Have you ever taken to one of those Internet websites that promise low fares? You know the ones I'm talking about, you can't escape Captain Kirk hawking his expertise as a dealmaker. That was me last weekend, after learning my credentials were approved for the Combine. There I was Saturday, sitting at my computer, trying desperately to find an inexpensive connection that fit my schedule. I wasn't really expecting to go to the Combine, but had set aside time for the possibility. First experiences are supposed to be good ones, especially when it comes to football, or so I've been told. My story is still unfolding, but the travel part isn't living up to its end of the bargain.
I parked myself at the computer determined to book inexpensive accommodations. Half a day later, I had room and flight confirmations and was set for my first personal coverage of the Combine.
Checking in late on Wednesday, the concept of losing one's luggage became familiar to me. I did not lose the luggage, rather my airlines lost the luggage somewhere between New York, Boston and Indianapolis. Maybe it was my Boston Red Sox cap that upset the baggage check staff in New York, or maybe it was something else. Unfortunately it was something that caused the separation. The whole process was just lovely and something I'd much rather not repeat.
The best part of this trip so far was sitting in Boston's Logan airport at the Fox Sports Sky Bar looking over Combine scouting reports and jotting down notes with a beer in one hand and a grilled turkey burger next to it. Ummm.. not bad.
Arrival In Indy:
Getting to Indy was fine if you measure the experience by time in the air. As most travelers know, delays happen. I have the city of Philadelphia to blame for my 2 hour delay and 1 am arrival. Apparently the flight lost time due to delays at the Philly airport. Thanks Philly.
The airport in Indy is a nice place; clean, bright, but chilly. The terminal was plastered with NFL Combine 2008 Logo's everywhere and a Reebok booth was setup to welcome players, fans and media. Of course at 1 am it was empty.
A short ride downtown via a pleasant limo driver (I still can't believe was only $12), was perfect. I listened to the driver as he explained the sights of Indy, the Colts needs in the Draft, and the Jets scout that he gave a ride to earlier. I was tempted to ask about his conversation with the scout, but never needed to. The driver offered a number of observations about the Patriots' AFC East rival and none of them were contentious or earth-shattering news.
After arrival at the hotel (sans Baggage, but with laptop), I sauntered up to the room and crashed. I was determined to make better use of the time in Indy on the first official day of the Combine.
The hotel is packed with media types from every corner of the country. My goal was to hook up with the Scout.com / Fox Sports staffers already here. The one I found is the Buccaneers beat writer, but I know others are in the same hotel.
Getting up on Thursday should be fun; it's only 2:30am now.
Looking Forward To Day 1:
Thursday is Franchise decision day for Patriots if they want to tag Randy Moss, so that should be one thing to watch. The first day at the Combine includes some positions (Tight ends and Specialists), and some coaches.
News of the day the Colts made Dallas Clark the highest paid TE in the league. Clark pulled in a cool $41 million over six years. Clark is good, but that's a lot of money for a tight end. Of course that's the big news here.
We'll see you tomorrow.