IIR Inc.

All Around Sports
Radio Show Host

Please CLICK HERE to listen to John Ingoldsby’s All Around Sports radio show every Friday at Noon ET.

John Ingoldsby and Bill Belichick

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick with John Ingoldsby

John Ingoldsby covering the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship game in Dallas.

John Ingoldsby covering the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship game in Dallas.

John Ingoldsby covered the first two College Football Playoff National Championship games in Dallas and Phoenix.

IIR Sports Memberships

• Golf Writers Association of
  America (GWAA)

• Golf Travel Writers of
  America (GTWA)

• International Network of Golf (ING)

• Professional Football Writers of
   America (PFWA)

WCTV Sports Forum Reporter/Color Analyst

IIR Sports Inc. President John Ingoldsby is a long-time correspondent for WCTV in Boston, serving as an in-studio and call-in guest on the station's Sports Forum show, while also contributing as a Color Analyst on college basketball broadcasts and sideline/post-game interviewer for football games.

Army Navy Game

Army Navy Game

March-On for Midshipmen & Cadets Kicks Off Army-Navy Game

By John Ingoldsby
December 10, 2012

My first Army-Navy game began bright and early when I arrived at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field four hours before kickoff, where I settled into my Press Box seat before walking down to the field level for the traditional March-On. As pictured above, each and every Midshipmen from the Naval Academy and Cadet from West Point march in precision onto the field with accompanying announcements identifying each unit with its leaders and hometowns. After starting the day with this pageantry, the USMA and USNA students then settle into their seats in the stadium corners at the same end awaiting the next spectacle of the Invocation, National Anthem, the two teams taking the field, and the coin toss with Vice President Joe Biden. In the meantime, the stadium fills with soldiers and sailors in every conceivable uniform towards its traditional sellout, as the buzz builds to a fever pitch unmatched in American sports. Then, as daylight turned toward darkness, the purest game of all began as the two institutions battled for the first time in years to take the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, awarded yearly (including Air Force) to the winning service academy in football. With the annual backdrop of almost every senior playing their last football game ever, the game went down to the final minute when Army fumbled in the red zone while driving for the potential winning score, and Navy pounced on the loose ball to win their 11th straight game over Army, the longest winning streak in the 113-year series.

John Ingoldsby and Jim Nantz

IIR Sports & Entertainment President John Ingoldsby (above, left) talks with Jim Nantz of CBS Sports at a Great Fenway Park Writers Series luncheon during the broadcaster's first visit to Fenway Park, where they discussed John's first visit to Augusta National for the 2009 Masters (below).

John Ingoldsby covered the 2013 U.S. Open at legendary Merion

Robert Parish

John Ingoldsby talks with NBA Hall of Famer Robert Parish, for whom John has obtained frequent appearances on Turner Sports Network's NBA coverage.

IIR Supports

The Sports Section

John Ingoldsby at 2019 Master's

IIR Sports President John Ingoldsby at the 2019 Masters for the Wednesday Par 3 Contest.

Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort Offers a Retreat from the Cold

Copperhead Photo

Copperhead Golf Course at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort is the most well known of the resort's four semi-private layouts stretching out to 7340 yards of high quality championship golf, which also is host to the PGA TOUR's Valspar Championship in March.

By John Ingoldsby - 12/20/2018

PALM HARBOR, Florida – The shining star that is Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort lit up brightly last March when Tiger Woods wowed the golf world with a weekend run up the leaderboard at The Valspar Championship to jump-start his 2018 comeback by contending on a Sunday.

The white-hot spotlight that played out with Tiger finishing T-2 on the legendary Copperhead Course stuck with me these many months. So what better way to relive it than to start the winter golf season by staying and playing there, taking an early sojourn south in the aftermath of the rainiest and rawest New England November ever.

From the moment I drove in the gate on a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon in early December, I knew I had found golf paradise.

Fittingly, the first housing lodges immediately lining both sides of the driveway had the names Troon, Turnberry, and of course St. Andrews, where I would end up staying in a spacious suite After a lightning quick check-in at the Osprey Clubhouse, surrounded by walls lined with portraits of past Valspar winners like Jordan Spieth, it was a quick one-minute drive back to the St. Andrews building, where I got an instant jolt upon opening the door to my enormous accommodations by seeing a balcony overlooking the Copperhead Course itself.

Soon after settling in and catching up on the day's NFL action (including the Bucs-Saints game being played right down the road in Tampa) on both of the two high-definition large screen televisions, it was time to explore.

So, I set out driving up and down the tree-lined streets of the massive 900 forest-like acres featuring pine trees and greenery as glittering as the greens themselves on the four championship courses, passing the seemingly endless clusters of low-rise lodges that house guests and owners, all of which were nestled perfectly into the natural terrain of Innisbrook.

