For many people the chance to attend the Super Bowl is only a dream but for former Tennessee State football student-athlete Desmond Johnson, that dream became a reality when he was selected to participate in the NFL Engagement Experienceship at Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
Johnson was one of only four individuals chosen for this notable program in which he served as an ambassador for the NFL’s Player Engagement team.
“My overall experience was amazing,” said Johnson “Being in the presence of NFL greats was almost surreal. I had a great time conversing and networking with NFL representatives and celebrities as well!”
In December 2019, Johnson was selected and attended the NFL HBCU Careers in Football Forum held annually during the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta. His participation led to his selection for the Experienceship program by NFL Manager of Diversity & Inclusion Jashell Mitchell.
In addition to many other duties, Johnson had the opportunity to manage current NFL Linebacker Jason Cabinda and assist with the operations of the All Pro Dad event.
Johnson, a business administration major, was able to see first-hand what goes on during one of the worlds biggest sports weekends of the year. He also took advantage of many networking opportunities.
“My two top moments from my Experienceship at Super Bowl LIV would have to be me having a conversation with Ed Reed and having dinner with my cousin Jordan Matthews (49ers), Nick Bosa, and Fred Warner (49ers).”
The mission of the Experienceship Program is to connect, develop and provide diverse collegiate and professional candidates with opportunities to learn about the business of sports through practical hands-on learning experiences at NFL events.
The experience was more than what Johnson could have imagined and he has learned things that he will keep with him for the rest of his career.
Johnson spent three years with the Tennessee State football program before his journey changed course as a senior. Despite having to lay down his cleats and focus on other areas, Johnson’s love for football remains.
“The love and passion that I have for football hasn’t changed. Not everybody’s plan works out the way they originally think it should. I will use this experience to strengthen my sports industry resume in particular to better my chances of getting a future career opportunity within the professional or collegiate industry of sports.”
Johnson, a native of Huntsville, Ala., understands the unique opportunity he was fortunate to receive.
“I would like to thank Coach Jordan, Ms. Kenita, Brandon Lloyd and the TSU supporting staff that made it possible for me to get invited. I’m truly grateful. The work doesn’t stop here.”
He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and is set to graduate from Tennessee State with bachelor’s degree in May 2020.