The Road to Super Bowl LVII, or X

The literal road to the Super Bowl.
The literal road to the Super Bowl.
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Super Bowl - Drunken, middle-aged vertigo-sufferers should not ride rollercoasters.

The Super Bowl LII (Philadelphia Eagles over New England Patriots) Media Party took place in the Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe amusement park. Media headquarters was also in the Mall of America. The Patriots and Eagles were housed in the hotels attached to that shopping Versailles and held their press conferences in their ballrooms. Radio row was in the food court. Media members boarded at the smaller hotels about a mile away and were shuttled daily across tundra-like parking lots. It was as if Kevin Smith were directing a Super Bowl movie.

The Media Party is typically held on a Tuesday and offers free top-shelf food and booze for journos. Bigwigs rarely attend. I skipped it in my first few years because I wanted to be aloof and outsider-ish. But skipping the party in 2018 would mean eating alone at a Shake Shack an escalator ride away. So I attended, as did many of the friends in the business I have made over the years. And lo, the beers and vodka tonics did flow, under the watchful eyes of SpongeBob and Aang the Avatar.

Early in the evening, at around the fourth drink and fifth appetizer, phones began blowing up around the park. The Chiefs had just traded Alex Smith to Washington. Each attendee had a choice to make: cover the story (which for most of us meant writing a little blog entry with some analysis and spin, 45 minutes of work when sober, a grueling ordeal under the circumstances) or pretend to be out-of-pocket and miss the text or email until it was too late. Some colleagues, sadly, didn't have a choice: Write Winnerz and Loserz of the Alex Smith Trade at 9 p.m. Central Time with a quarter-load on or seek employment elsewhere. Fortunately, Bleacher Report had an "instant reaction" team, and I was one tier of the org chart above sea level.

There's something about dodging unnecessary work that makes you only want to party harder. Therefore, those of us who didn't trudge off to our hotels or the workroom proceeded to raise what passes for hell among our set. This, in turn, led several grown men onto Rugrats- and Last Airbender-themed coasters and flumes, often with cocktails in our hands, even those of us who sometimes need prescription Meclizine to ride a tour bus.

This story does not end with me throwing up. I would not admit it to you, even six years later, if I had. But it does end with bleary, woozy discomfort and disorientation, which I have learned after nine Super Bowls to be the ultimate distillation of the experience.

Also, that Alex Smith trade essentially kicked off the Patrick Mahomes era.

Super Bowl X

Covering a Super Bowl is like attending your industry's most important trade show/convention and the destination wedding of a stratospheric-maintenance couple in the same week. Attendees are expected to work hard and obligated to party even harder in the name of networking or representing our outlets. It's exhausting in a way no one (especially you, dear reader) wants to hear about and exhilarating in a way few can understand.

I will be attending my 10th Super Bowl this year. It's a blessing worth commemorating and a milestone worth sharing, especially since many of my Super Bowl memories are somewhat poignant but extremely silly.

Technically, I will not be attending the game itself this year, merely the week-long hoopla. But that's practically irrelevant. Visitors to the Amazon region will tell you that the river itself is just a huge body of water like any other; the Amazon is the rainforest, the communities, the forests, the farms, and the culture/lifestyles shaped by the mighty river. The Super Bowl is the hoopla: parties, pressers, buses, Radio Row, etc. The game itself is often just a game.

And sometimes, the best place to cover that game is NOT from the stadium itself.

Where Were You When the Lights Went Out in the Superdome?

I was in the bathroom when Torrey Smith ran the second-half kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII (Baltimore Ravens over San Francisco 49ers) back 108 yards for a touchdown.

I was headquartered in the actual Superdome press box for that game, which is rare for a reporter of my (maybe) C-plus tier. Sports on Earth earned two press passes for that Super Bowl, one of which was earmarked for our top-of-the-masthead celebrity voice, who had given notice a week earlier. His loss was my gain, seating wise.

A few minutes after Smith's touchdown, the lights dimmed at the Superdome. A hundred press box laptops switched to battery mode. The power was out. We feared the worst for a few moments. But soon, we learned that we were not under some sort of attack. So most of us hit the buffet line and dined by laptop light.

