My first Super Bowl didn't have a 'super' finish, but was still quite memorable

Still, there were plenty of memories to take from the first Super Bowl in the New York City region.

As I was trudging down Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on Monday morning with snow pelting my face, and my glove-less hands exposed to the biting wind because I was carrying a suitcase and a computer bag, I kept saying to myself: "Hey, it could be worse. You could be Peyton Manning today."

I was as unprepared for Monday's snowstorm as Manning and the Broncos were for Seattle the previous night, even though the NFL gave all media members a nice goodie bag that included a knit hat, gloves, muff and hand warmers.

So, I deserved having my head and eyeglasses covered with snow and my hands nearly frostbitten by the time I completed the 12-block-and-change walk through the slush and unyielding pedestrians and cars from the Sheraton Times Square hotel to the Port Authority bus terminal.

Wet, shivering and exhausted from lugging two bags — that's the unceremonious way I ended my first experience covering the Super Bowl.

Oh, I could have taken a cab. But I stubbornly pressed on just like Manning throwing into double coverage.

I kept thinking the snow can't be that bad to navigate. Turns out, this was the second time I couldn't be more wrong in a span of about 10 hours. I picked Denver, 34-17.

No one will feel sorry for me. I know most people would have traded their dry boots for my soggy shoes in a second to get to go to the Super Bowl for free.

And, I am not complaining. I considered it a career highlight to get to go to a Super Bowl, even if this one was less than 100 miles from the Lehigh Valley and the first to be played outside in a cold-weather city in the heart of winter.

Colleague and Eagles beat writer Nick Fierro was in New York all week. I just made a trip to NYC on Monday to pick up a credential, went to Media Day in Newark on Tuesday and then hung out for the weekend.

Seeing what Media Day was all about was one of the highlights of the week, even if I had to pay $40 to park — cash only as I found out with, typically, a cash-free wallet. Thankfully, an ATM was close by.

Media Day, for me, was where the stars came out — Regis Philbin, Nick Cannon, Hank Azaria, Gabby Douglas among them. I was glad I was able to recognize Joe Piscopo when it seemed like no one else did. Piscopo also seemed pleased that someone, even some newspaper guy from Allentown, recognized him.

There were actually more stars at the NFL Honors show on Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall, but the press was not allowed to get near the Alec Baldwins, Jennifer Garners, Jamie Foxxes and Aaron Pauls, or even the Cam Newtons, either on the red carpet outside or inside the theater.

We had to wait until the show began before we could enter and then were whisked down a staircase and penned up far away from the cameras and the celebs.

But I didn't need to see any Hollywood types. I got to see what I came for and that's Dieruff High and Kutztown University product Andre Reed walk across one of America's most famous stages as a new member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Eventually, the new Hall of Fame class was brought down to us and getting to be one of the first people from the Lehigh Valley to congratulate Reed in person was easily the No. 1 moment of the weekend for me.

Later in the same Radio City media room, I was reminded that the toughest team in New York is neither the Jets nor the Giants — it's the media corps.

I had finished my story, but many of the New Yorkers were still waxing poetic about Michael Strahan when someone from the Radio City staff came by and told us that the media room needed to be cleared immediately, even though we all thought we had another hour to stay.

I thought we were going to see a reenactment of the "West Side Story" rumble between the Jets and the Sharks.

I left before any chairs or tables went airborne.

As for Super Sunday itself, what struck me instantly is how everything and everybody closed up shop at Super Bowl headquarters in Manhattan and left for the Meadowlands.

mc-groller-super-bowl-recap-20140203
 
Advertisement

PHOTO GALLERIES

TOP VIDEO

CONNECT WITH US


2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google Plus
  • RSS Feeds
  • Mobile Alerts and Apps