Thursday Night Football

It was Thursday night, October10th. The Electric Football community was buzzing. Tudor Games and artist Gene Sanny were about to be featured on the opening sequence of Thursday Night Football. The atmosphere was electric! Word had spread throughout the hobby and every coach (we took an informal poll) was tuned in. Electric Football was not only featured, but it was a positive piece too. In the past, some media exposure was a bit on the silly side. Not this one. It was awesome! You can watch it on YouTube.

Crackin Plastic: You recently worked with Tudor Games and Fox Sports to do the opening for the nationally televised NFL Thursday Night Football. What was it like to see your artwork on TV?

Gene Sanny: It was super cool seeing the figures on TV. My wife was watching with me and she was so excited it was making me nervous actually. The build up to the beginning of the show was intense and then all of a sudden it was on! I didn’t even want to blink for fear of missing something even though I was recording it. It was SO MUCH WORK in a such a short amount of time for a one minute clip. But I was so happy PT at Fox treated our hobby with so much respect compared to things we’ve all seen in the past in ads and stuff.

When it was done my phone figuratively blew up… it was unreal. The fellas in the hobby, my friends, family… everybody. I was still feeling a high from seeing it on TV. Then i’m responding to all these well-wishers in the next moment. It was just an incredible feeling to hear from the guys in hobby, because my family and friends were going to tell me they loved it, of course. But the guys who paint, touch, and play with these figures on a daily basis are the ones I felt I needed to honor with these figures. I wanted the world to say “Whoa! I remember those little guys. They never looked like that though. Where can i find some like this?!”

So that’s when one of the fellas says, “I play electric football.”

Maybe somebody who casually saw this intro might say back to them, “Hey, you play that? I saw something recently about that. It seemed super cool.”

Right after i boxed them all up to ship them to New York, I felt a hole in my core. I was like, “What do i do now?” I had spent a little over a week, all my free time, working on them and all my non-free time thinking about what i needed to accomplish when i got to work on them again. When it was done, I honestly felt kinda dizzy. I kept thinking, “What do i have to finish next?” It was crazy.

Crackin Plastic: You are quite an accomplished artist. Where does this rank in terms of your artistic achievements?

Gene Sanny: It’s going to sound braggy and that’s not what I want. But, you want to know about my other artistic accomplishments and where this ranks. In my life I’ve been lucky enough to do some pretty cool
things because of the things I do for fun. I’ve written and recorded several albums. Had a few songs in rotation for over a year on the radio – which is incredible to hear your song pop up with other
national songs. Therefore I got to play in front of 1,500 fans at once, hearing them singing my songs back at me. I act on stage playing favorite childhood roles like Willy Wonka. Over the past year my drawings and paintings took off like never before to where i was busy all summer doing commissions for people all over the country. But this Thursday Night Football moment ranked right at the top. It was fleeting. Over as quick as it began. But it was incredible.

Crackin Plastic: It was great for everybody in the hobby to see Electric Football on Fox sports in such a positive light. How did this happen?

Doug Strohm, President of Tudor Games: The creative director for all of Fox Sports contacted us about three weeks before the game on October 10th. He does a unique opening segment every week on Thursday night football. He wanted to do something unique with Electric Football for the Patriots and Giants gam. He wanted to tell the story of the rivalry using Electric Football. What a great opportunity! I called him right away and it just so happened he was just stepping off a plane in Seattle. We got to meet he came here to the office. We toured the warehouse and we pretty much figured out the whole thing at that time. He’s a great person. He worked with us to get it right, unlike the Bud Light commercial where we really didn’t have a chance to participate in the filming. This one we were involved the whole way. So, it was a really great process. He started talking about custom figures and I got a little bit concerned because we didn’t have a lot of time. So I told him I would check with the Electric Football Nation faithful and see if we could get this done. The first person to get back to me with Gene Sanny. I’m a little bit sensitive to this topic because I didn’t want anybody to feel left out. But Gene was the first one to get back with me. We wanted all the figures to look the same so we went with one artist. Gene did a great job. He had eight days to create 30 figures. It was pretty crazy. We also used stock figures for the background. This was filmed using a 9092 NFL Pro Bowl Electric Football game.

Crackin Plastic: Did it turn out as well as you would have liked?

Doug Strohm: We were really happy. They did a nice job and demonstrated the game working properly. That’s all we asked for. It was a really positive experience and I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as we did. I think the David Tyree catch with Rodney Harrison was the highlight of the whole thing. I wish we could get those figures back but they’re probably in a production room somewhere. Hey, maybe they’re sitting on somebody’s desk. In any case, we appreciate the efforts of Electric Football Nation to help us get this done.

Article by Paul Pate

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