When it comes right down to it, the UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge is about so much more than the final score of a football game.
Sure, the all-stars from Long Island and New York City will take their skills—and their pride—onto the field at Hofstra, intent on coming away with a victory. However, at its core the entire event is about raising awareness for the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s fight against cystic fibrosis.
To that end, each year the Michael Brennan Spirit Award is presented to an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of the cause for cystic fibrosis and the game of football. This year, that prestigious honor will go to MSG Varsity’s Mike Quick.
“We established the Michael Brennan Spirit Award in 1999 to honor the memory our friend and colleague,” said Boomer Esiason. “This year, it is my pleasure to announce that we will present it to Mike Quick.”
A leading voice for tri-state area high school sports for more than 25 years, Quick has been involved—and passionate about—the Empire Challenge for more than a decade. While speaking to student reporters before kickoff last season, Quick summed up why this event is so important to him.
“This game is a celebration,” Quick said. “Football is my favorite sport to cover and when you can mix it with a cause like this, it’s incredible. It’s an honor to be a part of this game.”
Quick joined the MSG network in 1987, as the host of New Balance High School Weekly and the MSG LAX Report. During his time at MSG, Quick covered countless games and hosted hundreds of shows about high school sports.
In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Heisman Contributor Award by the Downtown Athletic Club. That same year, the New York State Football Association honored him as the Media Person of the Year. In 2002, Quick produced a two-hour documentary on the Bergen Catholic High School football team called “The Crusade.”
When MSG Varsity was launched in 2009, Quick became the face of the network hosting his weekly show, A Quick 60. He also anchors his weekly Sports Talk web show Quick Bites on MSGVarsity.com. In addition, Quick is part of MSG Varsity’s Friday Night Football coverage and for the second-straight year, will host a live pre-game show before the UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge.
Quick joins a long list of Michael Brennan Spirit Award winners, which was first awarded in 1999 to Peter Bleiberg, the current Game Commissioner of the UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge, as well as the Athletic Director of Sachem High Schools on Long Island.
Other past winners include: Brian Mulligan, New York Jets Director of Events and Game Operations (2011), Larry Roth, Longtime MSG Producer (2010) and Mike Kensil, NFL Executive (2001). For a complete list of past winners, log on to http://www.empirechallenge.com/brennan