I’ll set the scene for you. It’s Tuesday March 19th, 2024, at 2:57 PM PT. I’m sitting at my work desk squeezing the crap out of a stress ball while trying to log into a Teams Meeting. All the while hoping that the WiFi holds up for the next half hour. Notes at the ready, I draw a deep breath after repeating questions in my mind for the millionth time. I close my eyes and hear that unmistakable voice saying, “Hey Nick!”. As I open my eyes, I find myself looking back at Green Bay Packers Fan of the Year, Tom Grossi, aka “WR1”.

That’s What You Get, You Get Me

Within 10 seconds of us chatting, the nerves quickly melted away. I’m happy to report that off camera, Tom is exactly what you want him to be. He’s down to earth, funny as hell, and deeply passionate about carrying the “G”.

Aside from trying to not fanboy or let my anxiety takeover, it just felt like me and a buddy shootin’ the shit about life and the team we love. In true Tom fashion, I asked if he could spare 30 minutes for the call… He gave me over an hour.

I know a lot of you are familiar with his origins. A teacher who quit his job to pursue a future creating content about the Packers. My hope with this article is to give you a closer, honest look at the person behind the green and gold curtain. A sincere man of integrity, who genuinely cares about the world around him. For my money, this clip below from June 1st, 2020 says it best when it comes to the moral fiber and overall content of Tom Grossi’s character.

A Pigeon Without A Briefcase Is Just A Bird

I stumbled upon Grossi’s “Packast” while doomscrolling Youtube at the height of the 2020 lockdown. Packast, for those who aren’t aware, is a podcast where you don’t have to be a Packers fan, but it sure does help. At least that’s the spell scroll I read anyway.

It’s been nothing short of inspirational to watch Tom’s star rise. His philanthropic efforts have become as legendary as his NFL content. He’s genuinely funny and even sprinkles a dash of dark humor in. His start with comedy may have been bumpy, but ultimately he landed in the right place.

“That’s Cool, I’ma Go Be A Teacher Though…”

ME: So, the first thing I was curious about, I had read that after college you turned down the chance to join the Upright Citizens Brigade?

TOM: Yeah so, it’s so funny, there are like 2 moments in my life where I was like WOW that’s regret! Because there’s like Oh man, I should’ve gone and seen Lincoln Park you know, there’s those regrets, and there’s those like, Wow! I could’ve been on Saturday Night Live, and I told them no.

Before Fan of the Year, 30 in 30, and Packast, Tom was a bright-eyed sophomore at SUNY New Paltz, a school about 90 minutes outside of New York City. It was here that he parlayed his lifelong love of comedy into a spot with his college improv troupe, TBA Improv.

The group performed short form improv akin to shows like Whose Line is it Anyway. During his tenure, the troupe got to work alongside none other than the infamous Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), which most comedians view as a gateway to Saturday Night Live. The groups founding members even include SNL alum, Amy Poehler.

UCB came to Tom’s campus to perform for a schoolwide assembly with TBA performing as the opening act. Tom got the chance to take part in some improv training with UCB and afterward, the troupe was invited to perform in the Del Close Marathon. Named for legendary improv comedian Del Close, the showcase was a 24-hour event paying homage to the man who had mentored people like Tina Fey, John Belushi, and Bill Murray, along with the 4 founding members of UCB.

Senior year Tom became president of the troupe, and with only 2 weeks before graduation, he received a phone call from the head of the Upright Citizens Brigade.

TOM: He was like, “Hey! We really enjoyed working with you, we have a spot for you in our program and we would love for you to join.”

I was literally like OH, that’s really cool, I’ma go be a teacher though, thanks! I said it really nicely you know like professionally, and it took me legitimately, from that point, 3 years to get a teaching job after that so…it was not doing UCB and also failing to get a teaching job, but it also led me to stand-up comedy, you know, so it kinda worked out in that regard.”

“ You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”

— Jim Carrey

Youtuber Or Comedian?

ME: Do you feel like you’re a stand up that found his way to Youtube, or do you feel like a Youtuber that got his start in stand up at this point?

