was able to purchase their shares from them and then decided. Hey we need. i'm not gonna i can't. I'm not is foolish to some of the other owners in the lead so like you. It's being refused. You need some help. You don't wanna if the season's not going to be a good season financially then you don't wanna be stuck with the bill at the end of the year so we went out and said you know. Let's let's for some some some good owners and so we've done that we're in the process of continuing the. I think that's good. I think that's that's smart going back to your business. Do you do a lot of cross promotion between the the scuba and the team or is it more team to school. We do some like the like lonzo take up some of the unused advertising input. Put things up. And i'll pay you know pay sign agendas put him up and then when somebody else wants to buy it immediately i you know for me. It's greater. take exactly so so. I can give much advertising as we. We need there in so sometimes some cross promotions one of the things that i've been trying to work with jason showing. How all right. So we have all these contacts with the lines. We have all these contacts with with skydiving. And we have young for these other things. So i actually started another business together which was go jumping. Slide to a bali house was and one of the things we do. Is we talk about it. Where if every time ran a bouncy house. Let's let's give them a ticket to a game in an or a free swimming lesson or free scuba lessons or something along those lines Because the other people are looking for adventure and everything else so yes there has been some cross promotion of different things and we look for those opportunities to make that happen. So let's talk a little bit about the league in howard's the league structured because a lot of fans don't really understand or know they seem As the commissioner. They think that you know he makes all the decisions and You know kinda dictates everything. But how is the kind of set up from Leadership and management structure standpoint. Okay so they're on so it's worth leadership goes there are three. There's the league is run by a board and there's a board of directors. Every team has a every team provides one person to the board and an alternate so there are there so right. There are fourteen members on that board. There is an executive board made up of three members which is rob storm. Steve ran and myself and the executive board. It's realistically run by the board itself. Executive board might guide some direction or a little more hands on and more more day today. But we law chris to operate most of the day to day items whenever whenever he Whenever something is going to be kind of a bigger item usually go to the executive order to figure out what to do from there. Chris up you know he he. He will probably do a lot of the day to day stuff but for the most part the decisions are all the ownership the league. There is no one person that owns owns the league elitist owned by the teams. I believe the nfl set up that way as well. But the league is owned by the teams in each team has an equal vote. So i'm marl jacksonville. May think they're great. Great thing they get the same boat that idea in columbus and so that's that was a that's the great part about it. Is you know if you look at columbus we are you know. I don't know if they would let us into the league now. We were coming in his new team. We're just a tiny market. Compared to me. I mean we have a couple hundred thousand people in our area versus. I mean we're we're definitely the green bay. Oh the nationally. But then you look at albany or when we got street new york streets yet to meet million people having like that and then and then. You've got jacksonville with. I think it's one point. Eight million if you look at the whole metro area or orlando. Sometimes i look at this like what what is what are the columbus lions doing here. 'cause you one of my friends one of the guys. I got a little group of people use sounding board in. Schuyler said you know what i asked him on. What would i talk about when you asked me to be on the show. I said well right and talk about scott or does his. His e said the columbus lions are football's greatest underdog story and now from him. I said you know you're right because if you look at that first game steve. Lot likes to talk about all the time. Here's what here's the situation. We had just formally anyhow will not we. I was in a part of the time but the nfl had just formed and they brought in columbus lions who came from the pif which is probably a tier three lead. And then you have the jacksonville sharks which came from the afl probably tier one league pushing it into. I don't know. I'm not really dealing with tears but it's but just kind of make understand the story and then we're now to late but they're really. It's really a tier three playing in the game against the tier one team. I walked in the field. All big guy. I mean at least players were massive on the jacksonville sharks. I look at our. We carried almost the exact same team from the p fell into the next season. We'd adam for five and six seven years and we look at the sharks and it was the same team they had an afl. And you know we had no business being on field but you know what we took them. I can remember sitting next to the bench in the front row with a bunch of their fans. y- i am wearing my columbus Lions talking to me and everything in. We're sitting there in the all the sudden we're down twenty twenty two five or something like that pass between one to five and we somehow comeback. Jason plays a dozen miracle and starts to come back in next thing. I know we have about a minute left in the game. We're only down by five weeks. Jason's got the ball on on his own flacco lying on on their own five tenure he starts marching down the field in you could have that arena was silent. You could have heard