(Look, Andy Benoit is in New Orleans! He's the first FO writer to ever be credentialed for the Super Bowl specifically representing Football Outsiders rather than some larger site, and he'll be sharing his experiences with a daily diary, then submitting Audibles comments from inside the Superdome on Sunday. -- Aaron Schatz)
As host cities go, New Orleans is close to ideal. It has a great layout, terrific culture, and a travel-oriented infrastructure (i.e. a convention center that’s literally a mile long). In short, it’s a warm Indianapolis.
The 49ers got into town Sunday night. They’re staying at the Marriott, which is a 10-minute walk from downtown and Bourbon Street. The Ravens, who got in Monday night, are staying just a few buildings over at the Hilton. There isn’t a ton of buzz at this point -– most of that is reserved for later in the week. (The hotel rates jump nearly tenfold starting Thursday.)
I’m about to go to Baltimore's press conference. There have already been two Niners press conferences. Both times, Jim Harbaugh stood at the podium and either evaded meaningful football questions, politely dismissed stupid questions, or humored the easy-to-humor room when fielding irreverent questions. For instance, when asked about President Obama’s recent comments about football safety, Harbaugh went into a multi-paragraph dissertation about the upside of his large-headed infant son, Jack. The TV Azteca people, predictably, sent a wildly under-dressed beauty queen reporter to the event. In the room were about 100 casually dressed men, 20 respectably dressed women, and one young lady in a tiny bright blue dress. Given TV Azteca’s track record, whoever they send to the circus that is Media Day tomorrow will be stark naked.
The redundancy of the press conferences is somewhat mind-boggling ... almost as mind-boggling as how many reporters take it so seriously. They fiercely cling to their recorders even though the NFL e-mails everyone a transcript of what was said not long afterwards. It’s a credit to a lot of the reporters that they’re so committed to crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s. It doesn’t help that the Niners, thanks to Harbaugh, are known for not saying much. There’s a lot more optimism for the Ravens press conferences, presumably because Ray Lewis rarely finds a microphone he doesn’t love.
I’m meeting our old buddies Mike Tanier and Doug Farrar for dinner after the Ravens press conference. Doug is allergic to seafood but has indicated that he may be willing to "test" the allergy for the first time in years ... as they say, "When in NOLA..."
If you have any questions about the Super Bowl scene (or the matchup itself, since, you know, all of us at this site are kind of into the football aspect of the sport), feel free to pose them in the comments section. I will check back tomorrow and try to answer what I can.