When the most important moment of Super Bowl XLIV arrived Sunday, Paul Lawrence was smack dab in the middle of the biggest celebration east of Bourbon Street.
The Everett-based sports agent was in Miami, sitting with the family of New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter at Sun Life Stadium. When Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it for the game-clinching touchdown with 3:12 remaining, Lawrence got caught up in the emotion — not just his own, but of those around him.
“His mom froze. His fiance cried. His brother was jumping up and down,” Lawrence said of the reaction of the Porter family when Tracy made the most memorable play of Super Bowl XLIV. “It was crazy.”
So what did Porter’s agent do?
“I knew I was going to see (Saints owner Tom) Benson at the after-party,” Lawrence said. “I just asked him to show us the money.”
Actually, Lawrence doesn’t plan on having any such talks with the Saints anytime soon. Even though Porter still has two years remaining on the contract he signed as a rookie, the uncertainty of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2010 season, has talks on hold league-wide.
But that doesn’t mean Lawrence hasn’t seen a few extra dollar bills in his breakout client’s future. Porter already has done the media circuit — within 24 hours of the Super Bowl victory he got calls from George Lopez, Jim Rome and dozens of other television personalities, and he was on The CBS Early Show at 6 a.m. Monday. Porter also might have some sponsorship possibilities.
“We’re in the process of feeling out the opportunities,” said Lawrence, adding that Nike is hoping to bring Porter to its Portland headquarters to give a motivational talk to employees. “A lot of people are starting to call. We’re just playing it by ear right now, but there’s been quite a few calls.”
For Lawrence, Porter’s big moment came with a touch of personal redemption. His biggest client, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald, was on the way to being the hero of last year’s Super Bowl before a late Pittsburgh Steelers touchdown eclipsed Fitzgerald’s long fourth-quarter score.
“Now I’m wondering who it’s going to be next year,” said Lawrence, who works with Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes for the Indiana-based Maximum Sports Management.
In and around Lawrence’s current residence of Everett, fans no doubt hope his next Super Bowl hero is a Seattle Seahawk. So who’s he got?
“Walter Jones,” Lawrence said with a chuckle. “But there’s zero chance of him making an impact play in a Super Bowl.”
For now, Lawrence will have to live with this year’s hero. And because of the uncertainty over the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, he probably won’t be cashing in with the Saints anytime soon.
“The next two years, we’ll see what happens,” Lawrence said. “Hopefully, he keeps getting better at his job.
“Who knows? Maybe in two years, he becomes a Seahawk.”