PHOENIX – Which U-Haul Team Members will raise their arms in triumph and claim bragging rights on behalf of their hometown team next month?
The pro football playoffs kick off this weekend and culminate Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium, just a few miles from U-Haul International, Inc. headquarters.
Like other diehard football fans, our U-Haul Team Members want to see the teams in the cities they represent go all the way. And since U-Haul stores and neighborhood dealers dot the map in all 50 states (and every Canadian province), our U-Haul family will be represented by whichever teams survive their conferences and play for a championship in the desert.
We asked our U-Haul Marketing Company Presidents or other area representative where each of the 12 playoff participants is located to tell us what makes their cities a cut above and their football teams a threat to win it all.
Let the games begin.
Chuck Eide, MCP, U-Haul Company of South Seattle
On Greater Seattle: “The Emerald City sits on the Puget Sound. It is a diverse population – both people and business – and home to some of the biggest corporations in the world: Boeing, Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser and Amazon. The biggest corporation, Boeing, with 70,000 employees, cannot match the population of the ‘12th Man Nation,’ home to the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. Loud and Proud!”
On the No. 1 seed Seahawks: “Why will they repeat? Because they play above the line. To be in that club, they have to: see it, own it, solve it and do it. They have all the parts in play: business, coaching, performance and fan support as a team when they practice and play. Few athletic organizations have the will to play above the line consistently. What do they have to do to win it all? JFDI: Just Focus and Do It.”
Justin Kaminski, MCP, U-Haul Company of Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula
On Greater Green Bay: “Up in ‘The Tundra,’ there’s not much to do when you’re not working, fishing or hunting. Sunday is the Sabbath, reserved for church and our revered Pack.”
On the No. 2 seed Packers: “Any chance to talk up what is undoubtedly the best team in the league is always welcome. I believe that the Packers rally the much needed support of a truly loyal and always devoted fan base. In both good times and the not so good, fans of the Green & Gold have always maintained their support. Seeing our team make it this far is like looking at an empty U-Haul store/dealer lot on any given Sunday – it’s a great feeling. We’re used to being No. 1 with U-Haul, so the Packers making it to the big game and taking the win won’t be too much of a surprise.”
Kevin Harless, MCP, U-Haul Company of South Central Dallas
On Greater Dallas: “The sun is out 300 days a year. We have good weather 300 days a year. We have the most beautiful women in the world. And the nicest people in the world live in Texas.”
On the No. 3 seed Cowboys: “They stack one good play on another play, one good game on another game. I think of how we can apply that to U-Haul and tell myself, ‘Let’s stack one good customer service on another, one good day on another and we’ll be successful just like the Cowboys.’ I think that’s why they can win it all. They don’t overstretch themselves. They do what they do. They stick to the basics. Nothing the Cowboys do is that fancy. I’m a huge Cowboys fan and I’m more excited than I’ve been in decades. We like our football here in Texas and the Cowboys play the right way.”
Jason Hardin, MCP, U-Haul Company of Charlotte
On Greater Charlotte: “Charlotte is the No. 2 financial center in the U.S. (New York being No. 1.). It’s a great place to raise a family. It’s very clean, lots of parks and greenways. Charlotte also has great restaurants and shopping.”
On the No. 4 seed Panthers: “As for the Panthers, they seem to have their running game hitting on all cylinders. The defense is pressuring the quarterback like last year. And Cam Newton is healthy and ready to take them all the way!”
Jason Turcotte, U-Haul Company of Western Arizona
On Greater Phoenix: The Phoenix area is great for two reasons. One, the people are from all walks of life, all cultures, all ages and all parts of the country. Most people in Phoenix come from all other parts of the country and they bring all that to the Valley, all that wisdom and expertise in their line of work. Two, you cannot beat the weather eight months out of the year. From October to May, it’s the best place to live. There’s sunshine and you can do anything you want.”
On the No. 5 seed Cardinals: “Their hope has always been their defense. Look at how they’ve won. In half of the games, they converted defense to touchdowns. I would love to see the Cardinals make it because it would be a hometown game and it would be an awesome experience for the people of Arizona. With Glendale being my area, we’re part of the Chamber of Commerce and we’re all rooting like crazy for Cardinals. They have a chance if they stick to the basics and pressure the quarterback. This week they’re playing Carolina. If they can take the quarterback out of the game, they have a chance.”
Kristen Snyder, Field Relief Manager, U-Haul Company of Detroit
On Greater Detroit: “With all of the culture and history surrounding Detroit, you cannot deny it is a great place live. From the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Fox Theatre and Campus Martius Park, it will not disappoint. You can go for a stroll or a bike ride along the river at the RiverWalk or ice skate at Campus Martius. If you’re looking to stay inside you can head down to one of the three casinos, take in a play, or go see a game at one of our great sports stadiums. Detroit also has the most loyal sports fans ever. If you were raised in the area, you were raised to love our home teams. Win or lose, we will always stand by them.”
