Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Super Time

It snowed all Saturday afternoon and evening before the game and we woke up to a nice winter dusting at the Residence Inn in Southfield. Southfield is about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Detroit and also the location on the local ESPN office. Apparently, no one lives or works in downtown Detroit and with good reason. The day after the game, downtown was barren of all life forms except for workers tearing down the Winter Blast street scene and the few straggling tourist like myself that were looking for heavily discounted souvenirs. Most stores had 50 percent off of everything so we made out pretty well for our wives and kids.


And now the game report. Sunday morning we drove into Detroit and after some off roading and mud flying in the parking lot we went to the Centaur building to check in. Because we only had one car we had made a great contact with the head of ESPN Transportation. That morning our new best friend Trevor arranged a chauffeur driven Cadillac Escalade to pick us up and drive us over to the Rattlesnake Club for the ABC Sports/ESPN Tailgate party where I gorged myself on Merlot, Polish Sausage and lots of desert. I schmoozed with some Disney execs that I have know for years and thoroughly enjoyed an amazing gospel choir. I ran into Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas Chiefs, one of the best tight ends in the NFL, and said hi and told him he had incredible hands. Getting my coat I also said hi to Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers. Talk about a great guy, we talked about the Chargers for a good five minutes and he said that Drew Brees shoulder is doing much better and that Brees is getting ready to sign a long term contract with the club. Gates was truly a gracious and warm man and was engaging with ever fan that wanted an autograph or a picture. A true class act and I am as big a fan as ever.

Once we had our fill of the tailgate party our driver came back and dropped us off at the main security gate for the game. Most people at the party were being bussed in but here we were being limoed in. Talk about feeling like a VIP!

We walked into Ford Field at 4:00pm for a 6:25pm kickoff and the place was PACKED!


What can I say other than we were all in awe of actually being at the game. We were all giddy as hell and Rob and I kept going back and forth with this inane conversation:

ME: "Rob, where we at?
ROB: "We're at the Super Bowl!"
ME: "How'd we get here?"
ROB: "In our chauffeur driven Cadillac Escalade!"

We would then bump chests or slap hands. Talk about two very happy campers. You couldn't wipe the shit eating grins off our faces with a cruise missile. Our seats were 21 rows from the field in the Steelers endzone between the T and the E. Directly above was the largest and clearest stadium display that I have ever seen. Anything 40 yards or closer I watched with the naked eye and the rest of the action I used the monitor. All I had to do was look up a bit. No craning my neck or anything. We were sitting in a sea of yellow Terrible Towels and since we were all rooting for Pittsburgh the experience was incredible. I was so inspired that at half time I plunked down 10 bucks for my own towel that got lots of use in the second half.


In person the Rolling Stones were great. I heard from others that on TV the performance was not as enjoyable. Their performance really exceeded my expectations and it was as good as the other two times that I saw them live. The national anthem on the other hand was pretty bad. So was Stevie Wonder and Friends and the melody of songs that they performed. The NFL can really screw things up.


The game itself was a fun experience. We did not have much awareness of the questionable calls until after the game when we watched the news and read the papers. I am sure it is because the calls helped the Steelers. The crowd was 90 percent Pittsburgh fans and the energy and emotion that surrounded us added to the fun. There were definitely some nervous times as well as lots of highs and lows. It may not have been a great football game, but it was exciting and we all felt very fortunate to experience a Super Bowl in person.

After the game we went to the ESPN VIP after party at the Westin Hotel in Southfield where we ate and drank more free food and desert. I hob-nobbed with more executives and told Terry Porter of ESPN that when he was with the Portland Trailblazers he used to make me crazy with his dead on shooting against the Lakers. Porter was a great guard with such a smooth shot and in person he was another genuine and appreciative man.

In all it was a long, fun and magical day. Had someone said plan the ultimate Super Bowl day, there is no way we would have come up with anything as great as what we experienced. Here is a photo of me with Rob, Cynthia and Rick at the game.


Contrary to popular belief, we did not break Cynthia's arm for walking in front of us during the game. She actually broke her collar bone a week earlier skiing.