Muscle Sport Magazine

(Miss) America’s Game?

Let me start out by stating that I am the all-time weather jinx. Everywhere I go – even to Las Vegas, a desert – the rain clouds follow me. The day before I got in, Tampa was sunny with temperatures near 80. My flight lands and it’s cold and raining – hard.

A brief stoppage only teased me when I made my way over to the NFL Experience adjacent to Raymond James Stadium (an outdoor event, mind you), only to have the skies open up and soak everyone as if we all had just took a dip in the family pool.

With the first night a wash out, what do you think the weather was like this morning? More of the same, but lo and behold, the sun made a cameo later in the afternoon. The thermometer still was quite low for Florida, so I’m still not out of the woods yet.

Now to the important matters. This is my third consecutive Super Bowl, and the only thing consistent has been lousy weather. Yeah, I brought showers to Miami two years ago and actual cold weather to Phoenix in ’08. But what I am referring to has been the difference of the crowds. The game itself is not even sold out as of today, and the streets are not filled with jersey-sporting fans getting pumped up for the game.

Maybe it’s the match-up, which isn’t as juicy as if, lets say, the Eagles or Cowboys were representing the NFC instead of the Cards. But that still doesn’t excuse the lack of media down here. That’s obviously due to the economy and the room where Radio Row is located in at the Media Center is approximately half the size of the ones in Miami and Arizona.

The NFL, who always does everything top shelf, has felt the crunch, too. There wasn’t nary a potato chip to be found at the Media Center, except for one small stand that charged $8.00 for one of those pre-fab sandwiches you’re forced to buy at 7-11 when it’s late and you’re drunk. It’s usually a belt notch-loosing week down here and it’s all complimentary for the media. Other than some Gatorade and soda, that was it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying. I’m here for the game, not the free food. But it came in handy over the years and would have again. And the hotel I’m staying at, which is one of the NFL Media hotels (not free) does not even have WiFi in the rooms. Kind of makes it tough when you need Internet access pretty much the majority of the day. But you work around it and get the job done.

Back at the tightened up Media Center, the contingent of guests on Radio Row were slightly smaller and  – here I go getting TMZ on you – not the celebrities from previous years. There were no Don Shula, Joe Namath or Joe Montana sightings. How about Mia Hamm, Adam Sandler or Frank Caliendo? Nah, they weren’t around, either.

With folks like that being interviewed on the NFL Network set, it kind of put more of a buzz in the place. Today, it was a little too quiet. The ones getting the most camera flashes in the room were a pair of Tampa Bay Bucs cheerleaders and the 2009 Miss America Katie Stam, complete with her tiara but sans sash.

As far as the athletes, no knock against Jim Kelley or Joe Theisman, but they are not “Broadway” Joe.

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