Groundhog Day Again…Thursday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Southwest Airlines Flight #3679 was in the air, not yet more than 10,000 feet above northern Missouri and Bobby Bell had already finished up all the stories he could remember from the first Super Bowl and was talking about Super Bowl IV, when the Chiefs beat the Vikings in New Orleans.

I don’t know how many times now over the last decade or so that I’ve gone to KCI to fly to the Super Bowl city and found the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame linebacker on the same flight.

Bobby is “America’s Guest” as I call him. He’s constantly on the move somewhere, flying here for an appearance, going there for a golf tournament. Charity functions, helping out former teammates and opponents – he spends a lot of time on the road. He’s always at the Super Bowl because on Saturday he’ll take part in the Taste of the NFL, a charity function that he’s been a part of for many years. Chefs and former players from all 32 franchises come to make some food and enjoy an evening where all the proceeds go to food banks in NFL cities.

“It just gets bigger and bigger,” said Bobby, who has not missed many of these championship games since he played in them. “Nobody even knew we were there for the first one and then in New Orleans it was bigger, but nothing like it is today.”

Super Bowl 46 is one of the more unusual games in the series. It’s being played indoors in a cold weather site. It’s not the first time for that, as the game has been played in Detroit twice and Minneapolis before. But as our flight lands at Indy’s brand new airport, it looks nothing like a cold weather site, with temperatures in the 50s and bright sunshine.

The ride into downtown is quick, with no traffic jams. But the downtown streets are filled with people walking about, checking out various Super Bowl sites like the NFL Experience. Short of some type of natural disaster, I can already assure you that Indianapolis will go down as one of the best sites to host the game. I’m also willing to bet the game comes back to Naptown again, and soon.

One of the best things about the game being played here is how centralized and compact everything is in downtown Indianapolis. Most of the major hotels, the convention center, even Lucas Oil Stadium are all connecting by enclosed walkways. If the weather turns bad, it would not slow down the partying.

The hotel where the New York Giants are staying for the week is right in the middle of all the action downtown. That would drive some coaches crazy with worry, but apparently it’s not a bother for Tom Coughlin. In fact, it’s been just the opposite. K Lawrence Tynes said on Wednesday that Coughlin talked about pushing back curfews for the early part of the week.

“They were supposed to be later, but we nixed it,” Tynes said. “As a group, we decided we don’t need to be out. This is a little bit different than where we were last time because we were so far out in Glendale (Arizona). We just thought – and everyone agreed as a team – that this is a business trip, and we’re just going to go to sleep, wake up, go to work and do the same thing the next day.”

The Patriots are located at the University Place Conference Center & Hotel, about a 15-minute walk from the stadium, but out away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. It’s part of the campus at IUPUI – that’s Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for those who don’t know their Indiana colleges and their extra campuses.

One of the best things about everything being so centralized is that you can run into a lot of people in a short period of time. On Wednesday afternoon, there were chances to catch up with former Chiefs head coaches Herm Edwards and Dick Vermeil in the span of 45 minutes. Edwards is here for his duties with ESPN, plus he does some corporate stuff. Vermeil is here promoting his Vermeil Wines.

It does not take long with boots on the ground to know there are three subjects of conversation this week in Indy – the Patriots, the Giants and the Peytons, as in Colts QB Peyton Manning. Fans of the Indianapolis Colts do not want this week to end because when it does, they are that much closer to what seems like the obvious separation of Peyton and the Colts to come.

This is Super Bowl 27 or 28, maybe 29 for me. My first was Super Bowl 13 at the Orange Bowl in January 1979, Steelers over the Cowboys in one of the best games in Super history. Since then, there’s only been a handful that I’ve missed. Every year, as Bobby Bell said, it gets bigger and bigger. And more expensive – with a smaller stadium for this game and iconic teams like the Patriots and Giants with deep and highly devoted fan bases, tickets are at a premium, priced in the thousands for nose bleed seats.

“We didn’t sell out the first one,” Bobby Bell said in talking about the Chiefs-Packers at the Los Angeles Coliseum back in January 1967. “Now you can’t find them.”

3 Responses to “Groundhog Day Again…Thursday Cup O’Super Bowl”

  • February 2, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    “Didn’t sell out the first one”. What amazing changes. Growing up we had only one televised college game on Saturaday and one pro game on Sunday. In Wichita area it was normally Cleveland because of Jim Brown. NFL has become a great source of entertainment and money. Still room for change. As a host for many superbowl parties I’d like to see the game moved to Saturaday. Then eight days later play the pro bowl unless, because of last weeks gross joke, do away with it and just give the all pro stars money so they don’t embarrass each other.

  • February 2, 2012  - el cid says:

    Since you mentioned it, the pro bowl is beyond a joke. Suggest the NFL re-evaluate the entire probowl concept. With today’s contracts, the money is not there. The players just goof around during the game. Just a vacation after a long season. I suggest you make your probowl awardees, give them a nice trophy (patch, vase), and call it a day.

  • February 2, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    The one, and only one, good thing about this pro bowl was that 79 people didn’t die afterward. I have no idea how people can summon enough emotion in a soccer game to stay awake, let alone get angry.

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