a pin drop. Because they were so worried that they were about to lose a game to this getting team from georgia and it was amazing. The people around me started. Almost i mean they were like man i can't you guys are out. I can't believe you pull this out and we get on a five yard line. Jason timeout to burn a little bit more the clock and we have one. We had one bad. Play the with the excitement of everything going on The snap from center got fumbled in week ended up costing the game. And you could. You could just see the emotion on our players. Just you know we we will. The game was always do was walk. Five yards into that end zone. We were gonna be in the nhl chaves for the first year and beat the mighty jacksonville sharks. It would have been the greatest underdogs. It was the biggest enroll story you could imagine and we made one mistake it. You're one led a disney made for tv movie right. What's interesting and jason if he's on to share the link but our local. tv's See tv being one of our big sponsors produced or a show for that incentives. Spn and actually wanna work from his pin jason man being smart like it. I like it so so was that the cl- have you won any championships. We'll the lions went to fourteen ships in rhode too. I think i forget what the first lady was But we were not only one league in the two years before we joined the the nfl. We won both championships now. I think someone mentioned that. I think it was terry. Last night mentioned that we were the bullies of those leagues. We really were. We beat some teams one hundred. Did nothing hundred one hundred. Something did nothing. We beat them three to seven and we just dominated so much in those leagues in the championship. Game of that second championship. There's jason just put the link up for the for that thing. It's if you wash it it's it's it's a pretty amazing show. You can see the if you've never seen emotion on football But if you Or so but the in the championship game We were beating them so bad that they quickly came with five minutes left in the game and they walk off the field. A damn this. This was a twenty one team league and we just we actually destroyed. Well i can tell you this. It's so hard to go to a game and not have a good time. And i've seen it. You know over the years just with a of the owners dumb from like yourself. They've been out the games they they get attached. You know they see you know how big an impact the team can have in the community and you know get to know the players the coaches and There's like a nice camaraderie about it and and there's a lot of ways to like. I said i think you know. Get things out of it so to speak without it. Being cash necessarily right absolutely. We'll tell you. In all. Speak both casey and i and my call. We are all in this because of kids. We all a into the team. So in my mind you know for me was the warwick gotten involved and then since i got married and i have four daughters in so with the four daughters. You know. I really in football. We watching some game. When i would travel to washington to visit to visit would start watching some games on on on youtube and and then when they came to the thing dame football people but they are football people now because they come to a game sitting there you're eight. Where else can you be ten inches away from a field of play in football. We are so close that the players are leaning. Lean lim thing in the plate back because the players are faces or the coach comes over and tells you. Hey here's the next play as your as everybody round with watching or not. I thought it was gonna find this one time but a ball comes flying through eileen so far over the field and in swatted at the ball but it was kinda funny because my fingertip just barely touched. But you could hear it in. The referee looks at me like this real quick and like because you really should have been fan interference but the guy. The opposing team called the ball so he just let it go which which is fine. But i don't. I'm not sure if i hear the sound but it was just this very thing and but also plays in jacksonville. The fan reached over the thing. You just grabbed the kickoff returner. He just grabbed him but cannot prove that the fans can get so involved. I think you know if you come if you most of the people say what's your what's the place you don't wanna go play. Almost every time in the columbus lines. It's you know georgia's arena if the civic center because it is you know it's you're just everybody's just ride on top of the you're playing in. It almost feels like blood score clapping where people are just going crazy. We're hitting into the wall. I can remember when i was in greensboro. The cobras gain in my daughter. Flew over there with us With mike got a little private plane to fly us all out there real quick to the game. So we're out there and my daughter's doing the warwick things and she's on the bench and she's not paying because you've bought a whole lot of things going on same time on the field so she's looking one way in the next thing you know here comes the receiver coming straight at her smasher writing a face helmet everything. She's laid out on the her glasses of our flew off. She gets up and she has the biggest grin on her face. Like this huge thing know. They're trying to help her up if they got your little gotta concussion. She's got this green like oh. I can't believe that just happened me. So but most of the owners. Like casey smith said. I want to be back in when i when i was in florida. Football through my kids were too young to enjoy it. I wanna come back in. I wanna come back in. And i want to enjoy football but i don't wanna do i don't wanna be the don't want to be a single entity. Owner single are in. Do this in my call. You know his his family. You know their their staunch supporters of the team you know and of course he's he's one of the owners as well he's he is for a shares goes as