Talk about your NFL experience. Sergio Piccinich got to live one last weekend.
As the winner of the Jets Draft Dream Sweepstakes, Sergio was invited by the Jets to attend the third day of the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan on Saturday. He was also able to bring some family members along for the show.
And as part of the show, Piccinich actually made the announcement of the Jets' fourth-round selection.
"I thought it was a great experience You don't realize how big an operation it is until you're there," said Piccinich, a resident of Harrington Park, N.J., whose family has held Jets season tickets for more than a quarter century. "It was fun, with a lot of cameras on you."
General manager Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets' draft team back at the Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., made the selection of Louisville running back Bilal Powell. They communicated the pick to the Jets officials on the floor of the draft, who then passed it on to Piccinich to make the announcement to draftniks everywhere.
"It felt great. It was memorable to announce the Jets pick," he said. "It makes me want to follow this guy."
That's only natural, but such spectating for Sergio could pay extra dividends because Powell becomes part of the Jets' recent fourth-round lore. Not every fourth-rounder makes it big, but in the previous seven drafts the Green & White have had a fine track record, drafting in that magic round the likes of WR Jerricho Cotchery (2004), S Kerry Rhodes ('05), WR Brad Smith and RB Leon Washington ('06) and Dwight Lowery ('08).
Last year's No. 4, RB Joe McKnight showed promise as last season played out. And now Powell, who erupted as a senior to have one of the finest rushing seasons in Louisville Cardinals history, is in the running to follow in that tradition.
Piccinich attended the draft with his father, also Sergio, and his son, Jake. He explains that his father and his godfather were season ticket holders for Jets games going back to the Shea Stadium era before 1984. They moved to the old Meadowlands venue and he took over the season tickets 11 years ago. Now he and his family have tickets at New Meadowlands Stadium.
The shiny new venue will be even more special for Sergio Piccinich and his family as they follow "their player," Powell, and their team, the Jets, into the 2011 season.