After my tour of Innisbrook, I took the ten-minute drive through the delightful old-Florida-like town of Palm Harbor to take in the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.

Then it was then back to Innisbrook and its Osprey Clubhouse to watch Sunday Night Football in the well-heeled sports lounge with amiable golf guests, who were warmly watching Rams-Bears from frigid Chicago but likely were also looking forward to the next day on the links.

Innisbrook Golfer Photo

Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort is located about 20 miles from Tampa International Airport, and appeals to visitors seeking the luxury golf resort experience in a locale that is easily accessible, and is within minutes of the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

After a peaceful night's sleep in my suite and awakening to my view overlooking Copperhead, the much-anticipated day of golf had arrived, starting at sunrise with a return drive to Osprey and its Market Salamander Grille for a grab & go breakfast.

Then it was back to the suite to get golf-ready and a 30-second drive to the Copperhead Clubhouse, and it just got better from there.

The polite Pro Shop staff were prepared for my tee time, and had me registered, loaded on the cart, and out on the range and putting green within minutes.

They also coincidentally paired me with three Pennsylvania natives, like myself, who also like me were staying on the Innisbrook grounds, and we quickly realized we had something else in common – we collectively couldn't believe we were about to play Copperhead, one of the world's most iconic courses.

But indeed we were, and surrounded by a bevy of golfers preparing with similar anticipation, off we went right on time in invigorating weather showing sunny skies with passing clouds.

Innisbrook Snake Pit Photo

The par-4 16th hole measures 475-yards known as "The Moccasin" and the beginning of the "Snake Pit" which delivers the most potent bite of the three finishing holes at Copperhead and should instantly grab your attention.

Copperhead Golf Course

Our foursome all got off the picturesque first tee with solid shots, where we quickly realized that sand, as befitting a championship Florida course, would be a constant companion throughout our round.

As would some severe dog legs and blind shots, including a few un-Florida-like uphill tee shots and hillside lies reminiscent of our native Pennsylvania courses with which we were all familiar, and fortunately, quite comfortable playing.

Yet an extreme challenge, nonetheless, which we welcomed since this was after all a tough track the pros play every March in the Valspar as part of the Florida swing, making it one of the Tour's most popular tournaments during the best month of the year there, even more so with baseball Spring Training sites seemingly surrounding the course just short drives away.

But the biggest tests would come, as expected, on the greens, where like any PGA tournament course, there is no such thing as a gimme, even from inches away, especially when they played slow to start but quickened as the round moved along and the sun dried out the course.

However, that consistent contest of golfer vs. green is what makes grinding gratifying, and all of us had our moment by draining at least one long putt, that singular shot per round that most every golfer gets that keeps them coming back.

With the round moving along briskly and no waits whatsoever on any tee box, we quickly completed the front nine and stopped at the clubhouse for a deliciously big all-beef hot dog to go, which provided instant energy as we all started strong on the back nine.

But making our mark would soon become a bigger issue when we came across the imposing Snake Pit sculpture at the 16th tee, serving notice that we were beginning the demanding finishing holes, which as we've seen at the Valspar makes even the pros take notice, but for us was cause for a big gulp.

Fortunately, we survived that "uh-oh" moment and completed the round without calamity, confident that we had been competitive while also reveling in the challenge and completing what we all agreed was a bucket list round for any golf lover.

Osprey Clubhouse Photo

After a long day on the course you'll get a warm greeting from patrons and guests at the Osprey Clubhouse.

To top off the memorable day, there was lunch in the legendary Packard's Steakhouse inside the Copperhead Clubhouse, just steps away from our cart drop-off, and truly the only deserving way to cap off a game for the ages.


In addition to the 7,200-yard Copperhead Course, Innisbrook features three additional championship courses (Island, North, and newly-renovated South) and a state-of-the-art 10-acre Golf Institute with daily clinics and/or private lessons. The Valspar Championship will be held on Copperhead from March 21-24, 2019.

Beyond golf, the resort features spa & salon services, fitness classes, bike rentals, six swimming pools, a Tennis Center featuring 11 clay courts, a zip line course, family crafts & games, a variety of activities including live music, a half-dozen food establishments, and of course, blazing sunsets.

Copperhead golfball on tee Photo

Innisbrook and the iconic Copperhead Golf Course has earned numerous awards including being rated No. 4 on the list of Florida's Best Courses to Play while the course is lushly landscaped and features a great variety of holes.

Innisbrook is a member of the Salamander Hotels & Resorts group (www.SalamanderHotels.com), founded by Sheila C. Johnson, with additional luxury properties in Florida (Orlando, Destin, St. Augustine), Charleston (SC), and Middleburg (VA).

