This really cool tailgate football game was invented in Manalapan (Opinion)
In 1983, two kids in Manalapan, ages 9 and 12, made up a game that's on its way to becoming the family business that sets them up for life. Mike Silva and I talked via email.
Here's their story.
"Our names are Michael and Frank Silva. We are brothers and we created QB54, which actually started out using two garbage cans and my dad's CB antenna on the back of his pickup truck in the early '80s."
It began on a boring Thanksgiving.
"We called it 'The QB Thanksgiving Classic.' During Thanksgiving, all of our friends left to go visit family and we were left just the two of us watching football on TV. We got bored easily but were itching to play football, so we thought how can you play football with two people? Ah garbage cans!"
Silva continued: "Our parents thought we were crazy but we thought we were geniuses. So we set up the cans and started throwing, and throwing and throwing trying to get it in the can. We're now in our mid 40's and we're still throwing."
Over 30 years later, the brothers were still throwing.
"In 2015, our families met up in Georgia where Frank lives and we had Thanksgiving. Guess what instead of cleaning dishes as always, Frank says, "Thanksgiving Classic?" And within a heartbeat, we are out there with a beer in hand throwing the football like we did when we were 9 and 12 years old. As we're playing his neighbor comes by and starts playing for 3 hours straight!"
Then the light bulb went on.
"After the neighbor left, I looked at Frank and said "We need to do something about this!" Frank came up with the genius idea of using the chair to incorporate it into the game for a dual purpose, and QB54 was born."
So why the number 54?
"Everyone always asks, what's the '54' for, and we say the first team to 54 wins. Next question, why 54? We respond, why not! We pulled that number out of the air, it just felt right, and you know what, we find most games end exactly on 54."
Then came the hustle that hasn't stopped.
"We started selling games in November of 2016 and haven't stopped since. We have sold over 10,000 units so far, and have done so through sheer grit and determination. We traveled the country going to tailgates from East Rutherford to Nashville to Buffalo to Cleveland and even all the way to San Diego."
Followed by a visit to the "Funderdome."
"During the first month of our business, we made it on to Steve Harvey's Funderdome on ABC, which was produced by Mark Burnett (Producer of Shark Tank and Survivor). We were in front of over 5 million people with only our prototype and our drive to chase the American Dream."
Thanks to hard work and hustle, the Silva brothers dream is coming true not only for them but their families as well
"This business is not only Frank and I, but both of our families are also completely involved from our wives getting out orders, to our kids ranging from 9-21 years of age traveling with us to tailgates carrying 19 pound boxes on their shoulders to customers in the parking lots."
The game that started with garbage cans and a CB radio antennae is now in schools and NFL locker rooms
"Several NFL and NCAA locker rooms have a QB54 set. Major beer and liquor companies have utilized QB54 to promote their brands. QB54 is also in over 500 schools nationwide in their Physical Education classes, where they are using QB54 to not only teach the sport of football, but it's also be used to teach other subjects like math, biology, physics, even anatomy."
The game is also helping vets.
"We developed a free curriculum for grades K-12, which gives teachers over 40 different ways to use QB54 in their classes. In addition, we have even partnered with a veterans organization called 'Play For Your Freedom' (PFYF). PFYF is an organization that assists our Vets from acclimating from Soldier life to Civilian life through sport and camaraderie. Unfortunately in the past, Vets who were permanently disabled were unable to participate in activities due to their injuries until now! PFYF has been using QB54 for over 3 years as an adaptive tool for those veterans who were unable to participate in the past, to fully participating now!"
Who would have thought two kids making up a game in Manalapan would grow to be this big?
"Never in a million years, when we were 9 and 12, did we think anyone would like our game, let alone have the impact that it is having today. We are truly grateful to everyone that has supported us and to all of our customers. We promise to provide all of our customers with a product made from highest quality materials, which is supported by the best customer service in the business, because if we didn't, there would be no business."
Want a QB54 of your very own?
"if you are interested in getting a QB54 game visit us at www.playqb54.com and if you want to stay connected to our story, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @playQB54. If anyone needs to get in touch with us, they can do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.playqb54.com."
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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