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UWRF alumnus discusses career with the NFL

November 18, 2015

Ryan Stridde lives a life on the weekends that most sports fans could only dream of, and he finally got to share his experiences with his alma mater this past Tuesday in the University Center.

Stridde is currently an enhanced audio technician for NFL Films, the critically acclaimed company that is well known for its Emmy award-winning show “Hard Knocks” on HBO. The show follows every aspect of an NFL team’s training camp, from the first day to the final preseason game. Stridde first got his chance with the company as a student back in 2007.

“The opportunity came out of nowhere when my Communications professor asked if I wanted to be involved with the Kansas City Chief’s edition of ‘Hard Knocks’ when they still had training camp in River Falls. I was scheduled to be a production assistant but was moved to audio when I first arrived on the job. I didn’t know much of what I had to do but I had some great guys that trained me up,” Stridde said.

Stridde began with testing audio frequency and slowly worked his way up to putting microphones on player’s pads for audio.   He enjoyed the experience greatly and was especially excited when they called to see if he was interested in another “Hard Knocks”, but this time down in Dallas. This began the 8 year relationship with NFL films that Stridde continues to this day.

Stridde’s job has brought him places and allowed him to meet players that would make any NFL fan envious. Whether it be seeing the first game ever in the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T stadium or traveling to Wembley Stadium in London for a week, Stridde’s gig with NFL Films brought him places he never dreamed he would see in college.

“I even got flown out to NFL Films headquarters in New Jersey to see where it all happens. Meeting Founder Steve Sabol was great, and when he described me as ‘Our man in the Midwest’ I knew I must be doing something right,” Stridde said.

Stridde continued to work around the league and helped out with his third edition of “Hard Knocks”, this time with the New York Jets. The six weeks were especially memorable and Stridde recalled his favorite memory as getting to set up the mic and talk with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath. But the most exciting part happened months later.

“One day I got a call from one of my colleagues that said ‘We won the Emmy!’. I was excited for the group of guys and said congratulations. But I was really surprised when he said that I get my own Emmy for my performance. I never could’ve imagined something like that would happen,” Stridde said.

Soon after Stridde settled into the role he’s had for the last 5 years, being an enhanced audio technician. He uses an encrypted code to control the pre-snap audio that a fan hears on the TV broadcast of the game every week. Stridde is a full-time PE teacher with a family, but still manages to do enhanced audio for all Packers home games and Vikings home games when the Packers are on the road.

“Probably the part I enjoy most about my job right now is the flexibility. I can lead a dual life as a teacher during the week and go to a game and do my enhanced audio job for a few hours every weekend. I get to pick my own assistant too so it’s allowed me to be around my brothers when they help me out,” Stridde said.

Stridde has also attended every super bowl but one since 2008, creating memories that will last a lifetime. His encounter with Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russel Wilson is especially memorable after Super Bowl XLVIII, when Stridde had to do the routine task of getting a mic off of Wilson’s jersey after the game. He ran into him in the tunnel and actually managed to have a 5 minute conversation with him, even after Wilson was minutes removed from winning his first Super Bowl. Stridde describes those as the moments that make him realize how lucky he is to be doing his job.

Overall, Stridde is proud of the work he’s been able to do with NFL Films and the show “Hard Knocks”. One closing quote he gave in his presentation wrapped up perfectly what rewards can come when you put the work in.

“The most important thing I learned from the long days with ‘Hard Knocks’ is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because in the end you’re not going to remember the hardships you faced to get there, but instead see the final product and remember the rewarding experience you’ve had.”