After that game, I briefly toe-tapped the interview room, whipped up a "gamer" (journo lingo for … oh, you can figure it out), and walked back to my hotel in the clammy New Orleans night. My gamer drew little traffic to our already-sputtering little website, however. The estimable Will Leitch, working from home, wrote about the television experience of the blackout: announcers trying to fill the dead space, close-ups of confused players on the field, and so forth. That was the story which resonated with fans for a game that had few superstars recognizable to casual fans; Colin Kaepernick, you will recall, was then just the scrambling midseason sensation who had replaced Alex Smith.

At least I enjoyed some lukewarm buffet hot dogs and fruit salad during the blackout. Had it lasted a full hour, the press pool may well have resorted to cannibalism. We're always one minor setback away from a Lord of the Flies scenario.

200 Paces From a Falcons Nightmare

One New Orleans Super Bowl memory spawns many others.

  • Doug Farrar and I haunted the French Quarter by night that week with another young (at the time) journo; that fellow ordered French fries as a side dish to jambalaya, to my horror.
    Mike Tanier & Doug Farrar
    Mike Tanier & Doug Farrar (all photos courtesy of Mike Tanier and Friends)
  • My Facebook feed exploded when the Ravens won, and my wife reported fireworks going off around my neighborhood; the Ravens quarterback at the time and I shared many mutual acquaintances.
  • When I arrived at Louis Armstrong airport the early morning after the game, a Dixieland band greeted wobbly travelers as we trudged through snaking security lines as if we had just arrived in the ring of Dante's Inferno where hangovers are punished.

But we should really talk some more about peeing during the Super Bowl.

The auxiliary media area, where journalists of my esteem are generally stationed, is a region of upper-deck fan seating jerry-rigged into makeshift workspaces. Flat desk-like surfaces are erected over alternating rows of seats so reporters can work in the seats behind them. If you need to use a restroom, you must typically pivot, climb over the back of your seat to the row above you, and shimmy like Lara Croft along the ledge behind you toward the stairs to the stadium concourse, where you share facilities with the public.

Have I mentioned middle age and vertigo?

Peeing at the Super Bowl, therefore, requires some mountaineer training and careful timing. Try to speed-run during a routine timeout and you may either miss an entire series or plummet like Wile E. Coyote to your doom. Wait until halftime and you share the line with one thousand of your closest friends. Don't rip me for being elitist, dear reader: I peed in corners of Veterans Stadium where only the rats dared to tread in my youth, but I am AT WORK at the Super Bowl, with storylines/ledes/emails/Tweets on my mind, and would prefer not to wait 15 minutes for a urinal behind a dude in a vintage Vince Ferragamo jersey with a 20-dollar Bud Light in each paw.

Some journalists are banished to the "overflow media" area, either a sprawling tent erected in the parking lot outside the stadium or some commandeered cubicle-farm office space in a building nearby. I spent a few Super Bowls in the tent with the foreign-press camera operators and television reporters from the quarterback's hometown station, and it's better to rule there than to serve in heaven: lots of televisions, space to swing elbows, a soda fountain, and a long row of media-only Port-a-Potties.

It was in a tent outside NRG Stadium for Super Bowl LI that I wrote hundreds of beautiful and insightful words about the dawning of the Atlanta Falcons era, how Matt Ryan stood at the head of a potential dynasty of champions and how Kyle Shanahan was reinvigorating NFL offenses (that part aged better), which lots of (insert Ryan quote here) and (insert Devonta Freeman quote there) notes to make the postgame harvest as easy as possible.

Then the unwashed spillover-media masses in steerage traded glances as the fourth-quarter score became 28-12 and 28-20. At 28-28, with 57 seconds left, we raced to the interview area. Wouldn't you know it? It was 200 paces away, at most. I watched Tom Brady's most legendary achievement on a tiny television outside the curtained-off area where the podiums for winning and losing team interviews were located while most of my colleagues either watched from their seats or clamored down hallways/stairways/elevators through the stadium bowels, hoping not to miss the final play.

Most of us were uniquely unprepared to write about a Patriots victory that night. So I was lucky to be a minute's walk away from my laptop so I could sit in comfort and quickly transcribe and organize postgame remarks, and I could take as many potty breaks as I needed to take while writing an entire "Digest" nearly from scratch.

The Dozens of Do's and One Don't of Super Bowl Coverage

Super Bowl XLVI (Giants over Patriots II) was my first one. I was an impressionable young lad of, er, 41. I was just months removed from the high school classroom, working on the New York Times' dime as a sort of cultural reporter writing about mural projects in downtown Indianapolis and such.

