For those of you that have never made it out to the team facilities, Redskins Park is a bustle of activity whether in or out of season, and very nearly around the clock. Whether it is the coaching staff arriving in the middle of the night to watch film or the writer who stays late chipping away at his to-do list, there is almost always someone hard at work within these walls.
The lone exception to that may be Saturdays in the offseason. This is, of course, except for this Saturday, when the Washington Redskins and Mastercard hosted the Mastercard Priceless Event.
Ten very lucky Redskins fans were randomly selected from the pool of fans that used their Mastercards at FedExField during the 2012 season. Each fan was invited to bring a guest to the team facility for an event hosted by Larry Michael, the Voice of the Redskins, and an exclusive Q&A session with linebacker Brian Orakpo and receiver Pierre Garcon.
By granting attendees behind-the-scenes access and giving them a forum to personally interact with two of the brightest stars on the team, the event lived up to its ‘priceless’ tagline.
Larry Michael kicked off the festivities in the auditorium, which serves as the full-team and receivers’ meeting room during the season. Fans got an exclusive first look at the redesigned back wall of the auditorium, which commemorates the team’s five world championship, three Super Bowls and 14 division titles (more on that later).
Michael gave fans a candid review of the offseason before inviting in Garcon and Orakpo for a 30-minute fan Q&A (more on this later as well). This was the highlight of the day for me, as the fans asked probing questions and the players gave candid answers that they otherwise may not have given for the evening news.
When asked why he felt more comfortable in front of the fans, Garcon laughed and noted that fans don’t come with a professional agenda like some journalists do.
“This is actually a lot better. When you talk to reporters, they take your words and twist them around,” he said with a smile. “When we’re talking to you guys, you just listen.”
After the Q&A session, Garcon and Orakpo hung around for autographs and photos with each of the fans, taking one big group shot at the end. The guests were then taken on a full tour of the facilities, starting in the indoor practice facility and ending up in the cafeteria for a lunch catered by Wildfire Steakhouse.
All in all, there have probably been busier days at Redskins Park, but I’m not sure that anyone has had as much fun on a Saturday as the fans invited to the facilities for the Mastercard Priceless Event: