Do not think for a second however, that our crew is headed down to South Florida for a vacation. If this trip is anything like the one three years ago, there will be lots of work, a little sleep, and occasionally a meal at a random time, and if I'm lucky a cold beverage before calling it a night.
Everyone has a different first memory when you mention the Super Bowl to them. I asked Dallas Clark on Friday what image pops into his head when I mention the last Super Bowl and he referenced the bus trips from the hotel to the practice facility throughout the week. Dallas had a gleam in his eye when thinking back to the time spent with his teammates on the way to "practice" in preparation for the Bears. (I doubt Allen Iverson would answer the question in the same way)
When I asked Jim Irsay in the locker room after the AFC Championship if he just follows his same itinerary from three years ago he said, "We're going to try to get the rain out of there so, (chuckle) that would be nice for sunshine this time, a clear night."
I do share something in common with Irsay in that the RAIN was one thing I'll always remember about Super Bowl XLI: We were lucky enough to watch most of the game from a covered location inside Dolphin Stadium (I think that was the name at the time) When the game ended, the reporters were allowed onto the field to conduct interviews amidst the championship celebration. At that point, it became very apparent that none of us were going to look prim and proper when we appeared on TV that night. Our clothes were soaked, hair dripping wet, and equipment malfunctioning at a rapid rate.
I have quite a few memories of the post-game celebration, but many include hurdles we had to jump over due to South Florida Monsoon. I agree with Irsay in hoping for clear skies February 7th.
Super Bowl Pitch-Men: The Media Center is an interesting melting pot for current stars, NFL has-beens, media dorks, and anyone who wants to get a little free press. Over the course of the week we saw a variety of people coming up to us, offering free food, drinks, pens, and t-shirts. These came with a fancy press release that detailed just why their product was so deserving of mention on our air.
One former player/current broadcaster I ran into early in the week in the Media Center was Tony Siragusa. He was pitching some barbeque sauce if memory serves me correctly. His PR guy was also trying to tell anyone that would listen about the Tony's big Super Bowl party which was going to be held on Friday in Ft. Lauderdale. We got to talking and he also mentioned that Tony was spending time this week on a luxurious Hooters Yacht for the week. I thought this would be a good place to conduct one of our Fox 59 Morning News segments to show folks in Indianapolis how some people enjoy Super Bowl week. We did conduct three hours of live AM show coverage aboard the Yacht...Tony miraculously showed up just in time for the final 8:55 AM segment (wearing sunglasses to hide what was likely a long night before)
We gave Tony some coverage and visited his Super Bowl party on Friday (not quite the big bash I had envisioned) but nonetheless, still have an entry in my phone titled, "Goose Guy" and that is a Miami Memory.
Media Day Madness: When you see Media Day covered on television from afar, you think it is all about reporter in wedding dresses, American Idol skits, and people trying to get attention. While you will find quite a few characters the majority of the people are actually working journalists trying to get good info for their "stories" We have four days to conduct serious, game-preview stories with players and coaches. I tried my best to come up with a unique, entertaining piece from Media Day with the Bears and Colts. My idea, see what part of Dennis Green's post-game press conference earlier that season (against the Bears) players remember and could recite.
It turned into a good time and most every player I asked to recite part of the "They are who we thought they were" speech got a good chuckle, and gave me some good material. I ended up going back and forth between the real Dennis Green comments and players attempts to re-create the meltdown. It was a good time and mission accomplished on my first Super Bowl Media Day.
The Icky Shuffle: While every day, Monday-Thursday, we are given time with the players competing in the Super Bowl, there is also time to cover some other entertaining events with high-profile people. One day I ventured over to the DirecTV Beach Bash which might have been the most entertaining flag football event I've every seen. (except for my Ball State Intramural Fraternity Championship game when the Sig Eps were beaten by the Delts thanks to an over-zealous official ruling our wide receiver down on the one-inch line....not that I'm bitter or anything)
Quite a few popular players were on hand for the "event" including, Matt Leinart, Deion Branch, Tim Brown, and Doug Flutie. However the #1 person on my "list" and one of the main reasons I decided to cover the Beach Bash, none other than Ickey Woods. The Bengals were my favorite team growing up. I can remember mimicking the Ickey Shuffle throughoutt the Bengals Super Bowl season. It isn't often that I'm star-struck by an athlete, but I actually felt this way when I saw Ickey Woods. True, he didn't have a long or successful career, but he made an impact on a junior high fan in Miami County and I was thrilled to get to catch up with him prior to the game. The cap to the experience was seeing Ickey score a touchdown, then do the Ickey Shuffle right there on the Beach End Zone. Props to my photographer B.J. Ardaiolo for running right onto the field of play to get a great shot of the shuffle. Click the video player at the top of the screen to take a closer look at the Ickey Shuffle and the Flag Football game.
These are just a few of my "Miami Memories" We look forward to making a few more this week and thank you for logging on to Indysportsnation.com for extensive Super Bowl XLIV Coverage.