Steelers WR Antonio Brown Shines During 2013 Panini NFL Player of the Day Event
The 60-degree weather and sun-kissed clear skies that greeted Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon were not the kind of conditions typically associated with Steelers football. Of course, Sunday was far from ordinary for Aaron Kellington, an avid trading card collector from the Pittsburgh suburb of Oakdale, Pa. His 2014 football season began Sunday – right there on his front lawn.
That’s because Kellington, was chosen from more than 150,000 collectors nationwide as the grand prize winner of the 2013 Panini NFL Player of the Day sweepstakes, the hobby promotion run by Panini America and NFL Players Inc at more than 800 hobby shops across the country from September through December.
The crown jewel of Kellington’s prize package was earning the chance to spend the day with Pittsburgh Steelers superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown. As with most footballs thrown Brown’s way, the Kellingtons, their friends and family, and football collectors in the community were in good hands with Brown.
The day started with Brown attending a private party at the Kellington home and tossing the football around with the 25 neighborhood kids invited to the party by Kellington and his wife, Dawn.
“The kids were catching with their hands, not letting it hit their bodies and having a little fun,” Brown said. “This is where it all started for a lot of kids like me, right here on the lawn in a great community. It’s a great experience.”
After the quick game of football, the guests went down to Kellington’s “man cave,” which was adorned with more than 15 framed and autographed jerseys including Steelers greats such as Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Lamar Woodley and Jack Lambert. There, Brown signed autographs and posed for photos with all of the party guests.
Then it was time for Kellington and his young daughter Kaitlyn to conduct a “hard hitting” Q&A with Brown to get the scoop on the receiver and and his Steelers teammates.
Before leaving for Sportscards Etc., Kellington’s local hobby shop, Panini America’s Ted Barker presented Kellington with several boxes of Panini America trading cards including two of the famed Panini Black Boxes. In one, he uncovered a rare jersey swatch card of Calgary Flames rookie star Sean Monahan. In the other, Panini America officials created a special 1-of-1 Antonio Brown National Treasures card especially for the event. Brown signed the card which became a memorable addition to the Kellington collection.
“As Steelers fans and big collectors, this was an exciting opportunity for me and my kids to meet one of the top Steelers player up close and personally,” Kellington said. “I think it’s fantastic that Panini gives back to its customers with these types of unique experiences.”
Following the party, the Kellington family rode with Brown to Sportscards Etc. (where Kellington originally entered the Player of the Day promotion). There, the entire community joined in as winners as the Steelers star spent an hour signing autographs and posing for photos.
But before the signing began, Panini America had one more surprise for Kellington, Brown and the more than 150 guests at Sportscards Etc.: A Panini-themed, three-layer chocolate-and-vanilla cake that included Panini logos and images of Brown’s Panini trading cards. After a ceremonial cutting of the cake, all of the customers were treated to a sweet piece of cake to go along with their sweet autographs.
“I was thrilled to share this opportunity with Aaron, his friends and family, as well as our loyal customers,” said Dave Pfaff, owner of Sportscards Etc. “The Panini NFL Player of the Day promotion has been a favorite of our customers for over a decade and although we’ve awarded thousands of prizes, it’s great for one of our customers to finally be the grand prize winner.”
Kellington was among more than 150,000 NFL card collectors who participated in the 2013 Panini NFL Player of the Day contest at more than 800 hobby shops nationwide last fall. He is among the thousands who earned prizes, but as the grand-prize winner, he is the only one who got to spend the day with an NFL player. Kellington’s journey began when he uncovered the designated Panini NFL Player of the Day from a pack of cards he purchased at Sportscards Etc. He was then randomly selected as the grand-prize winner at the store and entered into the national sweepstakes with 800 other winners.
Brown enjoyed a true breakthrough season in 2013 by setting a Steelers record with 110 receptions to go along with eight touchdowns and a Steelers single-season record of 1,499 yards. Since joining the Steelers as a sixth-round pick from Central Michigan, he has recorded 261 receptions for 3,561 yards and 15 TDs; he’s also proven to be dangerous in the return game.
To be sure, Brown is no stranger to starring on Sunday afternoons. The following video and gallery provide countless highlights of his Panini Player of the Day performance this last Sunday. Enjoy.
First, the must-see video . . .
Now, the must-see gallery . . .