Crowds Flock to Meet Matt Forte


If there is any shift in the NFL away from the importance of the running back position, it wasn’t evident last Monday night.  Crowds flocked to Lincolnwood for a chance to meet Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte in the Grand Opening of the new Verizon Wireless store.

The first guy in line, who stood outside from about 11AM until just after 6:30 PM.

By my best estimate, there had to be at least 300+ people in line when I pulled up about a half hour before the event was schedule to open to the public.  Passing the first person in line, I asked what time he had arrived to secured the coveted first spot.  “What time did the sun come up?” he replied jokingly.  He then stated, “around 11 o’clock.”  That was for an event that was set to open at 6:30PM.  The crowd was entertained by a crew for local radio station B96, though Eddie and JoBo were nowhere to be found.

Matt Forte backstage before the event kicked off.

As one of the Verizon Wireless Midwest Sports Bloggers, I was able to finagle myself an invite to rub shoulders with some of the VIP customers who were allowed to meet Forte for a brief private session before the event was opened to the general public.

Forte couldn’t have been nicer in the private event, patiently answering a few questions from the fans and signing a few items for the handful that were allowed into the private meet and greet.  More on that later.  (HINT – read until the end!)

I was able to cover this event and snap all the pictures during the event with my slick new RAZR M phone and thanks to Verizon’s lightening fast 4G LTE network, I was able to Tweet out updates during the event and even check in on the Monday Night game with my NFL Network app.

Matt Forte got through the autographs as easily as he piled up yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A Chicago Bears appearance wouldn’t be complete without mascot Staley, who surprised fans waiting patiently in line.

Thanks to the fine folks at Verizon Wireless for allowing me to participate in this great event.  Matt could not have been more humble and kind with his time and made each interaction special for the flocks of people that came out to meet him.

So here’s the big payoff.  Matt was able to autograph a 8″ x 10″ action photo that I will happily share with one of you, my loyal readers.  How do you win this terrific prize?  It’s simple – tweet this post and tag me @BearGogglesOn and include the hashtag #VZWFANS and I’ll select one lucky reader to win the photo.  Contest ends October 19th.

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Fans program and have been provided with a wireless device and five months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.