the second myself but he We we drag our families to all the games. We drew rather families up to new york. We we just. We did everything together but just an amazing amazing time. I'm looking forward to going to one -tario into some other places on all these all these. You know the new the new you know albany. And then i'm looking forward to the expansions. Yeah and just touching on the family thing. it's funny because my kids are a little older now daughters. Twenty-three she's out on her own and My son just turned seventeen so talking to my son the other day and he's like dad. I just one of the most fun times in my life was when you would take me out to practice and i remember it was up in saint louis. So he's probably nine ten years old and we would practice it like ten or eleven o'clock at night and it's it's school nights. I'm a good parent. I guess right. But like i say look let come along with me. We'll grab something we'll go to practice and so what you guys are saying. I mean y- they may not realize it now or even you guys the the magnitude of it but those kids are going to remember all that stuff like the rest of their lives and you know my kids. We traveled everywhere. We you know we went to every road game. So i mean it's a pretty cool thing and you know now there are a little older and they don't wanna be around me so they probably wouldn't go. You know my my five year old. She's five now who's four three and four years old so we took her to one game. The first game we played against the orlando predators. It lasts it left such a lasting. This would not this passes in that we just but the season before that this latte left such a lasting impact it. Every time she talks about football she talks about landau predators and she was looking around. I have a stack of football's careful. Say that but i got a big stack of footballs and she couldn't find orlando predators. When she was demanding that i get one and so we had to ownership ship group of the orlando predators to seek a get us a football. I mentioned did 'cause she wanna play because that's the team that she knew. Should someone team. She's been took it. She goes to bed at seven o'clock. And so if you look at so i was a kid. I would have killed for some of these opportunities that say my kids in getting now two. I was in high school in. We were such huge football fans. Unable to tell the story for another time lord oliver we in spain we could watch. There was no tv or football. The only t be the only time they would ever get. Football in was the was the bowl games at the end of the year in the super bowl but they came on at two in the morning. So we would. We would always try to find a way to watch those games at two o'clock in the morning on the base because we lived about thirty miles away and it was it was. It was a crazy time because it was school nights. And we're trying to do it so we had. We spent three years listening to football games. We could watch him. We just spent four straight years listening to football. We were so such huge fans of football that we have this little foot logging. It was this weird little disc that you shoved in a slot and then so on the front side. They had the play that you ran to the had like ten discs in on the backside. It had six defense that you could run. Prevent defense run defense or past equals whatever in so would so you would handle the the disc your opponent he would slide into this gain and then the however slid in is the defense that would run in this. Little voice would not three yard run something. We played an entire nfl football season keeping stats and it took an hour per game at the time. I think there's tweet teams of fourteen games per week. So fourteen hours a week we played an entire nfl season and kept the stats every single fire. That's how big a fans we were a football in a you know so it was it was it was just an amazing time If i if i had one i would love my buddy laura. I mean from the top to out to game. So if he's listening you need to come out and watch this year. He's out in arizona so not not a bad driver short little flight don -tario to if he wants to come. Yeah that's we're I'll i'll make sure he gets out to a gain but put to be able to do something at the level that we do now would just be amazing just wrapping up a few things. What are you guys doing in. Prep with the kovin situation right now. Obviously vaccines out. How is georgia The columbus civic center as far as fans and and all that stuff we're We have to play waiting game waiting for the civic center to tell us. I know jason's been more taken more. the lead on that. I think what. I'm not sure if this correct but i think what i was told that we can put into. We can put up fifteen hundred people there the first quarter of the year and then but but they don't know what's going on the fourth quarter because there's so many factors that would just don't know how how widespread will vaccines go. How at what point will the people in our area. Get them You know we'll be with any you know with the new new administration coming into the white house. What changes will that make. So there's there's a lot we don't know the best thing we can do is just prepare the play. The seasons no way outweigh the moment that it drops in the moment that football touches the ground. We're ready to go so we we're focused mainly On on bat. Because there's there's not much we can do with the cova situation and we're not gonna we're not in a there's nothing we're gonna do at team level to to change. What kind of the rules. Regulations that were using. That were that given. So don't so a couple last things. What is your favorite arena on the road to go to as visiting team. Oh let's see for the arena itself. That's a toss up. I hate totally covers. I just be honest. i hate going to carolina. So that's not for sure. Why do you think they were kinda rival arrivals. I we played them in the