TOM: I always loved creating home movies. When I was a teenager, me and my best friend, we made Harry Potter, The Wrestler, James Bond, Lord of the Rings parts 1 AND 2, Pirates of the Caribbean. Like I’m dressing up, eyeliner on, like big wig, the whole nine as Jack Sparrow. So, there was always that element of  creation that I loved. I just did not have any of the technical expertise….I just wanted to do it. Like I wrote all the scripts and acted in it and did all that stuff.

I don’t even know if it’s like a Youtuber OR a stand-up thing, I will say if I have to answer, it would probably be closer to Youtuber. Because this is the first job I’ve ever had in my life, where the amount of work that I put into it, the more I get out of it … I would say Youtube is a perfect job for me, it rewards a workaholic lifestyle, and that’s one that I fit very well.

Stand-up comedy acted as a means of giving his love of improv an outlet. While he was able to do sets around NYC, the late nights and demands never appealed to him. It takes a toll on you trying to come up in a scene while you do sets for friends that you convince to come and maybe even put on a guest list. Even worse is when it’s just the 1 or 2 people that happened to be drinking at the bar anyway. We laughed while acknowledging the painful validity of a classic speech from the movie “Airheads”.

In the end Tom told me improv and stand up were invaluable to his teaching career. With all three skillsets combined, he became Captain Planet…err I mean a Youtuber!

The Business End Of Things

ME: Have you run into any issues balancing your passion for the game with the business of content creation?

TOM: That legitimately is a thing. Right? Like you take your passions and you monetize them, or you turn your passions into a business, and uh, it can happen quick. It’s happened a couple of times … I think it was 2018 when I started experimenting with doing like ALL the teams’ reactions. And I remember doing an Eagles fan reaction and I did it, and it was just going through the motions. I was like, there’s nothing clever, there’s nothing funny, this is kinda dogshit. This is not good.

I put it out and  I think the majority (of fans) were like “Yeah this is funny, it was, you know…,”

I was like that’s accurate, cause at a bare minimum, I just try to be accurate. Like this is how Eagles fans actually feel … I remember there was one comment that was like “this is not your best.” Like Oof! they’re right, and so I didn’t do any for the rest of the year.

The other one, it was Christmas the previous season, Sunday Night Football on Christmas. It turned out to be somewhat competitive but yeah, I was like I don’t know that I really want to do this.

If there’s any time, where people are like “Oh, don’t get burned out,” I tell them I’ve been burned out since 2019…So the way I always look at it is, I worked my ass off and I definitely have earned this cause like nobody helped me on the way up and it was a matter of like Wow, I did this because I just put my head down and worked. I LOVE doing it and if you told me tomorrow, “Hey Tom, Youtube’s not paying you anymore,” I’m still working probably the same amount. The love for the game & the Packers, is the one job I just get to be me

Tom and I discussed how Green Bay Packers content creation has served as a light during very dark times in both of our lives. He told me about the amount of sacrifice that he’s had to make to get to where he is now. No matter what though, throughout our conversation, Tom expressed nothing but gratitude for the fans and the Packers organization.

TOM: I truly believe if you can help people, whatever avenue that looks like, it legit makes you feel better and it makes you want to be better.

He now sits at 635k subscribers on Youtube, and in the last 10 years has released over 3,500 videos. It’s safe to say, his message of kindness and compassion has resonated with people.

Rapid Fire Round

What’s your go to D&D Character? I like Rogue, Druid if I’m feeling a little antsy.

Do you prefer one offs or long campaigns? I find that it’s much easier to do one offs because of scheduling.

Best Fast-Food Chain? Screamers in Brooklyn makes a vegan pizza and it’s SO good, I’ve only had it 5 times and I’m still talking about it.

Any News on a 30 in 30 Follow Up? So, 30 in 30 Part 2 is not happening this year because I would die haha. That will happen when I hit a million subscribers. I think we can raise a million dollars at that point. BUT in the interim, there is something that’s, on a smaller scale but larger in the places that Im going… possibly somewhere outside the continental U.S….At the end of the day what always is going to follow that is giving back to people, because that’s a necessity when you have a platform like this.

