NEWS - JANUARY 2014

'Exit' Strategies​
Steve Popper January 1st, 2013
 

The story began the way most real New Jersey stories begin -in a diner. Steve Rosner; who grew up in Bayonne, and Frank Vuono, from Lyndhurst, had made their way in the business world and wanted to set up a meeting to talk about joining forces and starting up their own company together.

 

Frank said. ' Let's go and let's meet,' so I said, 'Where?'" Rosner recalls. "He said, ‘Pick any diner you want.’ Right there started the whole thing. So we ended up at the Meadowlands Diner. Tuna fish on rye with fries and a black-and-white shake does it for me every time. If he would have told me, 'Pick any steakhouse,' I'm not sure we'd be here."

 

That was 20 years ago, Rosner a prominent agent representing some of the best National Football League players and Vuono running a licensing wing for the NFL. Along with another friend , Fred Fried, they started up a marketing firm , !Sf, the outline plotted out that night at the Meadowlands Diner and continued through more visits to local diners.

 

"Yeah, it didn’t take long,'' Vuono says. “The funny story about the diner is our third partner was originally born here but he moved out pretty quickly. He'd been around in the Midwest we. Washington. D.C. So one or our early meetings getting together after I left the NFL. We go to the Lyndhurst Diner in my hometown. It's classic. Steve and I order a cheeseburger deluxe with a black-and-white shake or whatever and Fred, he looks on the menu, of course there's eight pages, he asks the guy. 'How’s the halibut?'"

 

Steve interrupts. "Frank and I said, 'Are we sure we know what we' re doing? Are we sure?"''

 

"So we almost spit up through our nose." Vuono says. "We said, 'Fresh? First of all the guy doesn't even know they've got halibut. He couldn’t tell you the last time they served it. Second. Freddy. That thing is frozen solid. If they even can find it, that thing has been frozen for about five years. It's a hockey puck.' I said you don't come to a diner and ask about the halibut.”

 

They made it through the diners and created the company, growing it from six employees to 70 in six years before joining forces with SFX, forming a superpower of athletic representation. But Rosner and Vuono didn’t last a year there before realizing it wasn't for them. Actually, they really knew before they took the offer. But with Fred’s wife ill, the decision was one they stand by now as the right one at the time. But they knew it wasn't for them and the pair untied themselves from SFX and sat down again, plotting a way to start a business union together.

 

The plan this time was to start small and stay small. And to keep it Jersey.

 

The Backstory

 

While some residents might cringe at the "New Jersey? What exit?" question. Rosner and Vuono embraced it. They named their new company I 6W, after the New Jersey Turnpike exit just a short ride from their office. The back side of their business cards are adorned to look like a turnpike ticket. From outs ide the front door, look to your right and you can see Met Life Stadium clown the street.

 

While at this point in their careers Vuono spends time on the phone from Hawaii and Rosner, finally coaxed into using an iPad (although he still sports a flip phone), will work at times from his second home in Florida, the stadium is a fitting view for the company.

 

From their beginnings they have been at the heart of the N FL.'s business, and part of that has put them in place at the Super Bowl, sitting side by side for 20 years. Vuono has been at 30 straight and Rosner now is at 27 straight - but their history together and their job keep them going including this year, when it 's just down the road from their office.

While the event might be the hottest ticket in sports, the work for I 6W is in the lead-up to the game, creating opportunities for the talent they represent- including Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason and Howie Long, all working in broadcasting now after stellar playing careers. The long hours are spent before ever arriving at a Super Bowl site. Rosner drops a binder on the table in his office, a thud as it hits, its heft enough to qualify it as a door stop. But its purpose is to outline every event, every assignment, every party and every moment for Rosner, Vuono, their stall and their clients.

While fans might be thrilled when the game kicks off, for Vuono and Rosner it is time to exhale. The work complete and finally look back at what they accomplished.

 

"Once it's the game itself we're typically enjoying ourselves.'' Vuono says. "We're really exhausted after the game. There have been Super Bowls where l had absolutely no voice. J remember one morning in New Orleans on a Sunday my wife was ready to call the EMS. I had no voice. Nothing coming out. She didn’t know if I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t utter a sound."

 

The guys admit, this year is different. With the game in New York there are more clients, more companies that want to be a part or the festivities. And with the league offices and many of the associated companies based in New York, there is no need for the usual Thursday or Friday arrival instead turning into a week-long party.

 

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

 

But hard work is not something they cringe from. Rosner talks about his father raising his family while working long hours in his dry-cleaning business. Vuono's father worked midnight shifts to put him through Princeton University. It is that hard-working background that unites them as much as their athletic backgrounds.

 

That blue-collar ethic also might have contributed to their other passion. Between them they have attended more than 150 Bruce Springsteen concert s. They once hosted their entire company at a concert at the Meadowlands and for the 20th anniversary of working together they hosted a radio show on XM Radio's E Street Radio station's Be The Boss program.