I wrote a diary for Football Outsiders that week; this feature is its companion piece, 12 years later. That old diary captures my rambling style of the time (folks dug it) but not the fear and exhaustion I experienced during a life-changing week for which I was not really prepared.

Some video from that era survives. Here's one clip, presented without context.

I worried throughout Super Bowl XLVI week about many things, but most notably about covering the Super Bowl "wrong." I have come to learn since that there are many right ways to cover the Super Bowl, but only one wrong way:

  • Covering the Super Bowl as some slice-of-life humorist interviewing muralists and asking players about ladies' underwear? The Right Way.
  • Attending every player availability and conducting dozens of interviews in search of some tiny slivers of usable thoughts/quotes? The Right Way.
  • Combing Radio Row, chasing Hall of Famers for soundbites, horning your way into radio appearances? The Right Way.
  • Attending every damn party and hobnobbing/networking like you are Hugh Hefner? The Right Way.
  • Bringing your spouse or children and turning the Super Bowl into a working vacation? The Right Way if you can afford or somehow expense it.
  • Doing three or more of these things simultaneously? The Right Way if you have the energy.

So what is the Wrong Way? Haunting the media workrooms for hours upon hours, a hamster in a Convention Center Habitrail, writing nothing but what's obvious, seeking nothing but column inches or clicks and bylines, growing grumpy and old and aggrieved about all the inconveniences and hassles which make up the vast majority of the Super Bowl media experience.

There were lots of local columnists and beats scrounging around Indy in 2012 with that institutionalized look about them, striving to do little more than file a Rob Gronkowski ankle injury story from the J.W. Marriott and then grab some Steak & Shake. Some were roughly my age, yet so much older. I did not want to become them.

Last year, I arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday night for a COVID- and personal-issues-truncated Super Bowl week. Friday found me too jet-lagged for what I was told were hour-long bus rides to media availabilities where questions had to be shouted at players across a social distance. Many of my longtime friends were not in town. So I became the Ghost of Edgy Internet Journalism Past in the media center, which felt more and more like irrelevance's waiting room as the hours trickled past. Live long enough and you will unlearn life's greatest lessons.

That's not how it will be this year.

Celebrities, Celebrities, Celebrities, and Stars

I played Xbox Kinect with Drew Brees in Indianapolis before Super Bowl XLVI as part of a sponsored promotion. I played Kinect with Eli Manning before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans through the same promotional group.

I forgot about these experiences until I reread the old Walkthrough in the previous segment. Those sponsored "gimmick" events are an impersonal whirlwind of marketing reps, handlers, and photographer/videographers. Wham-bam-thank-you-man, send us a link when the video is posted, wait for the angry email if you didn't get the sales pitch just right. I was a bad fit for that sort of thing, and most of those opportunities dried up when Sports on Earth all but exploded on the tarmac.

The Madden/EA Sports folks hosted a presentation about the history of football video games at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII (Seahawks-Broncos). Michael Vick was the guest of honor, on the downside of his epic comeback and just a few years removed from Leavenworth. He explained how he preferred to play Madden as Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, and he enjoyed the "cone" feature (simulating a quarterback's vision) which is now remembered as the reviled Scrappy-Doo of video gaming.

Most of the sports world played Madden as Vick in those days, but Vick dreamed of being a pocket passer who could see the whole field.

Mike Tanier Wearing a Super Bowl Hat
Mike Tanier Wearing a Super Bowl Hat

The Museum of the Moving Image is incredibly cool and worth a brief subway excursion if you want to get off the beaten Manhattan tourist path. Drinks flowed freely that night in Queens. Reporters were scarce, museum patrons and VIPs in abundance. A playable version of that year's Madden, with two comfy gamer chairs in front of an enormous television, stood at the head of the reception hall. I sat down to play and tried to coax others to join me. No one did.

During the week of Super Bowl 50 (Denver Broncos over Carolina Panthers) in San Francisco, I rode shotgun beside one of Bleacher Report's more popular personalities to a "brand activation" starring Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. We interviewed the up-and-coming-at-the-time Taylor about this and that, but the Entertainment 720 atmosphere upstaged us all: hors d'oeuvres that would make Lydia Bastianich swoon, premium-scale hairstylists constructing museum-worthy fades, and swag (Bose headphones in custom colors), swag (Levi's Sexy Young Person jeans), swag (I'd swear they were giving away Jeeps or something) for anyone with a Willy Wonka ticket. I felt like a Cro-Magnon who crashed the Golden Globe awards.

