I always have difficulty explaining to people how cool going to the Super Bowl really is.
At least I think it's cool. When I went to my first one as a member of the media in Jacksonville - when the Patriots defeated the Eagles - it was like sensory overload.
I was asked to write a column about my experience for my paper at the time, and I think the first few paragraphs of my story went something like this:
As I write this, I'm kicking back in a black leather Brookstone recliner, one of those with the shiatsu massage and the heated cushions, in the media lounge here at the Osburn Center. There's a bikini-clad woman handing out Dove bars and extolling the virtues of Miami hosting the 2007 Super Bowl.
There's complimentary drinks, there's NFL Network's Super Bowl coverage on a continuous loop on every TV screen and the Black Eyed Peas are rehearsing for Sunday's pre-game festivities next door.
I'm not a king, but I feel like one, and as Mel Brooks said in "History of the World Part I:"
"It's good to be the king."
At the time, I called covering that Super Bowl a "once in a lifetime" opportunity. I really never expected to cover the next three.
But here I am in Arizona. I begged my grandparents for the guest room at their Fountain Hills home for the week and they gave it up without much fuss. I get up at 5 a.m. to drive into Phoenix to catch a bus to go to press conferences. I sit in a fairly well-lit convention center all day writing stories for papers and Web sites all over the country.
And I really don't mind. While some of my brethren have become jaded and cynical over the bulging media event this game has become, I guess I still consider myself lucky to be here at all.
Everyone should come to a Super Bowl at least once. There is no rival to anything you will experience.
This is, with all apologizes to Mr. Barnum, the greatest show on earth.
|New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady smiles during media day for the Super Bowl XLII football game Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz,. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)|
Yes, Bill Belichick is as dour as he was three years ago (this guy needs a corporate tie-in with Sominex something fierce). Yes, the Patriots are better than they were three years ago.
And, yes, I still get jazzed at the thought of being in the stadium on Sunday.
In Detroit, I found myself apologizing for the Jerramy Stevens-Joey Porter controversy, which to me really didn't qualify as a controversy. But we pumped it up as such because the Detroit cold left us with nothing better to do.
That was my second Super Bowl and I included this line in my column that weekend:
This week has been great. Every day I walk into the GM Renaissance Center, my home away from home this week, volunteers greet me with, "How are you?" I want to say, "I'm at the Super Bowl. I'm great, thank you."
Did I mention that all the soft drinks are free, as are the alcoholic beverages? Just thought I would mention that.
Detroit featured the best stunt I ever heard during a Super Bowl. Here's how I described it two years ago:
Friday morning on my drive in, WYCD radio in Detroit actually sent one of its morning show hosts to the Ren Cen -- on his boss' credential (all credentials have photos). Somehow, this guy, who looks nothing like his boss, got into Radio Row and passed himself off as a former Detroit Lions player. He even had a bio sheet and an intern acting as his "handler." Several radio stations actually bought it and put this guy on the air.
Security figured it out. Several friendly members of the NFL's security detail whisked him away, leaving the intern shaken, but focused on what's important.
"I don't know where they took him," she said. "I mean I'm going to lose my internship!"
I also went to a Red Wings-Blues game that year - on the NFL's dime - and learned that beers come in two sizes in Detroit - depth-charge and Jacuzzi. That was a fun night.
Last year, there was Peyton Manning's tango. He made the mistake of talking about a middle-school play in which he was "forced to do the tango," which included him snorting and dancing like a bull. I tried to explain it like this:
The play was called "The Boyfriend." Peyton was cast as -- and I'm laughing as I write this -- Miguel. His big scene was a full-on tango.
"It had the wardrobe -- black pants, red ruffled tuxedo shirt and a yellow cummerbun," Peyton said.
Again, much laughter.
It wasn't the Friday performance in front of the whole school that got him, though. It was Saturday night's turn, with his family, including father Archie and brothers Cooper and Eli, in attendance.
Oh, the teasing he must have endured during backyard football games. I can hear it now.
"Hey Miguel -- go long!"
"Hey Miguel, don't forget to glide into that play-action pass!"
"Miguel! Miguel! I'm open!"
"Do you need a rose for your touchdown tango, Miguel?"
All right, enough. Oh, but there's video!
"It's deep in the Manning vault, I can assure you," Peyton said.
By Sunday it was on the NFL Network. And it was hilarious.
So what do I have to report this year? Well, it's been cold - at least that's what everyone is complaining about. I can tell you after spending some time here previously (my grandparents have lived here for 27 years) that it does get cold in January and February. It's the desert. There's no humidity. There are mountains nearby. It happens. Deal with it.
|Miss Nevada Veronica Grabowski and quarterback Anthony Wright #2 of the New York Giants walk a simulated red carpet during Giants media day for Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 29, 2008 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)|
As I think about my experience this week, I suppose it comes down to two words:
Yes, Miss Nevada - her real name is Veronica Grabowski - is actually Hawaiian Tropic Zone Miss Nevada 2008. She's also been a credentialed part of the media all week, filing a video blog for KBAD, the ESPN Radio stadium in Las Vegas, her hometown. Only a Vegas radio station would think to do this - well, expect for a Mexican television station, which seem to trot out hot women just for this event.
For a moment, you fool yourself thinking this is the perfect woman. She's a beauty queen. She's a credentialed member of the press. She's at a sporting event. Surely she's a football geek like you, right?
Then, you view her video blog and your hopes and dreams are burned to the ground. She is telegenic and has a solid on-air delivery, but she is a simple woman in over her head at the biggest sporting event there is. She spent more time being interviewed instead of actually conducting interviews.
She posed her best question to tight end Ben Watson, asking him if she could be a tight end. The look on Watson's verse was priceless.
"You could be a cornerback," Watson told her with a laugh.
No, tight end sounds about right.
Yes, I am part of a sad gender. We gravitated toward her like a bunch of cats in a hen house, I'm ashamed to say.
It's not unusual for radio stations and television stations to trot out a nice-looking women to conduct interviews at the Super Bowl. It's a brilliant strategy.
And that's the Super Bowl. Brilliant.
And it'll be in my backyard next year. I can't wait.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is covering the Patriots for Patriotsinsider.com during the Super Bowl in Arizona. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.