 

“When we decided to form a company again,” Rosner says, "the first thing we said was we want to be partners. We had trust in each other and faith in each other and liked hanging with each other. Then we decided what we're not going to do - we were going to buy a small building, so that we cannot expand and grow.”

 

“We really worked hard for six years the first time to grow the company."' he says. "Now we wanted to do it under our situation, with the guys that we had our core business. When you're growing a business, sometimes you represent people you need to represent, but not necessarily want to or like to hang out with them. I can truthfully tell you everybody we work with now, these are friends. These are our peers. They're our age. We can hang with our families. To me that has been the most rewarding thing - with 16W, Frank and I have done it under our own terms."

 

DOING IN THEIR WAY

 

There is no talk of retirement now. Just of doing it exactly that way- on their own terms. Rosner and Vuono now take their clients to California Wine Works in Ramsey and away from the field and the broadcast booths. They just have fun when they can, work hard at what they need to do and spend more and more time in their charitable endeavors. Rosner has refurbished the Bayonne Jewish Community Center Gym, renamed now for his grandmother, and has served on the Board of Directors for the CJ Foundation for SlDS since 1998. Vuono is on the Foundation Board of Trustees of Hackensack University Medical Center and is on the Board of Directors of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce.

 

"We've al so been able to get involved in things we care about," Vuono says. "Steve in his hometown and his Community Center Gym, his college at Wagner, just a lot of things. I got involved in all my activities, community-wise. To have the ability to use this place as a platform to do good and to be involved in the things we really care about has really become a pretty major part of why we do what we do.

 

"Our clients work that way, too, some of them anonymously and some like Boomer in a big way."' Vuono says, "It’s thrilling for us to help them achieve that stuff. Frankly, it's thrilling to just walk into their houses. We go to their kids' weddings now. We walk into their homes and you think, this is the house that we helped build. Our guys have always looked at it that way.

 

"It's really funny." Vuono adds. "When they were active players they looked at their salaries as their basic work check. We were able to provide the things that they didn't necessarily come to expect or kind of dream about, because it was their extra. Thank God we've always kind of been the good guys. That's going to continue as long as our guys want to keep working.”

 

The partnership has brought their families together, intertwining the Rosners, who now reside in Closter, and the Vuonos, who still live in Lyndhurst where Vuono was raised. It actually has brought them so close that – well, let Vuono tell the story.

 

'"We're down having dinner, celebrating our 20th anniversary down in Florida at Steve's place,” Vuono says. ''We go to a great dinner. We're ordering great wine. The waitress asks. “Wow, you guys celebrating something?' I said, 'Yeah, we're 20 years as partners.’ She says, 'Where are you from?” I said, 'New Jersey,' and she said. ''Oh, are you going to

get married now?” So we looked at her like, no, we're business partners. We always have to say business partners."

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Good Morning, Everybody! Boomer & Carton Show Debuts On CBS Sports Network

Associated Press January 6th, 2014

 

NEW YORK (WFAN) – Boomer & Carton are back on the tube!

 

Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton ushered in a new era for WFAN’s morning show (weekdays 6-10 a.m.) when their television simulcast debuted Monday on CBS Sports Network.

 

“Oh, yeah! Six-oh-three and good morning, everybody. Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on The Fan and now worldwide on CBS Sports Network,” Carton said to kick things off. “And we’ve got a great show for you today — channel 221 on DirecTV — but of course right here on The Fan, nothing changes at all, we do what we do. And that’s local sports talk and then a whole lot of other nonsense as we get through the four hours.

 

“After three out of four wild-card games, we’re money. One game wasn’t all that great. That, of course, was the San Diego-Cincinnati game. But if you love football, yesterday late, that San Fran-Green Bay game was everything you want out of a playoff game. Good morning, Boomer. How are you today, buddy boy?”

 

“You know, I’m doing great, Craigie,” Boomer said. “And to everybody out there watching us on TV, welcome to our new home.”

 

Boomer & Carton were previously simulcast on the MSG Network.

 

With a new show comes a new look. You can check out photos of the studio, re-constructed for CBS Sports Network, right here.

 

Videos will be posted daily on WFAN.com and BoomerAndCarton.com, along with the daily blogs, interviews and audio clips that you’ve come to expect.

 

Boomer & Carton debuted Sept. 4, 2007, and features local sports talk, news headlines, and interviews with current and former sports icons, league personnel, and a variety of national celebrities from the entertainment and music industries.

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Community Player of the Week: Chris Long

By Mary Beard January 8th, 2014

 

The St. Louis Rams Community Player of the Week is defensive end Chris Long.

 

Each week, Chris Long is one of the most recognizable players on the field. He has been a consistent threat to every quarterback that the Rams have faced and serves as a leader for the youngest team in the NFL. But Chris is just as well known throughout the St. Louis area for all that he does for others. Lending his name, time and passion to a variety of causes, Chris helps make a difference in the community one opportunity at a time.