Mike Tanier in the Levi's Stadium Stands
Mike Tanier in the Levi's Stadium Stands

Later that same evening, I attended a symposium on domestic violence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art hosted by Futures Without Violence. Marvin Jones was the event's NFL guest.

The events of 2016 forced me to become an "issues" reporter, and the Futures Without Violence folks were extremely generous with their time and expertise when I needed input for Ray Rice stories. They treated me like a celebrity in San Francisco, introducing me to VIPs such as Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, with whom I briefly chatted while trying to get two minutes with Jones.

The "issues" beat can be rewarding because you meet experts who are trying to make the world better and get the opportunity to amplify their messages. It can also be heartbreaking. In Minneapolis I attended a rally for mothers whose children lost their lives at the hand of police officers, an NFL-adjacent topic that year.

I categorically do not care to hear your opinions in the comment thread on this issue which I covered six years ago. I just want to share the experience of spending an afternoon in a church surrounded by sobbing women, almost all of them my age and younger, reflecting on the greatest tragedy a parent can endure, begging for a chance to be heard. All I could offer was sympathy andthe ninth slide in a 10-slide Super Bowl feature.

"Issues in the NFL" stories, sadly but understandably, don't really click. By Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta (Patriots over L.A. Rams), I couldn't quite shoehorn my visit to a symposium on racial issues in sports at the King Center into a slideshow. Dr. Bernice King herself was among the presenters, and she availed herself to an informal meet-'n'-greet afterwards.

My traveling companions spent a few minutes with Dr. King, but I excused myself swiftly. It was just too much like meeting Jesus' niece or something. There's a serene reflecting pool surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King's crypt at the King Center. So I reflected.

Going Through Life in the Post-Super Bowl Interview Room

Someone puked on the interview room floor after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII.

It wasn't me, still churning from the tipsy rollercoasters, I swear. I like to think that the cosmos itself spontaneously generated the puke; wherever two or more gather to celebrate an Eagles championship, vomit will be among ye. I gingerly walked around it.

The interview room is a place of raw emotion. Players are adrenalized beyond the point of coherent speech from victory, or else tearful in defeat. The press pool is all sharp elbows and NBA-worthy low-post maneuvers: it takes strength, speed, and experience to get close enough for a question or a good camera angle.

Few players were more emotional than Rob Gronkowski after the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. "This is the most satisfying year I have ever been a part of," he said, his voice rising with emotion (as I wrote that night). "How we came together; the obstacles we had to overcome."

"It was life. We went through life this year."

Gronk retired a few weeks later. Then he unretired. His "we went through life" statement has resonated with me ever since that night: the clown prince as weary warrior offering the clearest definition ever uttered of what it means to leave it all on the field.

Most Super Bowl postgame quotes are gibberish: players are hooting and hollering, their partners are at their sides, their babies are in their arms and they're savoring the greatest moment of their lives.

The players' moods don't match up with editorial dictates. Major national outlets insist on "spinning stories forward," so a Monday column about the Super Bowl cannot be about the Super Bowl, but about whether the winning team can repeat, become a dynasty, or collapse due to a quarterback controversy. A "gamer" gets little "traction" by Monday morning, as my New Orleans experience illustrated.

If you click some of the links to my past Super Bowl columns you may note that they have very similar Start of the [Insert Winner Here] Dynasty ledes, which were not my choices. All well and good, except that no NFL player wants to talk about next year's Super Bowl seconds after winning this year's Super Bowl.

No player except Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones after Super Bowl LIV. "We shocked the world today," Jones said, shouting and chanting after the game like a hype man touting a heavyweight bout (my words that night). "And now that we did it this year, we're gonna do it next year. We're coming back for a repeat."

Thanks, Chris. Good thing I beat everyone to his podium and got that question in early.

There was one very important question that needed to be asked in the vomit-scented Eagles interview room. But who to ask? The head coach and quarterback are interviewed in their very own, very crowded room. But there, at the corner podium, was offensive coordinator Frank Reich.

I wish I could claim to have gotten there first. But race-race-race-dodge puke-dodge cameraman-race-race-spin move-gasp for breath I did get there eventually.

"Mutter mutter mutter Philly mutter," he told another reporter, facing away from me.

"I'm sorry coach," I asked, "What was that trick play at the goal line called again?

"The Philly Special," he said.

Maybe, just maybe, I was the second person in the world outside the Eagles organization to get that scoop.

