We always love to see innovative New Era collaborations at NECTalk. One of our favorites of 2013 was the CFL Player Inspired Series, where eight top CFL football players were invited to New Era headquarters in Buffalo, New York, to design their own collection of caps to represent their respective CFL teams and cities. Some of our preferred pieces in the Inspired Series were designed by Toronto Argonauts Linebacker Marcus Ball, who signed with the team as a free agent in 2012 – the same year in which the Argonauts went on to win the 100th Grey Cup. In his short time in the CFL, and as a Toronto Argonaut, Marcus Ball has amassed quite an impressive list of accomplishments: he has already become a Grey Cup champion and a New Era cap designer! Also during this time, he became a father, welcoming his daughter into the world. We recently caught up with Mr. Marcus Ball, who is also an avid cap collector and “proud owner of about 100 new era caps” to See What’s On His Mind.
Describe what it was like working with New Era to design your own caps?
It was exciting for me to be given the opportunity to work with New Era. It was great to be able to experience something that I have never done before.
How many caps did you design with the New Era team?
I designed four hats.
What was the inspiration behind the caps you designed?
My inspiration came from the energy and support I received from the Argonauts as well as the city of Toronto, with a touch of swag.
In the CFL Inspired promo video some of the players realized designing a cap wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. Did you face any challenges in designing your caps? If so, what were they?
Not really. I put serious thought into the designing of the hats. I was just ready to get in the shop and make it happen!
You mentioned that you are the “proud owner of about 100 New Era hats” How long have you been collecting for, and what are some of your favorite caps in your collection?
I have been collecting hats since I was 15 years old. I’ve always had a slight obsession with hats.
Some of my favorite hats include the 59/50 Fitted Grey Cup hat I recently designed because it represents the Toronto Argonauts as a legacy and as champions. I also have the classic Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons hat.
What style of cap do you prefer – snapback or fitted? Why?
Fitted; It feels better on my head.
What does the New Era brand mean to you?
It means opportunities and growth.
What do you think about New Era’s partnership with the CFL?
I think it was a great idea for both parties involved. It shows that the CFL is gaining more supporters and becoming more and more successful. Also, because New Era is opening its doors for different sports and different leagues.
Would you like to work with New Era again in the future? If so, what would you like to collaborate with them on?
Absolutely. Any kind of designing I would be open to. I love creating new things.
You signed with the Toronto Argonauts as a free agent in 2012 – What has it been like to play for the team?
It has been an honor and a great opportunity to meet so many new people who accepted me with open arms. I have received nothing less than the best treatment since I first moved there.
How difficult is training camp and how do you mentality prepare for the season?
Training camp is definitely not my favorite part of the season. But I mentally prepare myself by training extensively and constantly watching film to make sure I’m prepared for whatever they have planned for me.
How did it feel to be a member of the 100th Grey Cup championship team?
It’s an absolute honor. So much fun and I learned so much on that journey. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a once in a life time experience.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a football player to date?
Winning The Grey Cup 100 championship!
Outside of football and New Era cap collecting - What are some of your interests and hobbies?
Listening to music, collecting antique cars, and spending time with my family.
Do you spend a lot of time in Toronto? What do you think of the city?
I’m only in Toronto during the football season. I love the city I think it’s great.
What can fans expect from you and the Toronto Argonauts next season?
Fans can expect me to do everything I can to help my team to achieve our ultimate goal of going to Vancouver and winning another Grey Cup championship.
Any final words?
Thank you once again for this amazing opportunity. Go Argos!
Photo by John E. Sokolowski