second championship game. We walk in with the most beat up rag tag team. We picked one guy hit planned for a couple years before we. We flew minute That that night of a game the nothing out of the game that the night they get one o'clock in the morning before the game because we were receivers. We had lost over receivers. I n we lost quarterback. We lost a couple of our i. We had two people that it started the game previously playing for snack game. We just got terrible. you know. it's just a terrible time we Well and now. Jason says it. I'll tell you this. Jacksonville is one of the two that i love going to. And but it's it's horrible also going to orlando orlando. Just a state of the art city may give us a box or first game. There might off my daughter and jason's are play and that box was just was just absolutely amazing but it was so far up you could barely see the game and they are so high you know i went to. I went to new orleans. Jacksonville game and i'll tell you the one i got kinda gotta fight with steve. His i fan need my gained to once the game starts might people even know. Don't come bugging meter the game. Gets the question to. I am a fan. I'm lira watched the game so every arena go to. I talked to the owner. Say hey i need a front row seat. I don't wanna see five rows back with the other owners. I don't want to sit twenty rows back. I want a front row seat. And i've had to pay for of those seats sometimes so i talk. I talk to steve's hey where's my seat because i don't have a seat for you. We sold them all. And i got so mad at and i was just pissed. I just remember walked away because it's not falling. He's got make money too but you do for that. is you. Just go on the bench. Like i used to have asked me as an assistant coach so i don't get involved in that but i just stand in the bench area i just i want to experience it as a fake as the fans do okay. I you know i can. I can go on the bench. I want to but i just. It's not the same for me. I wanna i wanna see it with only interact with the fans from the other teams. And i go i. Jimmy was sitting in practice with other fans. I'm not sitting with my own owners. I'm sitting with people in other teams. But i went to one game and kevin and jason and biden me sitting there in their their Sweet with him. And so i went over there and i sat in the seat. Knock like i said. I'm kind of a big guy setting sweeteners like feeling around like this is the most comfortable seat i have ever said. It was one of the dream seat sweets or sweet seats. And i'm sitting there and girls coming in bringing me popcorn drinks like i just walked twenty feet this way and there's all the food on one eight is like man. This is the life. And so i brought that brought that to columbus so we eliminated an entire section of seats and we created sweets around a field level suites because as a fan. That is what. I want the experience the game. I want them player flying the thing naomi i am looking for. If you're listening you better. Hand me. A football. After a touchdown and i don't care if i gotta pay the sign. That's coming from that. But i want the football you need. You need to do that. Can you know the the football flying over the you know the players flying overly game the coaches coming and talking to you. I can remember the other opposing coaches coming ours. I think billy must have hated it because he got yelled at more than anybody in the world. Come into our room and so just the excitement wall at the sweets this year. So they're the entire field around. The field is going to be suites. A couple of questions. Somebody was asking what you think about. Adding rebound nets. I never watched the game with rebound. That's all i was. I never watched any of the arena football games or they fill games when they were back in. Its hay day. So i don't know a whole lot about them but the big key where i think it would it would. It would probably not fly on any of the votes in the al. Simply because it's a huge additional costs and you get a retrofit some the arenas and and One of the things that with that were more just in the setup cost. I mean just set of installing. This set him up. Install all that stuff and it's it's really comes down to like jason said it comes down to money. We you know we really. We really like what we're doing with the deuces. And and that's i mean it's a the deuce is one of those things that just drives fans nuts when you kick adduce would schuyler tyler Rossa kit five that game. It was absolutely amazing and crowded was just doing nuts. What about ironman football. you know. i've heard a lot of talk about that lately as well. I know there. There's some people in the league that are big. Proponents of that we lost a quarterback cutler wheel we lost you know mason espinosa. He was he was just. He was amazing quarterback on target. I think he threw five interceptions in the first half of his first game against the sharks and didn't throw three interceptions the next two seasons after that so he was something along those lines but just amazing guy. He went down with injury. I just can't see a guy who plays two ways projecting a quarterback that's face in the value of the face of the team that stat. When he went down we were in first place that year and we lost the next five of the six game. Five or six games coming up. So i just. I have a hard time with defensive. Lineman protecting my quarterback because he's because he just to be able to play both ways so i'm not sure how really feel about that. I think the concept is really cool. I mean to have some guy come out. Play iron man. There's a few of the now you know there was a guy last year from the sharks have played both ways and i think he made even I wonder if i think it may be bill. chris. I'm not sure but on the mvp last year at the championship game Kris gilchrist. But i'm not sure. Oh yeah what is that all about. Well jason was known so at one point