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Me and Papa John talk, and I get no million free pizzas

A quick chat with the Papa, who confirms that pretty soon I might be able to bathe myself in as much garlic sauce as I want.


I guess one of the most surprising aspects of writing for Field Gulls that I didn't expect when I started is that you get random emails from PR people that want to know if you want to interview people. They actually don't happen that often -- and I have no idea how some of them know I also live in Los Angeles and not Seattle (How I got to interview Pete Carroll a couple years ago) -- but of course you get a few more extra emails when your team is in the Super Bowl.

Last week I turned down the chance to talk to Marshall Faulk (mostly due to schedule conflicts -- my advice to anyone that's doing anything is to avoid saying "No" as much as possible) but when I was contacted with the opportunity to talk to John Schnatter, I jumped at it.

You know him better as "Papa John" or simply "Papa."

The truth is that I don't really eat pizza very often anymore, but if I did, I actually do prefer Papa John over their direct competition. I think the pizza tastes better than Pizza Hut and Dominoes (though Dominoes revamping worked pretty well, I'd say) and I'd dip my baby boy in that garlic sauce at his baptism if I had one and we did that. I did make sure to get in one last question about the garlic sauce and whether I could just buy a couple buckets of that, and Papa John assured me that they are working to get it in grocery stores.

The truth is that I wasn't exactly sure what I would ask the Papa when I accepted the interview, and I didn't know exactly what I'd ask the Papa when I was actually on the phone with him on Thursday morning. All I knew was that I liked the pizza, I enjoyed Papa John's appearances in his commercial, and that this video of him ordering pizza for the first time on the new Papa Johns 'worldwide website" with his son Beau is one of the best things I've ever seen.

But to be honest, I just thought it would be fun to talk to him and that a funny article would pop out of the conversation at some point, but that never really happened. I'm not going to post a Q&A style back-and-forth, I'm not going to write about most of what we talked about for ten minutes, because it just wasn't that interesting. And I say that with all due respect to Papa John, who was an extremely nice guy.

I just didn't have my magic yesterday morning.

Papa said that he's rooting for Peyton Manning because he's his guy (I'm sure you know why) and that at this time there aren't really any plans to add Russell Wilson or any other Seattle Seahawks to his roster of Papa Johns spokesman, but I explained to him that would be a grave error. Wilson could sell two million pizzas to Jared Fogle.

I asked if they were having any specials in Omaha, Nebraska (see, I'm killin' it with the humor) and he laughed and said that was "inside information" which... I have no idea what that means.

The reason that I'm putting up a post at all, despite me not bringing my Super Bowl A-game, is because when you make a commitment to someone, like say that you'll advertise their specials if they talk to you, you stick to that commitment. The Papa answered all my (bad) questions and it's the least I can do. He really does make a swell pizza.

Coupon Code - PAPAJOHNSMVP for a free liter of Pepsi

Coupon Code - PJMVP for a free pizza when you spend $15

New special - The Double Cheeseburger Pizza.

I confirmed back to him, "Okay, so it's a bacon double cheeseburger special?" and he replied, "No, double cheeseburger." And of course, I said back, "But I can get bacon on it, right?!?!

(audible laugher) "Of course!"

And as a favor to all of you, I did tell him when the conversation was over, "How about stepping up your game on those pepperoncinis? I order a large pizza and you throw in two of those tiny little pepperoncinis!" and he said, "We're working on it!"

You're welcome!