Greetings to all my Cobbers! Yes, I am back, and yes, I had a blast. For anyone who does not know (or maybe does not care) where I have been, I was over in the Twin Cities at Super Bowl media week. Brady Drake, our sports editor, and I were given the opportunity to cover all the festivities, which included press conferences, radio row, and all other NFL-related activities. It was a great experience, and my week as a journalist taught me many lessons, so here is a list of Dos and Don’ts from the Super Bowl.
Do know what player you are talking to. Monday night was the big night. Both teams and all of their players gathered on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center for a giant, free-for-all scrum disguised as a press conference. Media members tried to do their jobs, but it was much easier to sit back and watch the insanity. Players were asked questions on nearly every topic, and the people asking questions ranged from a person in full football uniform, a shark costume, to former NFL running back, DeAngelo Williams. Within this mess, the players were not wearing their jerseys, but rather a team jacket with a small number on the chest. This made it hard to know who I was talking to, which blew up in my face in a major way. I walked up to a player who I believed to be Patriots running back Brandon Bolden, and I greeted him with a casual “Hi, Brandon.” The only problem was that it was not Brandon Bolden. It was practice squad cornerback Ryan Lewis. He was nice enough to me, and answered the question I asked (“Does Coach Bill Belichick know that he is mentioned in the Migos song ‘Motorsport’?”). Still, I was very embarrassed. In my defense, they do have very similar hairstyles. Regardless, my apologies, Ryan.
Don’t wait in line for the most famous players. While on the floor of the Xcel, approximately ten of the most famous players on each team had a riser and a microphone, making them very easy to identify. The only problem with this was the fact that a lot of people had a lot of questions for these players. For instance, even though I was in the same room as Tom Brady, the best view I got of him was on the overhead video board. Needless to say, we spent our time elsewhere.
Do keep your camera ready. This was from more of a fan’s perspective. A large number of radio stations from across the nation made the trek to the Mall of America and set up their booths near the food court. This inevitably lead to chaos, as the numerous radio stations often had famous guests or were hosted by former athletes themselves, like Tiki Barber, who has a show on CBS Sports radio. Harrison Smith, Kyle Rudolph, and Teddy Bridgewater got huge reactions from the fans, as they are hometown guys and very recognizable. However, one of the best reactions was for someone who was misrecognized. I was standing near the rope separating the ogling fans from the inner workings of the shows. All of a sudden, a huge roar goes up behind me, and soon a current Viking walks directly behind me. As he is walking away, two guys behind me start freaking out. It went a little something like this:
Guy 1: Dude, who was that, was he famous?
Guy 2: Yeah dude, that was Case Keenum!
It was Adam Thielen. I have no pictures to prove it. Just trust me.
Do take advantage of the food. This was probably my favorite part of the week. There was a media workroom provided for us and our fellow Capital-J Journalists to hash out a story or meet a deadline. Off to the side was a little slice of heaven called the Media Lounge, and it was just as wild as the name sounds. Meals were provided at lunch and supper, snacks were available throughout the day, and there was as much free coffee as I could drink. On Tuesday night, all of Nickelodeon Universe was closed off for a media-only party, and the food stations were plentiful. For that I would like to thank the Super Bowl committee. I definitely took advantage of this opportunity.
Do make your own publicity. Maybe I should have mentioned this earlier, but I was not accompanied by Brady Drake, but rather his alter-ego Bill Blingachick. Bill Belichick is known for his amazing fashion sense, with cutoff hoodies and a wide array of wind pants. On the flip side, Bill Blingachick likes the same things, but adorned with copious amounts of bling. Bill Blingachick was a hit among many other reporters on the Xcel Center floor. Even Matthew Slater, the special teams god on the Patriots, said that Bill Blingachick would be ranked No. 1 on the team on the bling scale.
Do shoot your shot. It has now been a few days since returning to the real world, and I still am not quite sure how we were credentialed. We applied in October, half as a joke, and half as us thinking, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Being in the cities for the week and being able to be around the entire spectacle was an incredible life experience.
Thanks for reading the column throughout the year. I am glad I have been able to flex my football knowledge. I’m not quite sure what I’ll be writing about in the next couple of weeks, but I will be writing something. It was quite a season of NFL football. Only 5 months until training camp.
Check out more #content from the Super Bowl on our Twitter accounts (@RossWetLand and @Bee_Dee_12)