This summer I was teetering on a nervous breakdown at the potential of not having a NFL season. As I was fretting and gnashing my teeth, my friend Mark Levin, Director of Salary Cap and Agent Administration for the NFLPA,  was working his tail off  to get we football fans back to our Sunday afternoon glory and fantasy football players back to their bookies. Now the two big questions…. Who is Mark Levin and what is his role with the NFLPA. Recently, I went to an Eagles game with Mark and his college buddies. Between the rousing renditions of “Fly Eagles Fly” and unrelenting browbeating by the Eagles fan’s, I found out why his job is pertinent to my happiness.

My friend Mark Levin… tailgating before the Eagles vs

Cardinals game in Philadelphia

Everyone prays for the day they jump out of bed with a burst of enthusiasm rushing to a job they love. When Mark and I sat down and really talked about his career with the NFLPA, I realized he is that lucky person. While chatting about his JOB, Mark was beaming like Jay Cutler announcing his second go at engagement. I was so jealous…

Headed into the crazy Eagle crowd!!

Mark deems working for the National Football League Players Association as a true pleasure. A Maryland native, Mark has loved the Washington Redskins coupled with all Philly teams and the Orioles for as long as he can remember….?… at least he’s east coast consistent. That Philadelphia love lured Mark to Temple University where he earned a degree in Communications and Public Relations. Mark’s humble beginnings with the NFLPA started with an internship between his junior and senior year. Then in 1986 upon his graduation from Temple, Mark traveled to New York with the opportunity to cover the USFL’s antitrust suit against the NFL. Mark’s diligent work earned him a full-time position with the NFLPA in the retired players division.

Mark with his college buddies Bob Hoch and Tom Monaco

Temple Alum and Philly Fans……. All card-carrying members

of “Philadelphia Crazy”…

The NFLPA is the organization accountable for protecting the rights of NFL players. As the Director of Salary Cap and Agent Administration, Mark is responsible for the certification of agent applications. What does that mean to you and I….Well, if someone wants to represent players in the NFL and negotiate their contracts they must go through Mark Levin. He’s like the gate-keeper. Salary caps make and break a team’s ability to pull together their “Dream Team”. 🙂 Oh the irony…Mark is in a select group of people who understand how salary caps affect teams, players, and agents. As a result of his hard work, Mark has had a very successful career with the NFLPA.

We certainly had the perk of great seats!!!!

Mark briefly left his position with the NFLPA in 2000 to work for the Washington Redskins. As the salary cap manager for the team, he enjoyed a job that he understands very well, but did not like the corporate component that was attached. For that reason, Mark returned to the NFLPA. Providing a quality service to players and agents is the driving force behind Mark’s work ethic. He takes great pride in ensuring NFL players receive the best working conditions possible.

Another great shot!!!

Not only does Mark enjoy assisting the players with contracts and current work conditions, he also values the programs that are offered to players when they move forward at the end of their NFL career. The NFLPA provides coaching internships, broadcast boot-camp, weekend business classes, as well as tuition reimbursement for players to finish degrees or earn additional ones.

Because of his lengthy tenure with the NFLPA, I wondered who were the individuals that have had the greatest impact on Mark’s career. Frank Woschitz has been a true mentor. Mark states Frank has shown him how to be a professional. Others that have influenced Mark, the late Gene Upshaw as well as Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. This summer while working to end the lockout, Mark also gained a great deal of respect for Jeff Saturday and Domonique Foxworth. Two intelligent guys that have exceptional leadership qualities……Mark views me the same way!!

As we were leaving the game, I thanked Mark for his hard work so we football fans could enjoy this NFL season. Mark’s job directly affects my happiness. I can’t even imagine my life without football and thank god I don’t have to…

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

Of course we talked food…you know I needed to know Mark’s favorites. We actually shared a meal at a great Italian restaurant and had chicken parmesan. It was so wonderful, I recreated the delicious dish. Mark admits he secretly wants to be a chef. He loves the show “Chopped” and his favorite  meal to prepare steak, potatoes, and broccoli…WOW that’s a big surprise. 

I call this a pizza because the chicken is pounded very thin and then the cheese, pasta, and sauce are placed on top….

Ingredients

– 2 boneless chicken breast

– 2 cups of Italian bread crumbs

– 2 cups of Panko bread crumbs

– 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

– 3 eggs whisked

– 2 cups of flour

-1/3 cup vegetable oil

– 1/4 cup butter

– 1 cup mozzarella cheese

– 1 lb cooked pasta (I used cut spaghetti by Barilla)

– 2 jars of favorite marinara sauce

-garlic powder

-Italian seasoning

Directions

1. Butterfly chicken breast..place breast into plastic ziplock bag and pound

flat. Do both breasts.

2. Create dredging station..in three separate pans first flour, then eggs, then

bread crumbs. Season flour and bread crumbs with garlic powered and dried

Italian seasonings. Season breast with salt and pepper. Place breast first in

the flour, then the egg, and then the bread crumbs (parmesan cheese should be mixed into the bread crumbs). Do both breasts..

3. In large skillet, heat vegetable oil and butter over medium heat. Place

chicken breast in skillet and fry for 4 minute on each side.

4. While frying chicken, prepare pasta according to the package directions

5. When both breasts are fried, place  into backing tray and top with

marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Place under the broiler for

1 to 2 minutes..Keep a close eye so as not to burn cheese.

6. Remove from oven and top with pasta in the center.  Add

more marinara sauce and mozzerella cheese. Place back under broiler.

7. Place on platter and serve!!!

Another reason to love this dish…. it serves a ton of people!!

I shared a great day with Mark and had an awesome first time experience at an Eagles game!!! Another big WOW!!!

Just remember…….Who Do You Want In Your Kitchen On Game Day?

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