NY Jets’ legend Nick Mangold recently spoke to us about his involvement in Pepsi’s latest campaign.
The NY Jets have officially kicked off their 2020 season in unenthusiastic fashion. But while the franchise’s continued on-field disappointment may not have changed, the atmosphere surrounding the shame certainly feels different.
The presentation is unfamiliar, the ambient noise feels foreign — there are no fans in the stadium. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about changes throughout the sports world and the NFL has had to adjust.
Just as the average football fan has had to adjust as well.
Jets fans are some of the most passionate fans in all of football — for better or worse. So even though there may not be much to cheer about this season, there will certainly be something lost in the absence of fans.
The folks over at Pepsi know this and that’s why they’ve recently launched their “Made for Football Watching” campaign which is “spotlighting and celebrating the ‘elite’ football watchers around the country.”
More so, they’ve officially announced the launch of their “Going Live in New York” which is made to specifically highlight some of the most fervent fans in all of sports — New York fans.
Pepsi teamed up with the Jets and Giants to host live prize drops on the brand’s official fan-portal, MadeForNYFootballWatching.com. Fans will have a chance to enter to win a variety of prizes including a new flat-screen TV, a Bluetooth soundbar, a team-branded recliner, and more.
In fact, two fans who enter will get a chance to win a grand prize that includes tickets and the chance to be on the field for the Jets or Giants’ 2021 regular-season home opener at MetLife Stadium.
Fans can also be on the lookout for limited time Jets branded 12-pack cases of Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, and Diet Pepsi cans.
Pepsi recruited the help of Jets’ legend Nick Mangold to assist them with their lofty goal of “elevating their home watching experience” for lucky New York fans.
The campaign kicked off with a rather comical skit where the ever-charismatic Mangold interviews himself.
Take a look for yourself.
We were lucky enough to get the chance to speak with Mangold to talk to him about the upcoming campaign and his thoughts on the Jets this season.
What does Nick Mangold think about Mekhi Becton? Does he prefer Coke or Pepsi? We made sure to get to the bottom of all that and more in our conversation.
Here are the results of our discussion.
Justin Fried: “So you’re helping out with Pepsi’s “Going Live in New York” campaign. How cool is it to be able to not only give back to the Jets community, but shed some positivity amidst everything going on in the world today?”
Nick Mangold: “I’m excited for the fans not only for them being able to win prizes and everything like that, but the content that we were able to film in today’s day and age. I think it’s one of the more exciting things I’ve done with Pepsi, and I’ve done some crazy stuff over the years. I mean, I was on the back of a motorcycle with Shannon Sharpe, but this one blows the rest of them out of the water. I’m excited to hopefully bring a little bit of joy. I know my wife laughed at it so I don’t know if she’s laughing with me or at me, but if I get just one more person to give a chuckle then we’ll be in good shape.”
JF: “I love it. In reality, it was probably a mixture of both, let’s be honest.”
NM: “Yeah, probably.”
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JF: “So what has been the most rewarding experience about the whole thing? Other than your wife possibly laughing at you.”
NM: “I think it’s going to be when it comes out. When we have the opportunity to put out what we did, I think it’s going to create a lot of pretty awesome reactions. And so that interaction with the fans, I assume, will be at a high level with the excitement from the start of the season, our content coming out, and the chance to win prizes. It’s cool that Pepsi has figured out how to do something really unique and exciting while still being safe and socially distant.”
JF: “Unfortunately, given everything with COVID-19, it doesn’t seem like we’re going to have fans at MetLife [Stadium] this year, certainly not at full capacity. Having played in the NFL for so many years with the Jets, tell me about the environment of what it’s like being on the field surrounded by nearly 100,000 fans each week. What are we missing out on this year?”
NM: “I think the biggest thing you’re going to miss, and I can only imagine because I’ve never done it, but the two things I think you’re going to miss right off the bat are the rush coming out of the tunnel to start the game and any time after you score or a defensive turnover. That rush of adrenaline that you get from people going crazy in the stands, that’s not going to be there. Obviously the players and coaches are excited, but that’s like 80 people instead of 80,000 — that’s a big difference. I’m really looking forward to what guys say after the first couple of games. Hopefully we get some of the media folks to ask the question, ‘What did you miss most about not having the fans there?’ Just to find out because honestly I have no idea. We didn’t have a lot, but at least we had some fans in high school and even grade school where you have all the parents and siblings there. So to have no one there, it’s going to be a very weird experience.”
JF: “Yeah it’s definitely going to be something different for sure. Since we are a Jets site I think I got to ask you, how do you feel about the team this year? Are you thinking playoffs or what’s your prediction?”
*Please note that this question was asked prior to Week 1. The Jets had not been embarrassed just yet.*
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NM: “Well obviously my prediction is a Super Bowl as it should be every year. I think it’s going to be one of those interesting years for the Jets and the NFL as a whole because of the lack of an offseason. Not having any spring action like minicamp, having a shortened training camp, and not having preseason games. I think a big one is a guy like Mekhi Becton. Not having those preseason games, not only is he missing the opportunity to work on his craft against other people, but he’s also missing out on the opportunity to learn how to watch film in the NFL. He’s going to go against a guy up in Buffalo where the only film he’s going to have is last year’s film. And as a rookie, you watch film in college, but it’s a whole different animal when it becomes your job. It’s going to be a big test and it’s going to require a lot of veteran leadership. I’m excited, it’s going to be a fun year. I’m excited to have football back and I just hope it continues because it’s going to be a great escape from everything that’s been going on for the past six months.”
JF: “Yeah it’s definitely going to be a tough adjustment period for some of the rookies. No OTAs, no minicamp, an abbreviated training camp — it’s tough but I’m hoping for the best. Alright, one final question. I think this might be the most important one of our entire discussion. I spoke with Curtis Martin and he gave what I think is the correct answer to this question. So are you ready?”
NM: “Yes I am.”
JF: “OK — Coke or Pepsi?”
NM: “Oh it’s Pepsi all the way. That’s a given.”
JF: “There you go, you got the correct answer.”
NM: “Thank god I got the correct answer. Toughest question we’ve had all day.”
JF: “I appreciate you taking the time Nick.”
NM: “No problem, thanks for having me!”
Thanks again to Nick and Pepsi for taking the time to chat with us and for doing their best to give back to Jets fans all around the country.
For more on Pepsi’s 2020 football campaign, “Made for Football Watching,” click here.