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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

NFL fan of the year Tom Grossi creates chaotic good

Rachel Choi
Illustration Rachel Choi

This weekend was busy for the NFL as the NFL Honors and the Super Bowl were hosted in Las Vegas. At the NFL Honors, several awards were announced, including one for the Fan of the Year, awarded to Green Bay Packers fan and Youtuber Tom Grossi. 

The Fan of the Year Award “celebrates extraordinary fans who inspire others and SPICE UP the game through their love of football,” according to the NFL website. Based on fans’ nominations, each NFL team chooses one person for this recognition, creating a pool of 32 potential Fans of the Year. A winner is determined based on criteria set by the league: community spirit, fandom/original spice, an inspirational story, and a fan vote. The teams determine their fan of the year through the same system as the league. 

Grossi was nominated for the Packers Fan of the Year and found out about his win in November. After announcing the win on YouTube, his over 600,000 subscribers rallied for him to become the NFL Fan of the Year, casting thousands of votes on the fan voting site. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shared the news with Grossi while he was doing an interview with the NFL. 

“The number one thing I gotta do first is thank the fans,” said Grossi after being presented with the trophy. “They were the ones who nominated me. [Also] a huge thank you to the Packers [and] the NFL for this amazing acknowledgment.” 

A catalyst for Grossi’s win was his YouTube series “30 in 30,” where he went to 30 NFL stadiums in 30 days to raise money for St. Jude with cameraman and editor Jonny Barks. In the series, he explored all 32 teams and 30 stadiums (the Los Angeles and New York teams share a stadium), with fans from all over the country coming to meet-ups at local places throughout the trip. Grossi also visited St. Jude in Memphis to tour the facility and meet with families. The trip took over four months to plan. 

“It was a shower idea on Valentine’s Day,” said Grossi about the series’ origin on the Pat McAfee Show. “I’m sitting there, and I was like, what if I did all of [the stadiums]? and I just did it in thirty days.” 

During the trip, Grossi hoped to raise $100,000 for St. Jude, an ode to the chaotic good mentality that has been a staple of his channel for years, raising money for a variety of other charities. He created incentives to donate, like jumping through a table in Buffalo and going to a haunted house in New Orleans—both of which he ended up having to do. Grossi raised over $500,000 for St. Jude in June, with large donations from sports analyst Pat McAfee and the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“Besides $26,000, all of these funds came from fans. That was you,” said Grossi in a video thanking his fans for the donation milestone. “I just want to thank you so much for not only supporting this, but supporting St. Jude and giving them a life-changing amount of money.” 

Grossi has been making content on YouTube since 2015 in his New York basement while working as a high school history teacher. He quit his job in June 2021 to pursue YouTube full-time, hosting multiple shows like “Packcast,” the scripted series “Coach” where Grossi is the coach of the Green Bay Packers, and other NFL content. Grossi also collaborates with fellow YouTubers ThatsGoodSports, FivePoints Vids, UrinatingTree, and Scooter Magruder on two live shows where they discuss the NFL and their respective teams. 

Grossi has been a Packers fan since he was six years old to spite his father who is a Dallas Cowboys fan, after the Packers beat the Cowboys.

“Growing up in New York, there wasn’t a ton of Packers stuff that I could buy,” Grossi said in a video on his channel. “For every holiday or birthday, I would ask for something with the Packers logo on it.” 

He went to his first Packers game in 2002 at the Meadowlands versus the Giants, with the Packers winning the game. Grossi said this was the first time he ever saw Packers fans in person. He watched the Packers win Super Bowl XLV from his college dorm at the State University of New York at New Paltz in upstate New York. He finally went to the Packers’ home stadium of Lambeau Field to watch a Chiefs-Packers preseason game in the early 2010s. 

“I was around fans that I lived thousands of miles away from, but felt so close to,” Grossi said about going to Lambeau for the first time. 

His YouTube channel went viral for the first time after releasing a Packers fan reaction to the NFC Championship game loss to the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, which got over 60,000 views. This gave Grossi the idea to start “Packcast,” a show where he talks about news and games related to the Green Bay Packers. It took him almost six years to get 100,000 subscribers.

Grossi went viral again in 2020 after posting a fan reaction to the Packers drafting quarterback Jordan Love, getting over a million views. Since that video, Grossi has been gaining around 100,000 subscribers a year, creating a community known as the Grossi Posse. With his platform, Grossi has done more chaotic good by raising money for Sunshine Kids Foundation, Friends for Animals, and most recently, in December, doing an eight-hour fundraising stream for the Organization for Autism Research. He promised that if he ever had a large platform, he would give back after a guest asked him to share a charity instead of their social media in 2015. 

Grossi’s posse of fans has raised over $600,000 for charity over the past few years, exemplifying why and how creators should use their platforms for chaotic good.

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