Chicken-Fried Wet Brisket Journalism

Atlanta nearly killed me: the town's cooking habits line up with my most dangerous addictions.

On my first night in Atlanta, Matt Lombardo of and I innovated the "mac 'n' cheese" dessert. That's where you order a mac 'n' cheese side dish as your dessert (duh), after already having mac 'n' cheese as a side dish to your entree.

A dangerous precedent was set that evening.

The next night, three of us made a pilgrimage to Mary Mac's Tea Room, a landmark restaurant with a rich history and a richer menu. I ordered chicken-fried chicken with white-pepper gravy, mac 'n' cheese (again), fried green tomatoes, a litter of hushpuppies, bread pudding for dessert, and at least one Georgia Peach Martini.

Two hours later, I broke a sweat riding an escalator. The Lord visited me that night and asked me to make a sum of my life's accomplishments, and all I could offer was hushpuppies. I subsisted on granola bars and coffee for the next three days.

I actually had a flashback when I clicked the Mary Mac's menu while writing this. I grew so excited that I instinctively scrubbed my browser history.

Houston ranks a close second to Atlanta when it comes to Super Bowl near-death-by-cholesterol experiences. Doug Farrar and I rented a car in Houston, a city roughly the surface area of New Jersey, and after what was nearly a very expensive trip to a custom guitar shop we hit The Brisket House, an unassuming strip mall minichain.

Never underestimate local strip mall minichains. The fat from the brisket dribbled directly into my bloodstream and released a flood of dopamine that made me feel as though I was experiencing my first kiss, the births of my sons, and the 1980 NFC Championship Game simultaneously. When I die, make brisket from me and serve it to shelter dogs.

This segment has gotten too weird, too quickly. I will spare you tales of which Football Outsider can really scarf down ceviche on South Beach (not me) ...

Mike Tanier & Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders
Mike Tanier & Aaron Schatz

... or why I kept showing up at the dawn opening of a place in Los Angeles called Eggslut (you can probably guess).

My worst Super Bowl food city was New York City, because there's a difference between Super Bowl dining and normal dining. Super Bowl dining means getting several colleagues from out-of-town to agree on a restaurant that's not far from the media hotels and fits everyone's per diem. As a complicating factor, fans flood the Super Bowl city by Thursday, overwhelming downtown Indianapolis or the Mall of America and making it tricky to get a burger. Even Manhattan felt the crush to a degree, and frigid conditions left many of us unwilling to stray too far from midtown on foot or by subway/cab. So much overpriced tourist pizza was eaten, plus Pret A Manger.

But my best Super Bowl meal of all came after Super Bowl XLVIII in the great state of New Jersey. After a week of sub-freezing temperatures, highs reached the 50s on gameday. Then a sudden snow squall appeared on radar just before kickoff. The savvy veteran reporter beside me in the press box moved his flight to the Midwest up from Monday morning to around midnight after the game, gambling that he could file his story FAST, perhaps from the airport, and avoid getting stuck in New York for another day or two. The Seahawks and Broncos obliged him; he probably filed his gamer at halftime in those days before the Falcons taught us not to commit to deeply to our Super Bowl angles.

I had no such worries, despite the tinkle of sleet that greeted me as I got lost in the MetLife parking lot searching for the postgame media shuttle. I was on Amtrak by 9 a.m. as a thin layer of snow settled upon fabled swamps of my homeland. I cabbed through slushy Philadelphia and rode PATCO to South Jersey. School was closed for snow, and my wife and (then) 13- and 9-year-old sons met me for pizza and a ride home.

The best part of covering the Super Bowl—no matter how great the game, the parties, the scoops, or the experience—is always coming home.

Seize the Days

Thank you for reading these old yarns. My wife has heard them all. My work friends have lived them all. My non-work friends are non-football people and do not really care. And it's hard to share these tales with acquaintances in the barbershop or coffee shop without sounding like I am bragging.

Bragging? Damn right I am bragging. I'm going to my 10th Super Bowl!

I'm also reminding myself, on the record, to cherish these opportunities.

One moment I was on Miami Beach, lounging around on the company clock and complaining about the inconveniences of chasing down game credentials. Weeks later, the restaurants and schools were closed, the sports arenas were closed, and the managing editor wanted to see me, bring my playbook. I spent the week of Super Bowl LV (Buccaneers over Chiefs) in my home office securing a vaccine appointment for my mother, and last year's attendance was a last-minute decision.

