It’s a glorious day here in Dallas.
And that's despite the five inches of snow I awoke to this morning, and warnings from Dallas officials that they’ve already spent $460,000 on sand to treat city streets and they intend to wait and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.
For the first time since Tuesday, I am wearing a fresh layer of deodorant, and well, a fresh layer of every article of clothing I typically wear.
I fell to my knees in praise when my lost luggage arrived at my hotel shortly after midnight. Yes, indeed, it’s great to be alive—and feeling fresh as a daisy.
As Lou Holtz would say, we’ve all been putting in half days down here covering the Super Bowl. We only work 12 hours. Actually, it’s been more like 14, but who’s counting?
Despite the long hours, there’s a never-ending supply of energy oozing from the media corps when the free food arrives.
On Thursday, Papa was in the house, or in the Super Bowl media room, such as it was. Not far away from where the big-screen TVs, pool tables and foosball tables are located.
That’s right, Louisville’s own John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, showed up for the festivities. You should have seen the lunacy on the media center’s second floor when the Papa rolled out about 350 pizzas of all types. It was a nice change from the Power Bar and fruit chewy snacks I had the night before for dinner.
But I was almost knocked down by a television cameraman wielding his camera like a battering ram as I made my way to the feed line. The security staff had to warn journalists to allow one space in between each person coming up the escalator from the first floor for the feast so the escalator wouldn’t fail and/or collapse. I am completely serious.
The throng of media folks seemed to double here on Thursday. So it’s no surprise that when the St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail arrived shortly before noon, Indianapolis 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee members found themselves really steppin’ and fetchin’ to get the starving masses fed. After all, man cannot live on pizza alone.
Like a seal sniffing out a distressed fish, ESPN’s biggest eater, Mike Golic, showed up right on cue at Indy’s booth just inside the media center’s entrance.
Golic wasn’t there just to eat, though. The Notre Dame grad did a host of radio interviews and stopped by to chat with some of the Hoosiers in town. He actually makes a very nice ambassador for Indianapolis and Indiana.
And the more I hang out here in North Texas, the more good things I hear about Indianapolis. You’d think the contingency of ink-stained wretches and talking heads here would distain the idea of coming to Indianapolis to cover a Super Bowl in February.
But in the four days I’ve been here, I find few journalists who speak negatively about the Circle City. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.
ESPN’s John Clayton eagerly weaves a tale about coming to Indy to cover the NFL Combine a couple years back with the beginnings of a bad cold. When the hotel receptionist noticed he had a cough, she surprised him less than 10 minutes later by sending chicken soup to his room. And there was no charge, he said, for that bit of Hoosier hospitality.
Sports Illustrated writer and NBC broadcaster Peter King said there are few places he’d rather go to cover a Super Bowl, well, except San Diego. But with the weather we’ve had this year, who can blame him.
And much-respected NFL writer, Rick Gosselin, who pushes a pen for the Dallas Morning News, waxes poetic about the virtues of Indianapolis’ compact downtown, indoor walkways and unmatched services.
Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, while holding court with a dozen reporters on Wednesday, stopped to tell 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee member Eddie White how special he thinks next year’s Super Bowl is going to be.
It seems the only thing that will keep the good times from rolling in Indianapolis next February could be NFL team owners’ and players’ inability to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement.
And if you saw any part of Thursday’s press conference held here in Dallas by the NFL Players Association, you know a lockout is an almost certain possibility.
As for the Super Bowl, the general consensus among journalists who cover the NFL regularly is that the 2012 Super Bowl will probably be held.
If it is, it’s a good bet Papa will be in the house.
And it’s an even better bet that I’ll be wearing a fresh change of clothes, a new layer of deodorant and a neatly shaven face—every single day in the week leading up to the big game.