SBC Summit: Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino proves he can still create winning atmosphere

May 10, 2024 7:25 AM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
May 10, 2024 7:25 AM

During Thursday’s “Audience with Dan Marino” keynote at the SBC Summit North America at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, the former University of Pittsburgh and Miami Dolphins quarterback commanded the stage like he was under center again.

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Marino deftly doled out praise to his former coaches Jackie Sherril and the late Don Shula as if he were hitting ex-Dolphins Mark Duper and Mark Clayton on fly patterns. He commanded the stage like a seasoned pro and Hall of Famer (he’s in both the Pro Football and College Football halls of fame).

And Marino audibled deftly when moderator Dylan Slaney, Light & Wonder CEO iGaming, asked him about a bookshelf in his home that features autobiographies of other famous athletes.

Noting that his wife bought the bookshelf for him, Marino said, “Maybe someday we’ll sell it. I’m trying to be a little funny here. At least I got a giggle.”

Marino’s appearance at the Gaming Summit was to promote two post-football endeavors. In 2022, he teamed with boutique games studio Pixiu Gaming for a suite of Marino-branded titles, including slots, keno, and the new Dan Marino Hail Mary. Pixiu is donating five percent of the profits from the Dan Marino Hail Mary game to the Dan Marino Foundation, which provides opportunities for kids with developmental challenges.

Marino noted that his foundation was launched in 1992 when his son Michael was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

“We just felt like we could do things, not only for Michael, but because of being a quarterback and the platform I had, for other families and kids dealing with autism,” Marino said. “That’s really how it started. And I’ve been blessed to have companies, businesses, friends, and all kinds of people help us raise money to help us with the kids. To me, it’s very important, something I enjoy doing.

“(The foundation) started originally with speech therapy, occupational therapy for adolescents,” Marino added. “Now we have a developmental center in Florida near Fort Lauderdale. We’ve kind of transitioned into this space where we’re trying to get the kids out socially, working and feeling good about themselves.”

Marino said his love of sports stems from growing up in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where he especially loved football and baseball, which he played at Central Catholic High School. And while he went on to play football for Sherrill and Shula, neither had the influence his father did.

During the keynote, Marino was asked if he ever had a sports psychologist growing up.

“No, my dad was my sports psychologist,” Marino said. “He was the best coach ever.”

Marino always prided himself on being a confident player, which was a byproduct of the success he achieved through preparation and an ability to overcome tough situations.

“If you do those things, achieve those things, you know you can do them again,” he said. “People talk to me about the two-minute drives at the end of games, coming back in overtime, all of those things. It really comes from doing it originally. I did it a couple of times when I was a rookie and when the situation came up again, I knew we could do it. Let’s get out there and get it done. If you’ve done it before, people, your teammates, are going to follow you. They know you can do it.”

Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at rbehe@cdcgaming.com. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.