John Ingoldsby

President and founder of IIR Sports, Inc., John has covered golf for decades, including The Masters, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, Dell Technologies Championship, Travelers Championship, Franklin Templeton Shootout, Children's Miracle Network Golf Classic, U.S. Senior Open, Constellation Senior Players Championship, U.S. Amateur, and U.S. Senior Women's Amateur. He is a member of the Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA) and International Network of Golf (ING). For the past six years, he has hosted "All Around Sports" on the Voice America Talk Radio Network. John's show/podcast is broadcast every Monday at NOON ET, where he features golf on a regular basis.


Waldorf Astoria

(Photo by John Ingoldsby)

By John Ingoldsby


ORLANDO, FL – Just three weeks to the day after Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida, the playing conditions at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club were perfect.

Coming from up north to witness this remarkable recovery at the Rees Jones-designed championship course confirmed that visitors can rest assured that playing a round there is as good as it gets, given the setting combining two iconic brands, a Waldorf Astoria encircled by the Walt Disney World Resort.

Being just a well-struck hybrid from Epcot elevates the experience, which is a magical journey through an 18-hole 7,108-yard course featuring a challenging Par 72 layout with tons of traps surrounding often-elevated undulated greens, while of course featuring Florida's trademark lakes throughout.

Waldorf Astoria

Not only were there no restrictions driving the cart during our round, the GPS was so user-friendly that we were even able to order lunch and have it delivered to us on the ninth fairway.

This was just one of numerous examples of the excellent customer service under Director of Golf Rob Turner, which began with seamlessly setting up the tee-time and ended with welcome facial ice-towels presented the moment we ended our round.

An ending that featured finishing holes played alongside not only the wonderful Waldorf Astoria Orlando resort, but also its neighboring sister property, the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, with both providing playing privileges just steps away at the Pro Shop.

A walk worth taking since top golf publications have named it Top Courses You Can Play and the Best Public Course in Florida.

That's likely because in addition to being a true test for golfers at any level with a five-tee system, complete with hole names like Sir Harry and Park Avenue, the huge wetland preserve also offers a serene natural beauty with tall pines and cypress trees alongside the fairways.

Fortunately, only a few on the far side of the cart paths were uprooted by the hurricane, which were the only reminder that a generational event of nature had occurred a mere 21 days earlier.


Resort Name: Waldorf Astorio Orlando
Course Name: Waldorf Astorio Golf Club
Architect: Rees Jones
Amenities: Full Pro Shop, Driving Range, Putting Green, Teaching Academy
Restaurant: Clubhouse Grille
Vitals: Par 72, 18 Holes
Tees/Yards: Pro: 7,108, Blue: 6,657, White: 6,301, Green: 5,998, Silver: 5,179

Sports Events Covered by John Ingoldsby

2016 US Open in Oakmont and PGA at Baltusrol

2016 US Open in Oakmont and PGA at Baltusrol

John covering, top from left, 2016 US Open in Oakmont and PGA at Baltusrol, and below with former Steelers Willie Parker (39), and Craig Wolfley & Tunch Ilkin

  • First-ever College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship in Dallas (2015)

  • American Athletic Conference Men's & Women's Basketball Championships (2015)

  • American Athletic Conference Football Media Days in Newport, RI (2014-2014)

  • Belmont Stakes & Saratoga Horse Races (2014)

  • U.S. Open Golf at Merion (2013)

  • Army-Navy Football Game in Philadelphia (2013)

  • Football University National Championship (2011-Present)

  • U.S. Army All-American Bowl (2011-2013)

  • NCAA March Madness Eastern Regional Boston (2013)

  • NFL Super Bowl Weeks & Radio Row, Drafts, Owners Meetings

  • NFL Rooke Symposium (2014), Broadcast Boot Camps (2012 & 2008)

  • New England Patriots News Conferences & Training Camps (2006-2012)

  • U.S. Men's & Women's National Soccer Matches (2011-Present)

  • Masters Golf in Augusta (2009)

  • Deutsche Bank Golf Tournament (2011-Present)
  • Travelers Golf Championship (2011-Present)

  • U.S. Amateur Golf Championship (2014)

  • Boston Celtics-Miami Heat Eastern Conference Finals (2012)

  • Boston Bruins Postseason in Stanley Cup Season (2011)

  • UConn-Michigan Football Game (2013)

  • WNBA's Connecticut Sun (2011-Present)

  • WNBA All-Star Game (2013) & WNBA Draft (2014)

  • NCAA Lacrosse Final Four at Gillette Stadium (2011)

  • Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game at Harvard Stadium (2012)

  • Tom Brady's Best Buddies Challenge Touch Football Game at Harvard Stadium (2014)

  • Matt Light Celebrity Shootouts

  • Jarod Mayo Bowls

  • Ty Law Patriots Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (2014)

  • Ivy League Sports Symposium (2013)

  • Boston Militia Women's Professional Football

  • Rob Gronkowski Football 101 Women's Clinic (2015)

One-on-One Interviews for Armchair General Magazine (Click Here to see Articles)

  • Coach Mike Krzyzewski
  • Coach Bill Parcells
  • Coach Bob Knight
  • Roger Staubach
  • Rocky Bleier
  • Pete Dawkins
  • Joe Bellino

John Ingoldsby at NFL Player Engagement's

John Ingoldsby sits on the set of NFL Player Engagement's "PE TV" during Super Bowl Week.