 

Chris has always displayed a dedication to supporting our military. For the second consecutive year he served as honorary chair of the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign with the American Red Cross. The campaign sends out thousands of cards to both active and retired military during the holiday season to thank servicemen and women for all that they do and to wish them a happy holiday season. Chris continued his partnership with the American Red Cross during the annual blood drive this past December. Chris stopped by the drive to meet with donors and thank them for their contribution, managing to fit in a few games of washers with fans at the outdoor tailgate.

 

Getting even more in the holiday spirit, Chris joined his teammates William Hayes and Robert Quinn for the Big Plays Little Wishes event with Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Louis. The three d-lineman treated 40 kids to a holiday shopping spree at a local Walmart, sharing a pizza party with them and later helping them shop and pick out presents for themselves and for their families.

 

Always a team player, Chris lends his time to many of the team’s community efforts, attending the Make-A-Wish Celebrity Server Dinner earlier in the fall helping the Rams collect enough donations grant 56 wishes, and then spending the Thanksgiving holiday with the rest of his defensive line delivering meals that they helped purchase to St. Louis residents in need.

 

Chris also joins with the entire defensive line to make a financial donation to St. Patrick Center every time the Rams defensive sacks the opposing team’s quarterback. The money raised through the “Sack Homelessness” program helps operation St. Patrick Center’s housing, employment and health programs for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

 

“Chris is absolutely one of our organization’s best ambassadors and we’re so fortunate to have him as a St. Louis Ram,” said Molly Higgins, Rams’ vice president of corporate communications/civic affairs. “He is someone who does a great job of engaging fans from all walks of life and really embraces the platform that he has a professional athlete to bring awareness to causes and help people in need. He’s one of those guys who you can honestly say is an awesome player but an even better person.”

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Why Bears' Kyle Long wasn't expecting Pro Bowl call from Emery

By Scott Krinch January 22nd, 2014

 

The knock on Kyle Long coming out of the University of Oregon wasn't his ability, it was his lack of major college football experience.

 

Long only started five games during his time in Eugene before his name was thrown into the NFL Draft ring.

A superb performance at the Senior Bowl put the spotlight back on Long. He parlayed that and his combine showing into a first-round pick by the Bears last April.

 

When Bears general manager Phil Emery addressed the media following his selection of Long, he stressed that Long wasn't a developmental type of player and the team expected him "to contribute right away."

 

Emery was right.

 

On Monday, Long became the first Bears' offensive lineman to garner Pro Bowl honors since guard Ruben Brown and center Olin Kreutz in 2006. Long was selected as a replacement for San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati, who suffered an injury in his team's NFC Championship loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

 

Emery revealed the news to Long, but he may have had to ask around for his Pro Bowl guard's phone number before making the call.

 

"I got the phone call from Phil Emery and it was pretty exciting," Long told CSN's Pat Boyle on SportsNet Central. "Well I changed my phone number halfway through the year so I don't think that Phil had my new number. So once he got that he had called me, and I think I knew that it was for me and I said, 'Who is this again?' And he said, 'it's Phil Emery,

congratulations on making the Pro Bowl.' It was a real cool conversation that we got to have.

 

"Obviously, he gave me a chance here and some would say it was quite a reach to get me in the first-round. He trusted me and he trusted the coach and players around me to help get me where I'm at."

 

Before the 2013 season, the Bears had struggled to protect quarterback Jay Cutler. The addition of Kyle Long and three new members of the offensive line dramatically changed the landscape of Chicago's offense. As a unit, the Bears were tied with the San Diego Chargers for the fourth-fewest sacks allowed (30) in 2013. In addition, the Bears set a franchise record for total net yards (6,109) and finished second in team history in total points (445).

 

In what was a surprise season by many throughout the league in regards to Long, the recognition comes as no shock to his father, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Howie Long Long and his brother, Chris Long, a standout defensive end for the St. Louis Rams.

 

"They were just really excited, really proud of me," Long said. "They've seen this story happen from the beginning, where a lot of people in Chicago picked up on Chapter 8, 9 and 10. These guys have been through this whole deal with me, starting off as a baseball player and then coming over to play football in college. And now have an opportunity to go play in a Pro Bowl."

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Super Bowl Buzz and Victory Pick from a Legend in Sports Marketing

By Jill Malandrino January 28th, 2014

 

Frank Vuono, one of the most influential and prominent executives in the sports marketing industry, gives insight into the frenzy of Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be played at MetLife Stadium in 16W Marketing's backyard. Vuono thinks despite the cold temperatures in the region it is perfectly fine to have the Super Bowl in the NY/NJ area. Finally, Vuono gives his pick for the Super Bowl! Does he like Wilson and Seattle or will Peyton lead the Broncos to another victory in Eli's house? TheStreet's Jill Malandrino has details.