Monday, February 7, 2011

Ochocinco Hearts Me: The Super Bowl Experience

Even though they've been preparing for it their whole lives, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers didn't learn they'd be going to Super Bowl XLV until just over 2 weeks ago. I, on the other hand, have decidedly not been preparing for such an occurrence my whole life. However, I learned well in advance that I'd be going to the big game.

I was asked to accompany a crew from other Nexstar stations across the country for team coverage of north Texas' first (and last?) Super Bowl. What would I be doing? Who cares... it's the Super Bowl. I said yes.

So even as the week of the game got closer, and the prospect of the region's worst winter storm in a decade and a half loomed, it was still the Super Bowl, and I was going. But whatever vision I had of a Super Bowl experience was erased very quickly, and replaced by a series of strange events.

I left Abilene the Monday before the game, which was one night before Media Day, which has become the biggest circus this side of Barnum & Bailey. I was especially looking forward to this, because the freaks are out in full force, and it just keeps getting weirder every year. Needless to say, it's my scene.

It was not to be.

My plan was to stop over for the night at my best friend's apartment in Denton, about 30ish miles from JerryWorld. Thanks to the aforementioned snowpocalypse, that brief stopover became a 2 and a half day stay. With roads looking and feeling more like ice rinks, and a wind chill in the negative teens, my goal was not to get to the Super Bowl, but to avoid becoming an icicle. My days consisted of coordinating with dozens of Nexstar stations, getting in touch with the crews already at the game, and playing video games. What else was I gonna do??

After the roads FINALLY became safe-ish for travel on Thursday, and after getting my car unstuck from a parking lot, it was off to the Sheraton Dallas for credential pickup and then straight to Cowboys Stadium. Though I would get my chance to witness the glitz and glamour of Super Bowl week later, the night was all about standing in the freezing cold and wind with the live crew from WROC in Rochester, New York. Sports Director John Kucko did nearly 20 live shots, including one with yours truly. This was to be our routine for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and post-game Sunday. And although it did start to warm up a tiny bit on Saturday, it was still the coldest I've EVER been, and ever hope to be.

But Friday made up for all that.

Radio Row is the place to be for celebrity gazing at the Super Bowl. In addition to all the big national media figures, for radio, TV, and print, the place was crawling with NFL players past and present, as well as celebrities. Name dropping would be stupid, because I am not cool enough to get to "meet" any of the famous people, but I got to be in their presence, which is plenty for me (You can see my experience here). Oh, and Chad Ochocinco said "I love you" to me. Still don't know how to feel about that.

Gameday was an entirely different experience; security was tighter, walks were longer, crowds were enormous-er, and EVERYBODY was wearing either green and gold or black and yellow. But aside from running into Owen Wilson in the stairwell under the stadium (NAME DROP), my experience was probably not much different than yours; I ate a hot dog and watched the game on TV. Perhaps there was one difference: my room was across the hall from the Steelers' locker room.

I may never return to the Super Bowl. If I don't, that's more than okay. I had plenty of awesome experiences just being near the game (I'm sure I'm leaving tons out), and I did my best to soak it all in. I probably made everyone I know sick to death of hearing about it...

But who cares. It's the Super Bowl.

No comments:

Post a Comment