To view John Ingoldsby's NFL stories, click here for NFL Football Operations and here for NFL Player Engagement

John Ingoldsby is a writer for both the National Football League's (NFL) Football Operations and NFL Player Engagement departments, following his career-long coverage of the NFL for a variety of print and broadcast media, where he has had the unique distinction of covering two NFL dynasties, the current New England Patriots and the "Steel Curtain Era" Pittsburgh Steelers. He has also written articles on the NFL for Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine (NFL Player Engagement), London-based Financial Times newspaper (NFL's international strategy), the Philadelphia Daily News (annual NFC Coaches Breakfast) and the Boston Globe (Interviewed Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll).

Football Operations Logo

Patriot & Naval Officer Joe Cardona culminates a November to remember

Joe Cardona Locker Room photo

Joe Cardona on Field photo

(Photos by John Ingoldsby)

By John Ingoldsby, Player Engagement Insider

When New England Patriots' Joe Cardona took the field Sunday for the Salute to Service game, it's safe to say there was no more of a true Patriot than him anywhere inside Gillette Stadium.

Not only is he the team's long snapper, but the United States Naval Academy graduate is also a Junior Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy.

"This is another game where my two worlds come together, much like the Falcons game a few weeks back when we provided 200 game tickets for military members," said the California native. "It was amazing how the whole team and organization got behind our initiative to give them that personal experience."

That initiative spearheaded by Cardona for the October 22nd Super Bowl rematch ushered in a November to remember both on and off the field for the 25-year-old.

The military honors month kicked off on November 3rd when the NFL announced that he was named the Patriots' Salute to Service nominee, joining 31 others from each team who were recognized for their efforts with the armed services.

"It was an incredible honor to be mentioned in the company of these men around the league who all do tremendous work," he said. "They are all so accomplished in their support of the military, so it is truly humbling to be nominated."

The following weekend was Veterans Day, which the Patriots punctuated by beating the Broncos on Sunday Night Football, after which the team set up camp on familiar turf to Cardona.

"We went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to practice that week, and they did a great job of bridging the gap between the military and civilians by providing everyone with exposure to the service members, which was an excellent learning experience for all," emphasized the four-year starter at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, who faced the Falcons a few times on the very field he practiced on in the shadow of Pikes Peak.

From there, it was off to an even higher altitude in Mexico City for an international game against the Oakland Raiders, and what would be a career moment when Cardona's snap started a franchise record 62-yard field goal for kicker Steven Gostkowski.

"Steve's field goal was really cool, and he and I, along with holder Ryan Allen, knew that if an opportunity like that came in altitude we would be ready, and then Steve hit one of his cleanest balls ever," Cardona said.

No surprise for the long snap specialist, who was so proficient at his San Diego-area high school, Granite Hills in El Cajon, that the Naval Academy came calling for the son of a 24-year Navy veteran.

"Given my father's Navy service, I grew up watching the Army-Navy game so, when it came time to choose a college, and Navy recruited me, it took me just a few minutes to decide," he said.

In what would be a precursor to ultimately landing in New England, he started at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, before enrolling at the Naval Academy, where he majored in economics.

While there, he ran up a perfect 4-0 record in the very Army-Navy games he used to watch with his father, and recalled, "It's an incredible game to be a part of, and means so much to so many in this country because it's the next generation of leaders all competing on the same field, which is what makes it so unique."

Also unique is the Annapolis connection with Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick, who grew up while his father served on the Academy coaching staff for 34 years so, drafting Cardona in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft made for a mutual connection, as does their other shared passion of lacrosse, which both played scholastically.

"It has been great to have that connection with Coach Belichick since we share common ground and both understand the 'Annapolis Way,'" Cardona said. "But playing for him is all business and purely professional."

Interestingly, the Annapolis Way has been highlighted this fall on the Showtime network, who has been broadcasting a weekly documentary series, "A Season with Navy Football," which of course Cardona has been viewing.

"It has been wonderful to watch since it provides a rare insight into the daily life of attending the Academy, both the fun stuff and the painful stuff, and shows what it's really like," said Cardona, who has often had two uniforms for away game weekends, the Navy uniform he has worn boarding the plane and of course his Patriots uniform on game day.

But both the fun and the pain turned out well for Cardona, who in addition to his long hours of perfecting his long snapping daily with the Patriots, finds the time to maximize his Navy commitment.

"As a rookie, I was on active duty, spending time, for instance, at service warfare officer school and on the USS Zumwalt in Norfolk (VA), but now in the Reserves, my mission is unit support and participating in War Games for U.S. forces in South Korea, which is very meaningful," he explained of his eight-year commitment, which requires one weekend a month, and two weeks a year.

