I am currently on an almost disturbingly packed flight traveling from LAX to Houston, the site of Super Bowl LI. Yes, it is time. To get into the spirit of H-Town, I googled “Houston rock bands”, but unfortunately, you’re pretty much SOL if you’re not a fan of the driving blues rock of ZZ Top. On the plus side, the search reminded me that Blue October exists. Hi guys!
This will be my sixth Super Bowl trip with NFL.com. I still love being part of the experience: The buzz in the host city, the way the hotel lobby bar explodes when everyone gets into town on Friday, the up-close-and-personal view of prominent television personalities who can’t hold their liquor, and of course, the opportunity to watch the game of the year in person. I may still yet become a bitter and cynical sportswriter, but I’m not there yet. I feel lucky to be here.
And what will I be doing here? My Around The NFL Podcast cohorts — the heroes Gregg Rosenthal, Marc Sessler, Chris Wesseling and Kevin Patra — will have boots on the ground covering the Patriots and Falcons. I’ve worked that beat in the past, but my job in Houston will be to offer a glimpse of what life is like with the Super Bowl in town.
I’ll mix with the locals, frequent area businesses (mostly bars and barbecue joints), case Radio Row, report on Lady Gaga, get behind the velvet ropes and maybe, just maybe, find out why Derek Carr blocked me on Twitter. Why, Derek, why?
If I see Tony Romo and his posse — this happens every year — I will attempt to infiltrate the group and earn their trust like a DEA agent in deep cover. If I see Bill Belichick and Tom Brady at a cigar bar — this could happen, theoretically — I’ll ask if they’ve ever once thought about the feelings of Jets fans in the past 15 years. I will go to the hotel gym four times. Definitely three times. OK, twice. I will definitely walk by the hotel gym.
And I’ll be in the winning locker room after the game, showing you what it’s like at the moment a bunch guys reach the summit of the profession. For Money Lynch in Super Bowl XLVIII, that meant dancing like nobody was watching 27 photographers were watching.
For Aqib Talib after Super Bowl 50, that meant making out with his own reflection in the Lombardi …
Access and feel. That’s what I’ll try to deliver all week. First stop: Media Night at Minute Maid Park. Let’s do this.