Sports

Behind the scenes with Reich, Rivers, Colts public relations team

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Colts 2020 public relations team is working overtime this season. 

The unit, which took home the most recent Pete Rozelle award given each year to the NFL’s top PR staff, is desperately trying to keep the entire team connected with the outside world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt Conti, Colts director of football communications, keeps Head Coach Frank Reich, his coaching staff, players and the media on the same page.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, face-to-face interaction with anyone inside the organization has essentially been off-limits.

However, from home, thanks to the creativity of Conti and his team, fans are still hearing and seeing their favorite Colts just as much as any other season. 

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This is in part due to a tool essentially all of us turned to over the last eight nine months. 

“Hundreds, we have sent out hundreds of Zoom links,” Conti said. “Actually, it’s a really good question. I would be interested to go back and count it up, but hundreds upon hundreds.”

“I would be lying if I said I knew what Zoom was at the beginning of the year, but now that’s our bread and butter,” Colts Assistant Director of Communications Christian Edwards said.
And there is another major twist to this story behind the scenes. 

Due to NFL protocols, the Colts PR team can’t meet together in person. 

Instead, Conti and Edwards remain close to the players and media, undergoing daily testing, while their teammates make the same sacrifices in other parts of the communications operation.

“I’d be remised if I didn’t give credit to Steve Campbell, Pam Humphrey, Hayden Clark, and Liz Laux,” Conti said. “I am so thankful for Christian, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, without him.”

“From the top, the entire Irsay family, Pete Ward, Chris Ballard, Frank Reich, told everyone in the building it was to be adaptable, and to be flexible.”

The best example of being flexible?

Conti and Edwards navigating postgame interviews “on the go” as the team rushed to its late night flight in Nashville following a Week 10 victory over the Titans.

Mind you, all of this work has gone down while trying to make sure Quarterback Philip Rivers was comfortable with his new home after 16 seasons with the Chargers

“It’s been awesome,” Rivers said. “Usually, finding that in-season routine, I think Matt (Conti) has found out how little, or how much I like to do from a national standpoint, and all the different requests that come in.” 

“I didn’t have an expectation when it came to this (PR) department, but it has certainly exceeded any of those I could have possible had.”

This team effort is one for the books.

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