But it doesn't stop there for Cardona, who still finds time for more Navy-related activities, as noted in the Patriots' Salute to Service nomination.

One has been more than a dozen re-enlistment and retirement ceremonies at Gillette Stadium, which Cardona described saying, "I try to make the experience special, and approached Coach Belichick who decided to have the whole team there. So, for example, I have changed into my Navy uniform in the medical tent right after practice, and the ceremony has turned out to be a special experience for both me and my teammates. Fortunately, I got all the words right, and these are events that I am always willing to do."

He also has hosted free football clinics for military families at both Hanscom Air Force Base and Naval Station Newport, noting, "For many of these kids, dad and/or mom may be on deployment somewhere, so everyone truly enjoys these events."

He even jumped into the breach last fall when a fire at Joint Base Cape Cod burned holiday toys meant for military families, so he visited the base and worked with the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation to collect replacement toys.

"When I heard the gifts were destroyed, it was wonderful to work with the team's foundation to find toys and support those military families," he said during this locker room interview the day after Thanksgiving.

And he was his usual humble self again two days later at the team's official Salute to Service game on Sunday, when he culminated his magical month of a November to remember.

Rocky Bleier Is Still Making Fellow Veterans His Mission

By JOHN INGOLDSBY | Engagement Insider

November 2, 2014

Rocky Bleier Photo

(AP Photo/Ed Rieker)

As the NFL kicks off its annual Salute To Service campaign again this November, one of their most decorated veterans continues to carry on its mission of serving those who have served.

Which for Pittsburgh Steelers Legend Rocky Bleier means working tirelessly with military veterans' organizations to ensure that fellow former soldiers transition successfully into civilian life.

And although he has done this for decades, the biggest effort may now just be beginning for Bleier, the former Army infantryman who overcame war wounds from Vietnam to become a four-time Super Bowl champion with the iconic Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s.

"With the downsizing of the military from current conflicts abroad, there are approximately 300,000 troops who will soon become civilians," said the famous author of "Fighting Back," which was later made into a movie.

But for many returning soldiers, there is no Hollywood ending, only physical and psychological scars. But that's where Bleier and the organizations he works with can help veterans be aware of how to access all the services available to them.

"I have a lot going on these days, working work with groups like "Warrior2Citizen" and "Unite Us," the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Pittsburgh, and being an Honorary Director of the Boulder Crest Retreat," noted the 1968 Notre Dame graduate.

"For Veterans Day, I will be meeting in Atlanta with Warrior2Citizen, which helps veterans handle the challenges of transitioning from the war front to the home front," said Bleier, who explained that the organization helps, for instance, married couples who may be dealing with the psychological and moral aspects of war.

"It started with the Georgia National Guard, where measurable results showed divorce rates cut in half and suicides drop to zero, and it is now open to all branches of the military," he exclaimed.

Bleier attributes the success of this program to technology, where 24-7 all veterans can go to a computer and within minutes be online with counselors, even face-to-face, to draw support and discuss issues they are facing.

"The soldiers of today are tied to technology," observed Bleier, who stressed that the ultimate aim of the Warrior2Citizen (www.warrior2citizen.org)" is to make veterans productive citizens.

Another association that the Pittsburgh resident is involved in is "Unite Us" (www.uniteus.com), which connects veterans, service members, and their families with valuable resources and supporters in their local communities.

"As an example, Western Pennsylvania has the second largest veteran population outside of a military base, so we just kicked off this effort which serves as a resource for our veterans," stated Bleier.

The Wisconsin native also mentioned that "Unite Us," is teamed up with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (www.vets.syr.edu), which focuses on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service.

But that's not all for the busy Bleier, who noted that on November 15 he will attend the Cannon Ball Gala at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Pittsburgh (www.soldiersandsailorshall.org), the nation's only military museum dedicated to honoring the men and women of all branches of service, and in all capacities (Active, Reserve, Guard).

"The museum is a great tribute to military history, and I am proud to be associated with it," said Bleier.

An additional association he takes pride in is Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Virginia (www.bouldercrestretreat.org), a rural sanctuary where military warriors with combat-stress related injuries can bring their families and enjoy non-clinical, recreational therapeutic activities aimed at assisting with their physical, mental, financial and spiritual recovery.

"I was named to the Honorary Advisory Board last year, which was an honor for me since I support Ken Falke, who started by inviting soldiers from Walter Reed Hospital back to his house in Virginia, and later donated land to his foundation to have a retreat where soldiers and their family could have a place to go and enjoy an outdoor experience."

An experience like so many that Bleier believes will benefit veterans so they can find successful post-service careers, just like Bleier himself, who has two businesses.

