30 Jan 2013
Rain and cold air overtook what’s been a warm, muggy New Orleans. Thunderstorms threw a wrench in some of the television networks' productions. Around town, fans are starting to fill up the streets. It seems the vast majority of them favor the Ravens.
In the media center, it can be hard to stay focused amidst the distraction of star power. Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew, Eli Manning, and all the NFL Network people were milling around here today. They’re everywhere. In the Hilton Riverside Hotel lobby, I ate lunch at the bar next to Jalen Rose. Terrell Davis was sitting by himself on the other side. Last night, Ron Jaworski and Mike Ditka were sharing drinks at one of the tables. That’s standard stuff at Super Bowls. To a certain degree, the media gets numb to the star power, which is understandable, but in a way, too bad. There are plenty of autograph hounds and energetic fans who stand on the outskirts of the media center and hotels, just eager to catch a glimpse. They seem to enjoy a much deeper excitement for the Super Bowl scene.
Earlier today, a marching band randomly came through the media center, horns blazing. It was loud and minus an apparent purpose, but no one really seemed to mind. Last night was the media party at Mardi Gras World. Many of the 5,000-odd patrons were smitten with the bands and dancers that lined the street leading up to the entrance. Inside, there were several open bars, decorative floats, and 40 different booths featuring complimentary meals from New Orleans' top restaurants. There were about two stadiums worth of open rooms, all decorated to the max and alive with different jazz bands. At one point, Dan Aykroyd appeared onstage, did one Blues Brothers number, and then vanished. James Carville was also there, just rubbing elbows.
As far as the game goes, talking with insiders and expert outsiders around here (and talking with them last week in Mobile), the overwhelming story as it pertains to strategy is how you stop Colin Kaepernick and the read-option. Media-wise, as you’d probably guess, the Ray Lewis PED story has drawn most of the attention. (Just about everyone in the press has an attitude along the lines of "Of course he used PED’s, what’s the big deal?") There’s been some discussion over the debate Randy Moss started about who’s the greatest wide receiver of all-time. Of course, hose discussions turn into debates about Moss himself, since no one seems to disagree with the notion that Jerry Rice is, far and away, the greatest to ever play the position.
That’s all for now. As I type this, Ines Sainz is in the room filming whatever it is that people with near-perfect bodies film. NFL Films is taping some of the upcoming "Top 10" shows tomorrow. I’ll be spending most of this evening working on what I’m going to say. It’s a very well-produced show but, by its nature, it’s highly edited. So the trick is figuring out how to say things in sound bites that can’t be misconstrued.
Tomorrow will be a big day for one reason –- Beyonce's press conference. Those pressers always draw twice as much media and onlookers as any NFL presser.
2 comments, Last at 02 Feb 2013, 10:15am by dmb
It's a year of huge cornerback contracts, with A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gilmore breaking the bank. But will these big-money contracts, and the big-time gambles associated with them, pay off?