On the No. 6 seed Lions: “If the offensive line can give (Matthew) Stafford some time to make the completions, (Joique) Bell keeps driving forward on the ground and the defense plays like they have all year, we have a chance to go all the way. We need to keep the penalties in check, not make rookie mistakes, and just play like we have been to get us here. Go Lions!”
Matthew Pepin, MCP, U-Haul Company of Boston
On Greater Boston: “Boston is one of the greatest cities in the U.S., from its rich history and great food to its great sports teams. You can take a T (subway) ride to the waterfront and step on the deck of Old Ironsides (U.S.S. Constitution); snack on one of the best cannolis money can buy in a cafe in the North End; or sit down and eat some of the best corned beef and cabbage you will ever have in one of the many pubs of Southie. It’s not just the historic burial sites of John Hancock, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, the clock tower at the Old State House or plethora of food in this great city, it’s the people. Boston is a mix of all ethnicities.”
On the No. 1 seed Patriots: “The Patriots have a great shot to not only make it this year, but win it all. New England must get off to a quick start and score early in every playoff game. The offensive line must protect the best quarterback in the league, Tom Brady, and allow him enough time to throw as well as create holes for the myriad of running backs to burst through. The defense and its hard-nose secondary, led by Derrelle Revis, will have to play an aggressive but clean brand of football to stop the opponent’s passing game.”
Tavis Larson, MCP, U-Haul Company of West Central Colorado
On Greater Denver: “Denver is a great place to live due to the vast outdoor activities, the mild weather and, of course, the mountains. With the skiing in the winter and the biking and hiking in the summer, you can’t beat it. Besides being a beautiful city, it is known as a great sports town.”
On the No. 2 seed Broncos: “With the Broncos upgraded defense and newfound running game, we are looking for a victory in the big game. Although it looks like the road to victory runs through Foxborough (New England), with Denver’s running game taking the pressure off (Peyton) Manning, watch out for a multi-dimensional offense that can strike from anywhere. It should be a great playoff season with a lot of great football to watch. Go Broncos!”
Bob Bourgeois, MCP, U-Haul Company of Pittsburgh
On Greater Pittsburgh: “Pittsburgh is a great place to live. The cost of living is low. The city has a great work ethic. There are a lot of hardworking people. The city has been through some hard times and we turned it around on our own. Pittsburgh had its own recession and when the steel mills moved out. A lot of people thought we’d go downhill but we became leaders in a lot of new things. We’re a small city but a big town. It’s one of the top 10 safest cities and it has a lot of history. Some businesses have been here 150 years. There’s a lot of cool architecture. It’s a great place to raise a family.”
On the No. 3 seed Steelers: “We’ve got the Killer B’s: Ben (Roethlisberger), (Le’Veon) Bell and (Antonio) Brown. We love going through the Ravens to start this journey off because Baltimore and Pittsburgh are very competitive with each other. I don’t think the teams like each other, and I don’t think the towns like each other. The Steelers think it’s their birthright to go to the big game. We want (championship) No. 7 – seven to heaven. It’s exciting. We’ve won four in a row and we just have to win four more. It will be a tough road. But the way I look at it, you want to beat the best.”
Curt Reigelsperger, MCP, U-Haul Company of Central Indiana
On Greater Indianapolis: “There are a lot of great things in Indianapolis. Of course, we have Indianapolis Motor Speedway and one of biggest stadiums around – with the largest retractable roof. Indiana is a very well-run state by the government and by the people. And that’s pretty much what makes up Indianapolis.”
On the No. 4 seed Colts: “It’s real simple: We have Luck (quarterback Andrew Luck). They are a crunch team. Back them into a corner and, as young as Luck is, he can pull it out. I think they have the drive after getting spanked a couple of times. They learned they have to get in there and play. And Luck is going to be a big part of it.”
Drew Case, MCP, U-Haul Company of Southwest Ohio
On Greater Cincinnati: “Cincinnati, home of the infamous Skyline Chili, has a taste for all. There is a great night life culminating along the Ohio River. Catch the theater downtown, the Cincinnati Symphony or just a nice walk along the banks. If you like competition, Cincinnati has pro baseball and football, minor-league hockey and college sports. Don’t forget that we are the home of the American Cornhole Association! Labor Day weekend is the biggest show of them all with one of the largest and unique fireworks displays you will ever attend.”
On the No. 5 seed Bengals: “The Bengals are like a roller coaster at Kings Island. If they want to go all the way, they will need to establish a running game. This will allow Andy Dalton to stay calm and control his sometimes questionable passing game. They have the tools to make it, but they need to fire on all cylinders to go all the way. It’s great for the city to see the local team do well, but I am a Steelers fan all the way!”
Mike Finkelstein, MCP, U-Haul Company of Baltimore
On Greater Baltimore: “It’s plain to see why Baltimore is so great. One, (Marketing Company Office) 820 is one of the most progressive organizations within the U-Haul system. The people of the area are hardworking, dedicated and persistent. We support our team before, during and after the championship has been won.”
On the No. 6 seed Ravens: “The Ravens, with the most dedicated fans, can and will persist in their march to the top of the championship battle. Even if defeated – which we doubt – our team is a symbol of what Baltimore stands for: to keep working until the job is done.”