But it doesn't take a pandemic to forever take the Super Bowl away from someone like me. Downsizing and budget cuts across the industry, the shrinking return on investment for live reporting, the reality that Super Bowl week casual-fan glamor is better represented by the more energetic and telegenic, the slowing spring in my step as I bound through convention centers … someday I will be told that my services are no longer needed at the Super Bowl, and I won't be able to mount an argument, even if I choose to.

This is not that year. I should be in Arizona when you read this, warhorse pocket recorder making its 10th appearance on my hip, eager to ask every question, pester every radio producer, drink every cocktail, eat every appetizer.

Come join me, here at Football Outsiders, in print and in livestream form, throughout the week.


17 comments, Last at 08 Feb 2023, 9:39pm

#1 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 06, 2023 - 10:29am

Fun article.  Mike writing about the media coverage of football has parallels for me to Ben writing about O-lines.  It's information I don't find elsewhere that impacts, in the former case, what I hear about the game and how I'm told it unfolded and, in the latter case, why it unfolded as it did.  "Behind the scenes", "Under the hood", whatever you want to call it, I enjoy these types of articles.  Well done!

Points: 10

#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 06, 2023 - 11:03am

that fellow ordered French fries as a side dish to jambalaya, to my horror.

If you placed both on a cut length of french bread, that's a perfectly genre-savvy po boy.

Points: 6

#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 06, 2023 - 11:14am

When I die, make brisket from me and serve it to shelter dogs.

A good writer you can't eat all at once.

Points: 1

#4 by All Is On // Feb 06, 2023 - 12:45pm

Mike, this was really good. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Points: 3

#5 by serutan // Feb 06, 2023 - 12:52pm

Here's hoping ADOT remembers they're not supposed to close half the freeways this weekend for sundry construction projects.  Getting around The Blob is bad enough as it is.

Points: 1

#6 by Theo // Feb 06, 2023 - 1:21pm

Nice to read this. 

Yeah I recognized the "spin it forward" mindset of articles. 

One would stand out if he actually didnt. 

Thanks for the fun read and enjoy. 

Points: 4

#10 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 06, 2023 - 5:24pm

Stand out, yes, but the audience will be a small collection of people like me who want to read about what happened and why.  Most of the eyeballs will be on the forward-looking articles speculating about what comes next.

Points: 0

#7 by Theo // Feb 06, 2023 - 1:25pm

I'm surprised that in 2014 Mike Vick talked about the QB cone in Madden, because that was a feature from Madden06 to 08.

Mike Vick was on the cover of Madden04 and that didnt have a cone.

Points: 0

#8 by jw124164 // Feb 06, 2023 - 4:29pm

Mary Mac's is indeed an excellent spot for southern style early heart attack fare.  It took a second, but the line about your browser history made me literally LOL.

Points: 2

#9 by dmb // Feb 06, 2023 - 4:39pm

Mike, your writing has been part of my experience as a fan for  going on 18 years (!), and this piece stands up with your finest. Writing about how the game connects to "real life" has always been an area where you shine.

Anyway, I originally started to comment because I really appreciate the photo selection for the top of the article. Kudos to whomever made that choice!

Points: 3

#11 by Asmithx // Feb 06, 2023 - 7:03pm

Mike, that was a super read! Thanks, and I see a book in your future, if that’s your thing.

Points: 1

#13 by rh1no // Feb 07, 2023 - 8:11am

Personally, I'd love to read more "issues journalism" here on Football Outsiders. The NFL is the most popular sport in America, and perhaps the biggest media platform in America, too; what happens both on and off the field impacts our communities and our lives, so it's important to be able to have discussions about issues that might seem ancillary to the game to some, but are an integral part of existence to others.

Keeping politics out of football is like keeping bread out of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ...

Points: 1

#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 07, 2023 - 9:41am

As a random feature, we could discuss Garrett Brown -- who invented both the Skycam and the Steadicam, first brought to fame in Rocky for climbing the Rocky Steps.


Points: 0

#15 by BroncFan07 // Feb 07, 2023 - 4:02pm

I seem to remember you attended a Metallica concert one year, maybe it was the Denver-Carolina year? That was a vital detail missing here.

Points: 0

#16 by Deezy // Feb 08, 2023 - 3:09pm

Sports on Earth was a damn good website. 

Points: 1

#17 by Handy Haversack // Feb 08, 2023 - 9:39pm

Without a doubt, you have been my favorite football writer for an extremely long time. Thanks for this piece. A gift.

Points: 0

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