"I own a construction company, where I sometimes work with the federal government and Veterans Administration, and I also have an insurance agency with my son, where I help people transitioning into retirement with areas like social security and 401Ks," he said.

But no matter what the age, Bleier believes a successful transition stems from utilizing available resources, and pointed out the current correlation that resonates with his famous life story.

"I am always struck by the similarities of NFL players and military veterans, since so often they both complete their first career in their twenties," the former Steelers players' representative observed. "But fortunately for them, they both have resources second to none available to them for a successful transition, so I would tell the players what I tell the veterans, which is to take advantage of all that the NFL, like the government, has to offer."

And although the NFL offers exponentially more resources off the field than when Bleier retired from the game, he made his mark on the field like no other, beginning 40 years ago when he fulfilled his football dream by becoming the starting halfback in the Steelers backfield.

"In 1974, there was a strike so there weren't as many players as usual in camp, and there were only four other running backs on the roster, so with injuries and other circumstances I began to get some playing time early in the season," recalled Bleier. "Through some mixing and matching, I had a couple of good games and then finally on a Monday night in Atlanta, Franco Harris and I started together and I became his blocking back."

But he ultimately became Franco's running mate as well when they won the first of their four Super Bowl together that year, and in 1976 they became only the second set of teammates to each rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.

And as the dynasty unfolded, Bleier forever shed the label as just a blocking back by rushing for nearly 4,000 career yards, including a career-high 70-yard jaunt.

Then, he picked the biggest moment of them all to display his genuine athleticism in making the signature play of his career by jumping high to snare the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XIII.

That leaping catch was captured forever on the cover of Sports Illustrated, serving as a fitting tribute to a soldier wounded in the 1960s who still serves his fellow veterans nearly five decades later.

John Ingoldsby writes about NFL Player Engagement
in Bloomberg Businessweek Special Advertising Section

John Ingoldsby NFL Player Engagement article from Bloomberg

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John Ingoldsby Featured
in College Alumni Magazine


Fall 2012
St. Francis Magazine

John Ingoldsby St. Francis Magazine article

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49ers Owner Greets Military Before Patriots Game


December 17, 2012
Armchair General Magazine

Dr. John York photo by John Ingoldsby

December 16, 2012. San Francisco 49ers Owner Dr. John York, right, greets members of the military before the New England Patriots Sunday night game, presenting a Niners pin to one soldier on the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Dr. York is the Chairman of the NFL's Health & Safety Committee, which includes the joint study now under way between the NFL and the U.S. Army to study Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), story below. Dr. York has been conducting this pre-game of greeting 49ers fans and giving them pins and Field Passes for the past eight years. (Photo by John Ingoldsby)

NFL & Army teaming up to tackle Traumatic Brain Injuries


September 7, 2012
Armchair General Magazine

West Point Panel photo by John Ingoldsby

NFL & Army Stage Panel at West Point. The West Point panel included, from left: Dr Richard Ellenbogen, Major Sarah Goldman, Bart Oates, General Raymond Odierno, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Major Christopher Molino, Troy Vincent, and Staff Sergeant Shawn Hibbard. (Photo by John Ingoldsby)

WEST POINT, NY, Sept. 7, 2012 – The National Football League and the U.S. Army have shared a storied history of working together, and now have formed perhaps their most important alliance ever in teaming up to tackle Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

The two iconic institutions chose the hallowed grounds of the United State Military Academy at West Point for the announcement, which included a panel discussion on this timely topic before an audience that included 200 Cadets.

The event was kicked off by Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who both stressed the complete collaboration they envision to implement a culture change to reduce brain injuries, including most importantly concussions.

Photo of General Raymond Odierno, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

General Raymond Odierno (left), U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hold an outdoors press conference at West Point following a panel discussion regarding their new alliance to study Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). (Photo by John Ingoldsby)

By emphasizing the importance of shared responsibility, self-regulation and peer pressure in battling this issue, the General and the Commissioner spearheaded a candid conversation by a star-studded panel that advocates players and soldiers seek help for a head injury to either themselves or those around them.

This call for healthy behaviors was echoed by the panel that included former players Troy Vincent and Bart Oates, Neurologist Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, a Co-Chair of the NFL's Head, Neck & Spine Committee, and Major Sarah Goldman, Major Christopher Molino, and Staff Sergeant Shawn Hibbard, all of whom contributed their perspective from the trenches.

In launching this initiative, both organizations created the websites www.NFL.com/military and www.army.mil/tbi, while also pledging to hold forums at NFL team facilities and Army bases, increasing awareness through PSAs and social media, pairing retired players with soldiers transitioning out of the Army, and sharing medical research and information.

John Ingoldsby, a leading writer on the intersection of sports and the military who attended this event, is president of IIR Sports, Inc. (www.IIRsports.com) in Boston, a media & public relations firm. As a former newspaper reporter covering Fort Devens, he was the first New England media representative ever chosen by the Pentagon to cover NATO war games in Europe. His father was a Lieutenant Colonel in General Patton's legendary Third Army during World War II.