as long as you want to challenge you could just kind of keep going like unlimited challenges. It felt like it. You get three challenges. A half and that's seems like our in. Jason was the master of challenges. He because he knew the rulebook better than the officials do because he held a cody solve. It can clearly saw. who is. Yeah he you're right go to solve. Was that like. I remember talking to him for my nice. Seek that the jacksonville sharks gave me. It was funny because i was talking trash. And he's right in my ear right in his ear and then he catches the ball wide. Two seconds later runs down for touchdown so we got to get one of things that we've got to get better in our teams kickoff return. We gotta learn how to tackle better but less less challenges by gibson and nobody moral we. He used to win almost every once. That's the way we keep going and get more of the men eventually We kind of toned it down. We're thinking get one or two you get one or two a half. I think you get three a game or something like that. I don't remember what the rule is now that but he would win them all the time and so why not in my opinion you can. She'll challenge anything if you win. The challenge should be able to keep going. Yeah i mean as long as it's not excessive to the point where you're just doing it to disrupt the game and so if you start losing so many than well. I think if you lose once you lose one or i think once you lose one i think at that point. You're you're condon so he would he would. He wouldn't challenge unless it's something that he was one hundred percent sure of but like i said he knows the rulebook inside out he was. He helped you know he. He's the l. a. Rules committee so he knew better than the officials did. And so a lot of times we'd have to break the rule book out game and show i know because i wrote it. I grind. I could see him doing that right. Now what is the best part about being an owner. The majority owner of the columbus lions. What's not the all the extra hours that it takes to do. Some of that stuff. So i think the best part is is really just having the ability to use what talents. I have to make the help. The team get better health. The team survived hoped going. I mean come on have been around for fifteen years. And i'm gonna live in an apartment for about five years. But our you know our slogan fifteen years of family fun in football and to be able to do that and then the other pieces Being able to be a fan of the game you know being able to be in that front row seat. I mean if you haven't experience a for almost see at a game it's amazing but but my my penny one. If i could list a petty thing going orlando or any arenas i get to park next to the team bus so i get to to get a park right there next to the team bus and so when i was so i don't search for parking or you know figuring that out just go follow bus ending so i guess you gotta pa announcer. He's the second in the league as gosh was concerned. So he's he's great. He's voices so deep in powerful that he overpowers the mites over time. So i mean it is it is it is It's defeat any last things you want to add about what you guys are working on in columbus. I know i try to keep them at about an hour. And i know i'm i i could talk. You got some great great stories in some information so well not so much from columbus blue from the league level. Here's one of the things that i'm very excited about is. I'm excited about fantasy. Football coming out. One of the things that i did with a little group group of guys that i spent time with online going over the email there from all different teams of people from carolina jacksonville in some other teams. And we we. We've been doing fantasy football for two years now. I think i won both years. Because i'm just trying to see football legend in so but we've been doing it for two years playing and i'm so excited that we're gonna be able to do it with profession because we've been doing it with we just. We abused one of the jacksonville and to make him. Do all the stats us. And and calculate all the all the scores and points and all that and we had. We had to do a lot of rule. Change along the way. But i'm excited for the fact that as a league we are going to have fantasy football this year and because when i did last year i picked up almost all columbus lines and i win with the clients because our stats are are good but i picked up one player from massachusetts pirates. Mardi gillian each are not to be the number one player on fantasy football force and it was interesting because nobody really brought up that factor in the year and he scored so many touchdown had so many points so many catches so many everything. You know doing sack quarterbacks. Facebook and never accepted it so snored it. Because like i said i know who i am. I'm just. I'm just one of the executive director of team owner but i don't think anybody even knows that so it's going to allow all of the people that follow the now to get to know players from every team because imagine when you're players playing on a team you know on on a on another on. It's not your team playing your players playing. You're going to be watching those games. So i'm excited for that. I think it's going to be a great addition. And i think that's going to be one of the things that helps the nfl. Really put forward while the one thing. I keep hearing from people i talk to and i've been talking to jason a lot over the last month is just. It's all about fan engagement. I like this show trying to trying to get more out there with the fans and connect. And i think a alive i think the fantasy football Some of these other programs that you guys are working on behind the scenes. I mean it's just going to enhance the fan experience and that's really what it's all about because if we don't have fans then we're not going to be doing this and and so it's important that You know the fans do participate you