Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is involved in two unique luxury lifestyle ideas this fall. Plus an HBO ‘Hard Knocks’ scene for the ages, the perfect understated football shirt, cork coasters for NFL teams and much more
Game 1 of Week 1 is in the books and my first prediction is already wrong. Sorry, Trevor. So I’ll stay away from the prognostications and instead focus on the end of my series on “Hard Knocks,” the debut of a new section on college lifestyle and a couple intriguing off-field pursuits for a Minnesota Viking.
Planes, Games and Automobiles
Kyle Rudolph is the stereotypical tight end in many ways. Big and tough. Drives a pickup truck. Bad Karaoke singer.
But the Vikings standout is doing two things this season that break the lunchpail-and-hardhat mold and embrace the luxury lifestyle afforded to NFL players.
• First, Rudolph has partnered with a local Minnesota dealership group, Morrie’s Auto, which will provide him with a luxury car to drive to every Vikings home game this season. Each Friday, he’ll swing by the dealership, pick up a car—something in the Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati variety, or a meticulously restored vintage car—and take it to the team facility and hotel Saturday and to the stadium on Sunday, then return it Monday. In exchange, Rudolph will document the experience on social media.
“It’s an opportunity for Morrie’s to get their cars in front of a bunch of guys who have the means to buy these cars and also create social media buzz,” Rudolph says.
Rudolph took teammates Harrison Smith and Michael Griffin last week to test drive a few cars—the Ferrari was a big hit, Rudolph says—and plans to involve other Vikings in the future, including ones who might need a pick-me-up.
“I mentioned to (injured QB) Teddy [Bridgewater], if he’s able to get to the game, he can ride with me,” Rudolph says. “It makes it more fun for me personally to see other guys get excited about these cars.”
• Rudolph, a Notre Dame alum, also has partnered with a charter jet company to provide a unique Irish football weekend experience. The package is available for every ND home game and includes private airfare to South Bend, four game tickets, a parking pass and accommodations for up to 12 people at Rudolph’s 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom townhouse adjacent to Notre Dame Stadium.
Before Irish fans like myself get too excited, let me pass along the final detail: prices start around $18,000.
Last month, Rudolph and business partner Trevor Robinson (Chargers center, fellow ND alum) closed on the townhouse, which previously was owned by ESPN radio host Mike Golic. The home has housed Irish upperclassmen football players in previous years and features Notre Dame memorabilia as part of the décor.
Rudolph says two games—Duke and Stanford—have already sold, both to California businessmen who will use it to entertain clients.
Hard Knocks: Shop the Show
The Mona Lisa. The Scream. The Last Supper. This screengrab of Jared Goff and Tyler Higbee getting their Saturday ON. So many layers to this slice of bro life, you need to stare at it for 30 minutes like it’s hung in the Louvre to take in all the details. The Costco jar of pretzels. The Cal-colored blanket that really ties together the decor. The thoughtfulness of the coaster stack on the end table, but the brazen give-no-f**ks attitude to put the Red Bull can right next to it. Hey Jared, I've got an idea for the empty wall space behind the couch: a framed blowup of this exact image.
(This was the final episode of Hard Knocks, so this is likewise the last Shop The Show section. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I liked putting it together.)
Ram: QB Jared Goff
Product: Saturdays Are For The Boys T-shirt
You can have the pretzels, the Etsy Cal sign, the freshly vacuumed area rug. I’m taking Goff’s shirt as unquestionably my favorite part of the scene. Mad props to Goff for matching his apparel to the occasion—we know it's Saturday because an earlier shot showed LSU-Wisconsin on the TV. This shirt, by the thoughtful fellas at Barstool, was made to be worn by recent college grads posting up on leather recliners in sparsely decorated living rooms. Target demographic: REACHED.
Ram: Alec Ogletree’s infant daughter
Product: Nap Like a Boss onesie
It’s never too early to set trends, especially when it comes to naps. (J.J. Watt is jealous.) Bonus points for the sub-$5 price tag at Target. The Ogletree fam knows a good deal when it sees one.
Ram: CB LaMarcus Joyner
Product: Nike backpack (similar)
When you are ready to quit the team, it’s important you show precisely how ready by your choice of accessory: Backpack means business. Fortunately for the Rams, and unfortunately for Wal-Mart, Joyner wasn’t packing anything more than empty threats.
• It’s barely even Week 1 and I’m already tired of the sad-Peyton-Manning-as-retiree commercials. Another one we should all prepare to see endlessly this fall is this one from Bud Light for its ubiquitous NFL team cans.
It was released this week, to much industry fanfare. Yes, those are cameos by former NFL players Bo Jackson, Tim Couch and Justin Tuck. Kudos for Couch for playing along with the whole "Browns quarterbacks are notoriously horrible” theme. On a side note, prepare to see Bo frequently this season, as he’ll also be starring in a Kia campaign with Brian Bosworth.
• Are you using the Bud Light team cans at your tailgate or game-watch party? Send along pictures of how you’re celebrating football season—via email or Twitter—and it might be featured in an upcoming Football Lifestyle column.
• I stumbled across these the other day and really like the idea. I mean, every one needs a place to put a sweating bottle or can. (The hat holder, however, gives off visor vibes and brings to mind noted visor enthusiasts like Jon Gruden, Gregg Williams and Sean Payton. So make sure you’re okay with that visual before purchasing.) Plenty of teams available.
The College Corner
With a nod to my colleague Emily Kaplan’s new column on college football, I’ll routinely feature products here that celebrate campus pride. This week, I’ll start with these Players Shirts from Criquet, which take a styling cue from the old-school shirts that used to be routinely seen on football coaches. The Austin-based Criquet has recaptured the glory and has a variety of colors—Crimson, Burnt Orange, etc.—that college football fans will find familiar. To me, it’s the perfect understated football shirt. The shirts already have fans in football, too, with guys like Carson Palmer and Matt Barkley showing up in Criquet. (Looking for a discount? Huckberry has a handful at 20 percent off.)
Published every Friday, The MMQB Football Lifestyle column is a curated list of links to what’s catching Dom’s eye off the field. The MMQB has affiliate deals with some of the brands featured and receives commission on certain purchases. Have an item for consideration? Share it.