“Going viral.” The phrase is thrown around today from the boardrooms of fortune 500 companies to the bedrooms of aspiring teenagers. However big an individual or company’s aspiration to “go viral” may be, it’s ultimately dependent on the viewers of said content. The beauty of “going viral” is that it can’t be manufactured. To be successful in this endeavor, a person’s content must resonate with people from all walks of life.
Rick Gray, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio now residing in San Diego, California knows what it means to go viral. In February 2022 Rick published a music video on YouTube about his beloved Cincinnati Bengals run to the Super Bowl and the video blew up. The video, featuring Rick and his children, son Teigan (10), and daughter Palmer (8) racked up the views, and pretty soon was garnering attention from the media. Rick was interviewed on local news outlets from SoFi Stadium prior to Super Bowl LVI, speaking about the inspiration behind the song and the amazing season the Bengals had.
“During the 2-mile drive home, I pretty much had the entire song composed in my head. There were a few unfinished spots that I immediately consulted with the kids on. And that’s how New Dey® came to be.”
Rick’s love for sports started at a young age, “I’ve always been a fan. Growing up I played soccer, baseball, basketball, and football.” Sports always brought community and a sense of belonging to Rick. “Of course, I remember the competition, the championship games, and the big comebacks, but some of my fondest memories are the friendships that I made. In fact, I actually met two of my best friends to this day on my fourth-grade basketball team” shared Rick.
Growing up around sports provided Rick with his own tribe, something that connected him to his family and community. “Growing up as a Bengals fan hasn’t always been easy. But, through the highs and the lows, the tribe has become closer and shares a bond that you can only understand if you’ve lived it.” Rick takes the lessons he’s learned through sports with him throughout his everyday life and knows that it has played a part in his creativity. “Playing sports, you learn to value competition and see things from new and different perspectives. I apply those qualities to achieve success in my career as a Senior Creative Director in the marketing world and I understand that to accomplish great work you must put in the work, a.k.a practice.” Rick shared.
Rick and his family never miss a Bengals game. “As the Bengals were tearing through the playoff’s my family and I had a ritual for watching the games together. There was an excitement growing and we were continually invited to playoff game watch parties. Call it superstition or whatever you want, but we continued to decline those invites and stuck with our ritual. It was just before the divisional round that the song came together. During an early morning workout, I had a beat stuck in my head. Somehow the chant, “Who Dey, Who Dey, go on shake that boodey” came to mind. During the 2-mile drive home, I pretty much had the entire song composed in my head. There were a few unfinished spots that I immediately consulted with the kids on. And that’s how New Dey® came to be.”
With the encouragement of his kids, Rick and his family decided to record the song and make an accompanying music video, just for fun. “I never anticipated the reaction the song would get. Even after the Superbowl, many of my kid’s friends in San Diego have started supporting the Bengals. With many requests for a New Dey t-shirt, we even started a New Dey clothing line, inspired by the song, and the team” shared Rick.
Having access to sports has provided Rick and his family with a community and a time for shared fun. “Sports provide us with something exciting and meaningful to do. It provides these moments where you can let go and have fun, yet be fully focused and in the here and now.” Shared Rick. With Teigan involved in baseball, football, and basketball, and Palmer playing soccer, softball, and even horseback riding, Rick hopes that sports can provide them with the same sense of community, commitment, and memories as it has done for him.
When asked what they like most about playing sports, Palmer shared, “what I like most is that I get to be a part of and play with a team of friends, and the feeling that you are a part of something important.” Teigan shares, “definitely the competition!” Both Palmer and Teigan have high hopes for the Bengals next season, with Palmer sharing, “I think the Bengals are going to have a lot of wins and I’ll be so happy if they make it back to the Super Bowl.” Slightly more confident in his predictions, Teigan notes that the Bengal’s will do, “great, no doubt! They’re gonna make the playoffs again for sure, and obviously back to the Super Bowl in Arizona!”
While the Super Bowl LVI outcome wasn’t what they hoped for, it only has the Gray family even more eager and excited for the next season to start. In fact, the loss inspired a second song that they’ve yet to record or release. “Similar to New Dey®, this song came to me while making a drive home, though this time it was while driving home from the Super Bowl. I’m not sure if we’ll share it or not, we’ll see. Anyone who has played (or will play) sports at any level, will go through heartbreaking losses. You learn more in a loss than you do in a win. This song is about getting over and moving on from a though loss, putting in the hard work in the off season and coming back stronger than ever before.”
You can see the music video for “New Dey®” here. And if you’re interested in checking out some awesome clothing inspired by the song, click here.