At first, it didn't seem like a match made in heaven – Teddy Bridgewater conducting an interview on CNBC.
With the exception of its B-list hockey playoff series – where one would typically find Wild games – CNBC is a financial network that discusses Dow Jones hundreds of thousands of times more than Julio Jones. But there was Bridgewater, trying to hold up under the kind of questioning he likely hasn't faced in an interview setting. Bridgewater was clearly in a "fish out of water" interview situation, but, in the end, he conducted himself extremely well while getting bombarded with business-related questions.
In a segment called "Squawk On the Street," Bridgewater was hit with some rapid fire questioning as part of the NFLPA Rookie Premiere event in Los Angeles.
Asked if he thought Minnesota was a big enough market to provide the type of opportunities for Bridgewater to get the kind of endorsements players in larger media markets get – although one of the hosts used L.A. as an example (bad example when talking to a football player) – Bridgewater answered the question with calm and intelligence.
"I think as time goes on, we'll be able to tell," Bridgewater said. "It's a fairly big market area. There are some opportunities in Minnesota. There is Target and Best Buy and the Pearson Company, which makes school books. There are some opportunities out there."
Reminded that, given the skyrocketing salaries in sports, there has never been a better time to be a pro athlete, Bridgewater was asked how he is addressing his newfound wealth and managing his money.
"I have a team – a great team – I've put together that's been helping me from my adviser to my agent," Bridgewater said. "Those guys have been helping me and giving me knowledge of what's going on in the marketing field and all the opportunities out there. Those guys have been in my corner and they want me to also maximize every opportunity."
While athletes historically have been some of the worst investors in the business world, Bridgewater added that he has a dual focus – his priority on transitioning into the NFL and taking advantage of the endorsement deals that are out there (Bridgewater already has deals with Nike, Upper Deck and Panini America). Those steps will come one at a time and, for the time being, the focus is on football alone.
"For me, my first couple years or first year, I want to focus on football," Bridgewater said. "Having the team I put together, I feel that I can take advice from those guys. I'm still in the process of hiring more people to help me in that aspect. As far as making the decisions, I feel that once I hire the correct (people), they'll help and guide me in the right direction."
Bridgewater found value in the NFLPA Premiere event, especially as it pertained to the long-term goals of the young players in attendance. He has played football for the love of the game to this point, but, when you get in the NFL, it is a business – a huge business – and Bridgewater got an earful of what it means to be in one of the biggest corporations in the world. That was the focus of the three-day event that features 35 members of the rookie class of 2014.
"Learning the business aspect of the league, learning about your player rights and what the union really stands for," Bridgewater said of what he has taken away from the NFLPA Rookie Premiere event. "I think it opened my eyes to see the other view of the NFL – the business aspect. Everyone knows the planning side, what goes on Sundays and Mondays and Thursdays. But not everyone knows what goes on behind the scenes and who the players have working for them. The Rookie Premiere allowed us to gain that knowledge."
In perhaps his best moment of the interview as he showed he was finding his element in a sometimes awkward interview, Bridgewater was asked if he had a dream sponsor to align himself with, who would it be.
"Rolex," Bridgewater said.
Who's the fish out of water now? Get Rolex on the phone.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
The Vikings were missing a few starters because of injuries after offseason surgeries, but both are…