IIR Sports conducts PR & Media activities at U.S. Army All-American Bowl

John Ingoldsby at U.S. Army All-American Bowl

IIR Sports Inc. President John Ingoldsby, stands on the San Antonio Alamodome field immediately following The U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he worked all week for the Bowl organizers conducting a variety of public relations and media activities for the renowned high school all-star game.

United Way

John Ingoldsby, left, attended a United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley event during the NFL Fall Meeting in Boston, that also included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Myra Kraft, second from right.

The sport with a game-plan for tackling the recession

As the NFL prepares to play its third regular season game in the UK, John Ingoldsby
reports on American football's moves to expand its fan base and revenues.


October 22, 2009
The Financial Times

At last week’s National Football League owners meeting in Boston, one of the regular gatherings of the high-powered executives who run the league and its 32 teams, the agenda included adding games to the schedule, whether to include sponsors’ logos on practice kit and plans for a new collective bargaining agreement with players.

But underlying all this, the mood was bullish. One of the biggest businesses in sport, announced Roger Goodell, league commissioner, was bucking the economic recession.

“We started the session this morning as we traditionally do with a report on the status of the season, and we had a very upbeat report, not only on the quality of the games but also with fan engagement,” he says.

Ratings for all four of the networks that televise NFL games – CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN – have increased from last year, and the viewership records have been set in three of this season’s first five weeks, with the most watched Sunday night game ever on September 20 between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys on NBC.

The league has also in the past few months showed it is surviving a weak sponsorship market by signing a new deal with Proctor & Gamble, while renewing long-standing agreements with Visa and IBM.

But as the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers get set to play each other at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday, the third regular season game to be played there in as many years, Mr Goodell appears convinced that the health of the sport will benefit from global expansion.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during NFL Fall Meeting in Boston. (Photo by John Ingoldsby)

“The progress we are making internationally, in particular our efforts in the UK, show that the fans have really responded,” he says. “The fans in the UK look like they could have a second game, and we are looking as early as next year. It could be Wembley, or it could also be some place else in the UK, and we have talked about other spots in Europe also.”

Steve Tisch, owner of the New York Giants, a team that played in the inaugural London game two years ago, is an enthusiastic supporter of the commissioner’s strategy. “The way Roger has set it up with the London games is a great start, and the experiences over there have been terrific.”

For a domestic league with revenues of $8bn (€5.3bn, £4.8bn) that culminates in the Super Bowl, one of the marketing world’s marquee events – in the midst of the global recession, 30-second ads for last February’s game cost an average of $3m, up from $2.7m the year before – it is perhaps a surprising strategy.

What is more, previous efforts to expand the sport abroad have been unsuccessful. NFL Europa, a Europe-based branch of the league which included teams in Germany and the Netherlands, closed in 2007, and the NFL turned instead to the current strategy of playing regular season games outside the US.

Still, Mr Goodell points to the more than 140m NFL fans outside the US and 120 broadcasters from 230 countries and territories that will carry NFL programming in 2009 as evidence of its continuing global appeal.

But he also recognises that “we are not played as broadly as some other sports, particularly soccer and basketball, but when people have the opportunity to see our game and be engaged, they love it and want more of it”.

In this respect, the National Basketball Association, another North American league that has pursued an international strategy in recent years, has been more successful. The sport is well established in Europe and, perhaps more significantly for the long term, in China. Last year, the league formed NBA China, an organisation designed to conduct all its operations there and it claims that NBA.com/china, its local website, is the single most popular sports website in the country.

For the time being, the NFL remains focused on expanding the business in Europe, but for the fans set to turn the home of English football into a home for its American version, the only numbers that count will be on the scoreboard.

A global pull: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (left) and New England Patriots will play in London on Sunday

A global pull: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (left) and New England Patriots will play in London on Sunday

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell takes global view after climbing corporate ladder to reach mountaintop


BOSTON, Massachusetts – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reached the mountaintop both literally and figuratively, and his view from the top is surely spectacular.

Professionally, after a 24-year career climbing the corporate ladder at the National Football League, Goodell reached the peak of his profession when he was elected Commissioner four years ago.

Personally, he trained rigorously to successfully scale the 14,411-foot summit of Mount Rainier 15 months ago as part of a group supporting United Way, an NFL partner for more than 35 years.

With the mountains behind him, the 51-year-old Commissioner is now crisscrossing the ocean with the “great American game of Football,” and London has become the league’s new world—one apparently worthy of further exploration.

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Q&A with NFL CMO Mark Waller


In October, 2009, during the NFL’s Fall Meeting in Boston just two weeks before the NFL’s International Game in London, Boston-based writer John Ingoldsby sat down with Mark Waller, the National Football League’s new and first-ever Chief Marketing Officer, for an exclusive interview.

