Willard Scott, naked people, Paul McCartney, The Weather Channel, an obscure long-snapper, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and all-night typing.
You have your Super Bowl memories.
I have mine.
I went to six Super Bowls, enough to have nice memories and to remind me that the circus can get old.
These VI days, I’ll recall each of them:
Super Bowl XXXV, Tampa, 2001:
For some reason the Super Bowl Media Day extravaganza has stuck with me. The fact it was warm weather, easily accessible and pretty well orchestrated was good. I remember interviews that day with the two greatest tight ends in Alabama history, Ozzie Newsome, then the Ravens’ GM, and Howard Cross, who was playing for the Giants.
More than the other two Super Bowls, I remembered this media day being disrupted by the non-media types who crashed the party to feed their egos and steal the spotlight from the players.
I remember referring to one such clown as “alleged comedian Jay Mohr.” Wasn’t funny before, wasn’t funny then, isn’t funny now.
In those ancient days when every city had a daily newspaper, there was a lot of competition among them about who covered the most and who did really cool stuff. But when you go to a Super Bowl, all the nuts and bolts are covered by the Associated Press and other services you subscribe to.
So for a mid-major paper – we were the Gonzaga of newsprint – you needed to find a local angle and you needed to do something unique, while also producing the nuts and bolt coverage.
For Super Bowl 35, the idea was that I’d attend a Super Bowl related event every day and I had 35 dollars to spend on tickets or admission or whatever. I went to some NFL players basketball game and an art gallery with Super Bowl photos.
The kicker was the Buff Bowl, which has become the go-to story for every civic club speech I’ve given in the 20 years since. Apparently the Tampa area has more nudist resorts per square mile than anywhere. The Lake Como Nudist Resort, I had read earlier in the week, was holding a flag football game.
Now, there are three questions that immediately jump into your head.
The answers are yes, yes and hell no.
Yes, they were really naked. Yes, it was co-ed. And, no, this was not a deal where when in Rome do what the Romans do.
I tracked down the PR person for the resort and she invited me to come covered the great uncovered. Most of whom you’d pay substantial amounts to see them cover themselves back up.
The game was the Bare Buns vs. the Totally Tans. There were cheerleaders. And the teams were just wearing sneakers and those little flag football belts around their waists.
And there was the greatest quote ever.
The quarterback from one of the teams said:
“We don’t have a lot of rules. The only rule we have is, if you grab something and it doesn’t come off in three seconds, let go.”