know. Give us feedback. You know on this forum or or reach out to the teams but you know we can't do every idea come up with so. Don't be offended of your ideas. Not not definitely wanna see that engagement so the question. I actually have a question for the fans of the things that we've talked about in columbus. And i think we brought it up at the league meetings but we we're not. We're not really go. Word is what do people think about. Having a three point flight after touchdown. So if you've got. I would love to see if i would love to see some comments if anybody what are the. Xfl did it. Would if we brought something like that to the nfl. What do what what does everyone think about. I would check with casey to we. We did something the x league indoor where we had different points for extra points based on you know where the ball was placed. I getting creative. Like that is is pretty. Good a josh jackson. Jacksonville asked what do you think about any crossover championship games with other leagues. Do you think that is ever a possibility. we've talked about that for years. jeff bucci. When he was a part of the league he was trying to set that up. I know we've had we've had a bunch of Discussions with the nfl about about it. The core is we played two completely different games. I would love to see a championship game. I know i remember last year Last played jason. My actually went up to Sioux falls and watch the game with the sioux falls between sioux falls Teams and you know so it was it was it was a it was a really fun for us. We were on our off week and we said hey. Why don't we go up their game. See what the nfl's about you know we. We wanted to look at some of the rules that they were they were doing in So we went up there and it was just he was like boys night out and we went out there and you know. Imagine me just a basic fan of the game. And i'm gonna. I'm gonna meeting with kevin guy you know my wife. I played american football authored. Speak but so. I don't mean with coach. Riggs kevin guy and jason gibson. And i'm sitting there i. They're talking. I'm not saying i'm not so there's not much i can say because now sitting in just it was just a meeting for one of the games and i'm sitting there and it is the three winningest coaches in arena football that working today and i'm sitting there it's just a fly on the wall is what i felt like and so it was it was. It was a great time. The best about that trip that was dutch oven jason in the car on the way back. That's always the best. I have one last question. Who was the biggest shit talker beatings last week. Oh gosh rico. Terry's all he's always up there. Talking smack steve. Steve was probably on the thickest. Of course the shorts did win two of the three a championship. So he's laying on. The thickest. Rob was rob was probably a little subdued. But i'm normally iraq gets his one liners and then and then it's all done. Your steve is probably doing the most of it because because we were in jackson bill and it was its own place and it wasn't there so we missed. That part of it was kind of funny to watch. Patrick patrick was sitting right behind me from the terio california to the bandits and it was kind of fun because we we. He was a lot more laid back night expected. But i can remember we walk in. He was tired. He had just flown all night. And just got in there and you know i know when we when he was at the when he was at the show i know he was talking about how he just had to soak up. He was a soaking up everything behind us and he. He was like wait a minute you and so he really. I mean it was great to see you know. All the owners sharing their thoughts sharing sharing their opinions sharing what works for them. Work doesn't work for them. It was it was. It was really good. I've had my fights with the owners during season but at the league meetings. It's always. It's always been want fun. But i i would say hands down. Probably got be. It's going to be jacksonville. it seems like it. I see them on social media so they seem like the big you know the trophies the back it up mean you know but they have a nice target on 'em now six teams running for them but if you look at it you know this this kind of speaks to how well the organization isn't how globally due in football but in the game against us. They were one play losing that championship in the game against carolina. They were down by eleven points with a minute left in the game and the carolina cobras had the ball. I don't know how you lose that game. But the carolina cobras have the ball. I mean it's hard to blame blowing an eleven point lead on the officials but now it is what it you know how those officials are. We're not allowed to talk about in a l live. That was the one stipulation. Though i it was a great game. Jacksonville won both of them. So you know you gotta you gotta give it to them. They've got to trophies. And that's what counts in joshua. I want to thank you for joining me. It was good to get to talk to you. I mean we. We've talked a few times but never really In-depth like this. It's good to get to know you a little bit. And i'm sure the fans to especially now they're going to see. Oh that crazy guys are owner over there so they keep keep doing a good job. You and jason are doing awesome stuff up there anything. I could do to help you guys. You know you can call me so Appreciate what you're doing is one of the best things that the league's needed for long time. I've loved the show of watched every episode. And you know. I've been a listener and a watcher. I i appreciate everything that you do for the league. I think what you're doing is getting really. Make a big difference. What that that's the goal is just helped. Elevate the game. It's such a great game and We'll be seeing. Come up there and get those scuba lessons and check out a game so next week we'll be back for another show so You guys next tuesday.

Coming up next