This weather reminds me of 2011 Super Bowl

(The weather outside reminds me of Feb. 2, 2011, when I was in the Dallas area to cover the Super Bowl at JerryWorld, only I couldn’t get there because of the roads. Today, in New Jersey, they actually are charging folks admission to go sit through Media Day. Unbelievable. Anyway, of all the Super Bowl Media Days I covered, the one featured in this column was the one I enjoyed most.)

 

DOUBLE OAK, Texas — Yeah, that’s right, Double Oak, Texas, which on Tuesday looked more like the Frozen Tundra than the heart of Texas.

I am stranded, 30 miles northwest of downtown Dallas Super Bowl media headquarters, 30 miles northeast of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Longtime readers know how I feel about Super Bowl and bowl game sites. Super Bowls and college bowls always should be held either in New Orleans or some place near a beach. Other cities need not apply.

It’s early afternoon, as I type. I am sipping hot coffee, watching both Super Bowl Media Day on my good friend Mickey Spagnola’s big, flat-screen TV and blowing snow outside his living room window.

Mickey, who covers the Cowboys now and formerly wrote about Ole Miss for the late, great Jackson Daily News, and I have double-teamed Super Bowls together for years. This year, he invited me to stay at his house, which seemed like a splendid idea until the Steelers and the Packers brought all this ice and snow with them.

We tried Tuesday morning to make it to Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl Media Day; we made it about three scary blocks on icy roads, passing cars in ditches and one poor guy, in a Jeep, who couldn’t make it up a steep hill. We turned around. Carefully.

The airports are closed. Many overpasses are closed. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is closed. Everything is closed, including the roof on Cowboys Stadium. Super Bowl teams – and media buses – made it to the stadium with the help of snowplows, and gravel trucks and police escorts. Mickey and I had none of the above.

•••

All that said, I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t miss Super Bowl Media Day, singularly the worst assignment in sports journalism. It’s the NFL’s crazy day, where several hundred reporters – including MTV, TMZ, VH1, Deion Sanders and foreign reporters who don’t know a tight end from an end run – compete to ask the silliest question.

As I type, I watch Sanders, the cornerback-turned-announcer, interview Steeler defensive end Brett Keisel, the heavily bearded one, who calls his facial hair “magical” and “powerful.”

Asks Sanders “Man, are there fleas in that thing?”

That’s been Sanders’s best question of the day. Neon Deion hasn’t quite realized the star of an interview is the interviewee, not the interviewer.

Earlier, Sanders concluded an interview with Charles Woodson with this nugget: “As one No. 21 to another No. 21, I love you man.”

Excuse me while I gag.

And this was Sanders with Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who has a much publicized ankle injury.

Sanders: “Can you guarantee that you may play?”

Pouncey: “Most definitely.”

Take from that what you may.

More stupid stuff: A reporter from VH1 carried around a Troy Polamalu wig and kept asking different players to wear it during his interview. When Keisel put it on, he looked like a caveman.

Years ago on Media Day, I heard a Japanese reporter ask Refrigerator Perry if he had ever tried Sumo.

“What, man, is that some kind of sandwich?” the Fridge replied.

There was also the year a curvy female Mexican reporter, dressed in a skimpy white outfit with a wedding veil, asked Tom Brady this penetrating Super Bowl question: “Tom, will you marry me?”

•••

I’ve covered Super Bowls in New Orleans, San Diego, Miami, Jacksonville, Houston, Tampa, Los Angeles, Detroit and Minneapolis. Yes, Minneapolis. I ventured outside about twice all week. A group of us bundled up and walked across the street for dinner the night before the game. The chill factor was 60 below. It literally hurt to breathe. The next day, Thurman Thomas of the Buffalo Bills forgot his helmet when he first took the field. I’ll guarantee you Thomas didn’t forget his coat when he went back outside that night.

It felt almost that cold outside in Dallas Tuesday. I couldn’t open the doors to my car Tuesday morning.

Apparently, it was even cold in Cowboy Stadium, despite the roof being closed and the heat turned on. TV cameras showed Donald Driver, the former Alcorn State University star, seated at his podium in the end zone. He was shaking.

“You’re literally shivering,” Kara Henderson, an NFL Network reporter said, sticking a microphone in Driver’s face.

“I’m cold,” he said. “I need a coat.”

We all do. The latest forecast tells us the temperature here won’t reach the freezing point until Friday afternoon.

Next year’s Super Bowl?

Indianapolis.

Three years from now?

New York (actually New Jersey).

At least we’ll have New Orleans in between. If we ever thaw out.

•••

Link: Two Super bowl quarterbacks with Mississippi roots.

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