Read Full Article

Mark Waller

Mark Waller makes a point during MIT Sports Analytics Conference. (Photo by John Ingoldsby)

NFL CMO Mark Waller Goes Global at MIT Conference


BOSTON, MA—The National Football League has already taken its game across the pond, and is now intending to “accelerate massively the education” aspect of American football worldwide.

This revelation, and many other components of the NFL’s commitment to growing its game globally, were put forth by NFL Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Mark Waller during the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston in March 2010.

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From intern to dream job: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell


June 1, 2010

LOWELL, Mass. – College graduates take note.

An internship can lead to arguably the greatest job in the world. Literally!

For it was an internship that was the first step undertaken by Roger Goodell nearly three decades ago that ultimately led to his current job as Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL).

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John Ingoldsby Covers Deutsche Bank Championships

Public Relations Society of America

John Ingoldsby was on the 18th green to take these photos of PGA Golfer Rickie Fowler, right, winning the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship trophy, and in prior years Rory McElroy, left, displaying the 2012 trophy, after defeating, among others, Tiger Woods, center. (Photos by John Ingoldsby)

Stars shine at Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am


Doug Flutie, Padraig Harrington at 2015 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am

Doug Flutie, Padraig Harrington

Geno Auriemma, George Lopez at 2015 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am

Geno Auriemma, George Lopez

Stephen Gostkowski, Andre Tippet at 2015 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am

Stephen Gostkowski, Andre Tippett

Chris Berman, Keegan Bradley at 2015 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am

Chris Berman, Keegan Bradley

Ernie Els, Matt Lauer at 2015 Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am

Ernie Els, Matt Lauer

Bernhard Langer and John Ingoldsby

Above Left: Bernhard Langer hoists his newest trophy; Above Right: John Ingoldsby culminated week-long coverage on Sunday

Bernhard Langer Masters
Senior Players Championship


BELMONT, MA – Bernhard Langer mastered the Constellation Senior Players Championship at Belmont Country Club, just like he did back in the day at Augusta.

The two-time Masters champion shot a stunning 19 under par to win this Champions Tour major for the second consecutive year, thereby sharing rare air with Arnold Palmer as the event's only back-to-back winners.

In taking the tournament by six strokes, the German native dominated both his competition and the course during the four-day mid-June event, and basically took a victory lap on Sunday when he began the day with an eight-stroke lead.

But that didn't dampen the positive vibe evident all week long as New Englanders flocked to the hilly suburban Boston track to mingle with some of the game's biggest names that many fans grew up watching.

In addition to Langer, this group included Colin Montgomerie Rocco Mediate, Hale Irwin, Larry Mize, Mark Calcavecchia, Jeff Sluman, Corey Pavin, Jeff Maggert, Lee Janzen, Hal Sutton, Fred Funk, Jesper Parnevik, Bob Gilder, Scott Verplank, Kenny Perry, Sandy Lyle, and Rhode Islanders Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon.

Best of all, they weren't just watching, they were truly mingling with the players since the relaxed atmosphere made it easy to mix with the players, where life begins at age 50 on this tour.

It was not uncommon to look up at any given moment and see one of the players listed above, along with scores of other well-known players from the field of 80, just walking along and more than willing to stop and chat.

This was never more evident than a personal encounter I had with Rocco Mediate, who had the legendary duel with Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which Woods won on the first sudden-death hole after they were tied in an 18-hole Monday playoff.

As I was walking along the 16th Fairway on Sunday, Mediate was standing at the ropes smoking a stogie and chatting with a policeman while waiting for his two playing partners to hit.

I approached and said I grew up in Altoona, PA, just an hour or so from Rocco's hometown of Greensburg, PA.

His face lit up as he immediately said, "Park Hills," the course in Altoona where Rocco said he "learned as a boy how to play tournament golf."

We chatted for a few more minutes about Western PA before the affable six-time PGA Tour winner had to hit, and l walked away with the unique memory of having had this exchange with a player between shots late in Sunday's final round.

There is no doubt that many others had similar encounters with players during the week, where even Colin Montgomerie, who New Englanders gave a hard time to during the 1999 Ryder Cup, was a huge hit with local fans with his gracious nature throughout the week.

He also showed his softer side at a news conference on Tuesday when he remembered that fabled Sunday at The Country Club.

In stating that it was his first time playing here since that day, he recalled how Payne Stewart conceded the 18th hole and match to him, just minutes after Justin Leonard had won the Ryder Cup with his iconic putt to complete the miracle American comeback.

Just a few months later, Stewart died in an airplane accident, but an emotional Montgomerie described how being back near Brookline resurrects that final memory of him "being a true gentleman with this act of sportsmanship."

Colin Montgomerie and Rocco Mediate

Above Left: Colin Montgomerie awaits his next shot; Above Right: Rocco Mediate sized up a putt