Thirteen Questions for StubHub’s NFL Fellow, David Jones
Name: David Jones
Hometown: Greenville, SC
College: Wingate University
Post-Grad (MBA): Saint Leo University
Drafted: 2007 / Round: 5 / Pick: 145 – New Orleans Saints
Years Active: 6
Teams: New Orleans Saints (2007)
Cincinnati Bengals (2007 – 2010)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2010 -2011)
Washington Redskins (2012)
In April 2018, StubHub kicked off its NFL Fellowship program by welcoming David Jones to our headquarters in San Francisco. Through this program, NFL alumni who have finished their football careers get the opportunity to transition to the business world by exploring StubHub, learning our industry and bringing valuable insights to the business. We recently caught up with David about the knowledge he gained after almost 1 year at StubHub.
You’ve been working with StubHub for almost a year now. Give us a list of the major events that you worked on, or just the events that stood out.
David: I have worked with and been a part of many different teams, events, and projects since first arriving at Stubhub. But the one that has had a lasting memory and impact on both myself and those I work with was the fireside chat led by Azella Perryman with myself. We interviewed Matt Kopa (also a former NFL player). Giving information on how the NFL and corporate world, two seemingly different worlds, share so many similarities was a gift for not only Matt and I but for our colleagues here as well. As athletes, we always have preconceived notions about life in the corporate space and what others believe about being a professional athlete. Being able to bridge the gap offered context and answers to tons of questions that I am sure cross the minds of many athletes.
What did you gain from working with the customer service teams, at Final Four or other events?
David: I have always been a fan of sports, but I have never really attended live sporting events. I was typically always on the field. Ironically, I have never actually been to an NFL game as a fan before. But working the LMS at Final Four last year gave me the opportunity to see things from the perspectives of true fans. People literally love their teams—win, lose or draw—and they go through great lengths to attend events for memories with those they love. In addition to LMS, I have been to Salt Lake City a couple of times and each time I go, I am reminded that Customer Experience teams are the backbone of StubHub without question.
You were heavily involved in some of StubHub’s charitable activities including an event with a local Bay Area Make-A-Wish kid and participating in Holiday Heroes, an event to support underserved kids in the Bay Area. Tell us more about your experience doing that.
David: Growing up, I didn’t come from much but I always had tons of love and I have also been blessed in my life and I feel it’s my duty and obligation to return what’s been given to me and give others what I didn’t have the opportunity to receive. I was heavily involved with donating my time, money and efforts during my career and I am grateful StubHub is a place where I continue to be an advocate for those who need it most.
The Global Accelerator is essentially a Make-a-thon at StubHub. Anyone can form a team or go solo and present ideas in front of the entire company. How did you feel about participating in the Global Accelerator?
David: Global accelerator was an amazing time. I thrive off competition naturally, so to see people from different parts of the business and even different parts of the world come together for not only some healthy competition, but some amazing ideation was truly a great experience. And my team won so that was the icing on the cake.
What are you most excited for in 2019?
David: I have nearly a year under my belt at StubHub now and I am ready to embrace my new role within StubHub Business Operations and continue my career development and professional growth.
Has working on corporate side of the live events industry changed any perspectives or feelings about professional sports or the NFL?
David: I would compare it to receiving a breakfast sandwich. When you order a biscuit from any fast food restaurant at 9 am, I doubt you put thought into the process that’s taken place for you to be able to eat. There is someone that had to sift ingredients several hours before hand and make hundreds of biscuits before you received your order. Understanding the process and what happens behind the scenes of any industry gives you a greater appreciation for the finished product. I look at football differently because I was a pro and now I enjoy live events differently because I know the process required to obtain one ticket.
We thought readers would love to hear about your NFL career. These are some questions about your work between 2007 to 2012:
What is the biggest crowd you played in front of?
David: I went from playing in college in front of maybe 1000 people to a crowd of thousands and on National TV on Sundays & Mondays, so every crowd since 2007 was huge to me.
What is the biggest game you played in?
David: Biggest Game for me was in the 2008-2009 season with the Bengals. One of the starters went down and I was told I was starting a Thursday night game against the Steelers. I was so nervous I would hear my stomach over the crowd. But I managed to play pretty decently up until I got hurt.
What is your favorite memory from the NFL?
David: There are so many unforgettable memories in my career, but I would say my favorite memory has to be my first official interception against Phillip Rivers in 2010 with the Jaguars. Up until that point I had dropped so many interceptions, but I finally caught one against a player who later became a first ballot hall of fame quarterback.
Who was the most difficult player you covered during your career?
David: The most difficult player to cover in my career was hands down Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans, one of those guys who had a rare combination of speed, size, strength and quickness. He could run any route in the route tree.
Who was your favorite teammate in the NFL?
David: I don’t think I could name a favorite teammate. I have had the opportunity to be a part of some teams with great guys and some of those guys are my brothers today.
Which coach had the biggest impact on your life?
David: As far as my NFL career, I would say Mike Zimmer, who is now the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings but at the time he was my Defensive Coordinator with the Bengals. He wasn’t one for sugar coating much of anything which I respected, and yet he has the innate ability to pull the best from his players even when they don’t see it themselves.
What city or team did you enjoy playing in or for the most?
David: I enjoyed playing in Cincinnati the most because it’s where I spent half of my career and got my start. There, I developed relationships with people beyond the field that will last a lifetime.