What’s on your playlist lately? Right now, I’m listening to this artist Paris Paloma that I really really like, Hozier is always up there, I love Hozier, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise, love Rainbow Kitten. I’m a big Indie guy and like rock a lot.

What’s the longest period of time you’ve actually spent in Green Bay WI? Probably a little over a week. I usually go for a week for training camps every year.

Saw you chatting with Tyler Nubin. Are you still thinking Safety in the 1st or 2nd round? Or has Xavier McKinney changed your mind? I think for me, getting McKinney was like our number one hell yeah, we got somebody, because there’s youth at that position. Which means if they’re good, they’re going to be a staple. Right? For a while. That’s somebody that you could build a backfield around.

So it allows the Packers flexibility, that they don’t need to spend a day one pick on a Safety. If we didn’t get him, I would’ve been like yeah day one, basically has to be a safety.

Chaotic Good

Tom and I discussed our shared nerd fandom of D&D and being absolute marks for the WWE. I’m only extremely jealous that Tom will be attending Raw followed by WrestelMania, but that’s my drama to handle. Basing his efforts on a D&D character alignment, he calls the philanthropic and community building aspects of his content, Chaotic Good.

He’s said in multiple interviews over the years how much giving back means to him. I must have heard him say a dozen times during our talk how important it is to give back to the world. Fame and notoriety don’t seem to mean aything to him. He told me that he doesn’t have sponsors, he’s turned down offers to buy out his channel by companies and he’s not trying to make it to any of the major sports news outlets. He also doesn’t seek any praise for his chairty efforts, keeping organizations in the dark typically until they receive their check in the mail.

Tom is all about interaction with the NFL community. He gave all the credit for Fan of the Year and the majority of his success to his Youtube followers and fans that support him one donation at a time. It’s the epitome of grassroots fundraising and community networking. It’s also just a legit fun time watching and interacting with his channel.

The Genuine Article, Yes Pun Intended Cause Dad Jokes

I could’ve likely continued asking Tom questions for a couple hours, and being as generous as he is, I’m sure he would’ve politely obliged. It’s rare in entertainment, especially in sports media, to find someone who isn’t putting up a facade. Tom is the genuine article, and something I’ve always respected about him is that he does not apologize for his beliefs or who he is.

Rubbing elbows with the likes of Rich Eisen, Pat Mcafee, and being named literally the biggest football mark of 2023 seems to have done nothing to shake his humble nature. In fact, as I listed off all the amazing bucket list checkmarks most Green Bay Packers and NFL fans alike would have. Be it going to the Superbowl, or getting to go to every stadium in the league, he told me that his favorite things weren’t even filmed. He told me that he got to talk with Chris “Boomer” Berman on radio row, and hearing that he knew who he was, unprompted, was incredible. He also talked about helping folks that have never had the opportunity, come with him to walk out onto Lambeau Field.

At the end of the day, Tom doesn’t dwell on ceremony or celebration of his actions and accomplishments. He told me the same sentiment I’ve heard him say time and time again, that he’s always looking to the next thing. He assured me thought that every once in a while he occasionally stops to say “Man that was pretty cool.”

The Grossi Posse

As a member of the Grossi Posse myself, I can tell you the community Tom has created is amazing. It’s just a massive network of fans and people with open minds and good hearts looking to talk football and put some joy back into the world. I would emplore you to go to his Youtube channel Tom Grossi Comedy. You can also find him on all the socials with the handle @tomgrossicomedy.

Treat yourself to a deep dive through his NFL videos, his show with Brandon Perna GPS, or binge his library of original series content. My personal favorite is the dramedy series “The North Saga”. He does live streams of every game as well as a live Friday Night Q&A every week.

Lastly, take some time to really listen to the message coming across in his shows. You’ll hear a diehard cheesehead with a green and gold bleeding heart out to make the world a better place through his Chaotic Good. I cannot wait to see what the 2024 season brings.This has been a look at Tom Grossi….