For 9-year-old Washingtonian Riley Ottele, it's safe to say that these last three weeks have been unlike any the gregarious fourth-grader has ever experienced before. And that likely will be just as true even decades from now.
For 9-year-old Washingtonian Riley Ottele, it’s safe to say that these last three weeks have been unlike any the gregarious fourth-grader has ever experienced before. And that likely will be just as true even decades from now. Riley and his father, Ryan, are regular customers of DJ’s Sportscards in Renton, Wash., and are frequent participants in group breaks for such sites as LiveBoxBreaks.net and BomberBreaks.com.
It was through those collecting connections that Riley ultimately was selected from more than 120,000 entries as the grand-prize winner in Panini America’s Super Bowl 50 Kid Reporter contest. Today, he’s finally returning to a sense of normalcy. Back from the Super Bowl. Back to school. Back to the routine. But the memories he’s taking back with him are anything but routine — and they’ll last forever.
In the last three weeks or so, Ottele has . . .
- Received a phone call from former Super Bowl Champion Trent Dilfer notifying him he’d won the contest.
- Flown from Washington to San Francisco with his mom and dad to work Super Bowl 50 Opening Night for Panini America, first tackling the Denver Broncos . . . and then the Carolina Panthers.
- Appeared on local television . . . and radio . . . . and in the newspaper.
- Been quoted in an ESPN.com story that detailed some of his entertaining Opening Night back-and-forth with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton . . . and in The Charlotte Observer.
- Appeared on Twitter.
- Interviewed legends during last Friday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Merlin Olsen Luncheon at Super Bowl 50 . . . and the game’s brightest stars (like Derek Carr, Thomas Rawls, Vance McDonald, and Devin and Jason McCourty) and future stars (such as former University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch) during last Friday night’s Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic.
- Visited Alcatraz.
- And got to see his beloved Denver Broncos win Super Bowl 50.
And he got to do all of that just for collecting Panini America NFL trading cards with his dad during the 2015 season. Of the more than 120,000 entries in this year’s Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter contest (a new record), it was Ottele who defied the odds, earned one of the 10 finalist spots and ultimately won over the judges to earn his spot at Super Bowl 50, alongside his father, Ryan, and his mother, Staci.
“We really can’t get over the amazing opportunity that Panini gave to us,” Ryan said Tuesday afternoon. “They treated us like family and we can’t thank them enough. Trent Dilfer was great with Riley on Opening Night, all of the players gave Riley serious answers to his questions, and didn’t blow him off just because he was a kid. I could see the amazement in Riley’s eyes when he got to talk to Peyton Manning, one of his favorite players.
“This was an unforgettable week and I hope that every kid that is a football fan and collector gets the chance at something like this.”
Below, we’ve compiled a collection of the priceless memories (videos and images) Riley collected during the trip, starting with his top-notch performances on Opening Night. Enjoy the recap.
Here’s the Denver Broncos video . . .
Here’s the Carolina Panthers video . . .
Here are the images . . .