Scene at the Super Bowl

Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bog
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:00 AM

Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog was online Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the the atmosphere during Super Bowl week in Glendale, Ariz.

A transcript follows.


Dan Steinberg: Hey all, I'm writing from a Starbucks in suburban Phoenix I believe, hoping to answer all your questions about what life is like the first two days at a Super Bowl, before anyone really arrives besides players and nearly 5,000 media members and TV journalists dressed as astrologists. So have at it.


Hartford, Conn.: Hi Dan. 23-17? Wow would it be fair to say that predicting that was a mistake by Mr. Burress? As Mr. Vrabel said, shouldn't he do more and talk less?

Dan Steinberg: We're really scuffling when this qualifies as a Super Bowl storyline.

I wasn't there when Burress was asked the question, but my understanding was some reporter sort of asked the question while he was walking by, the question being "What will the score be" or "what do you predict" or something like that. And, again, my understanding is he said "23-17." He didn't get up on a podium and guarantee victory or anything. I'm not sure if it would have been all that better of a life decision for Plax to say "I predict we'll all play hard and a good time will be had by all."

Every pro athlete in the history of the world will publicly say "we expect to win all our games, why else would we take the field" when asked if they have any chance at all. All Plax did was get a bit more specific.


Newark, Del.: Steinz,

What was the silliest thing you saw at Media Day? Kid reporters? Bimbo reporters? Players interviewing players?

Dan Steinberg: The players interviewing players thing, jeez, it's like some Super Bowl template that players are instructed about on the bus ride over to media day. I can't say any player-on-player action really was that funny.

The Spanish-language media corps really carried the day with the astrologist and the hopeful bride and the various reporters asking players to say various things in Spanish. I will say the players I was around seemed a lot happier to be asked their astrological sign and whether they might be interested in marriage than what they thought about some DB-vs-WR matchup, but maybe I just want to believe that.


Gaithersburg, MD: So who do you like in the UMD/VA game tonight? (You didn't say it had to be a Super Bowl question!)

Dan Steinberg: With the way both teams have been playing recently, and with the game being in CP, I'd be absolutely flummoxed if the Terps didn't win easily.

I guess the popular thing to say about Greivis lately is that he's often the best player for both teams, and the only way I see Maryland possibly losing is if he decides only to be the best player for Virginia tonight.

Not that I'm complaining about being at the Super Bowl, but I'm not sure if there are two Maryland games I'd rather attend than home vs. Duke and home vs. Virginia.


Richmond, VA: Best facial hair thus far? Any costumes worn by non-Spanish speaking "journalists"?

Dan Steinberg: Logan Mankins has an incredible, incredible beard. I posted a photo last night. He looks like he just stumbled out of some cave in Wyoming having survived on eating wolf fat for the past three months. The Patriots have an incredible number of white linemen with reddish hair growing scary beards.

Aside from some quite scantily clad entertainment reporter types, I'm not sure I did see an English-speaking media member in costume. I should point out that the TV Azteca folks showed up at last night's media party in costume, this time with the costume being some sort of authentic cowboy attire.


New York City: Dan - as much as the players say they are not distracted, are they? Can you tell the difference between those who are generally excited, those veterans who are determined and not fazed by the hysteria, and those who are just thuggish in nature and have that "I don't give a damn" attitude?

Dan Steinberg: Well, pretty much all the players said business begins on Wednesday, which isn't too much different from a typical NFL week, so I'm not sure if you can judge much from what happened on Tuesday, which is obviously a circus.

The players who have been around sure seemed a lot less giddy yesterday. Troy Brown, who must have played in 14 or 15 Super Bowls at this point, looked like he was at the dentist when I saw him. But there are obviously key pieces on both sides who haven't done the SB thing; the Pats might be old hands at this, but, for example, Gostkowski and Maroney haven't done this.

Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I didn't see anyone that struck me as having a thuggish I don't give a damn attitude.


M Street NW, Washington, D.C.: I'm sick of the circus. Can't we just play some @$#%$# football?

The divisional and championship rounds featured some great games, that's what I want to see, not a hopeful "Mrs. Brady" in a wedding dress.

Dan Steinberg: Actually, as someone who usually makes a living off circus, I sort of agree with you. But being here, you really really sense that the game is just a blip on the week's schedule, not really more or less important than the Maxim party. During one particularly low moment yesterday, I decided that if I don't go to next year's game I'll strike back at the entertainment-sports complex by not watching the Super Bowl, but that was probably a false promise.

It's just too big of a cultural event now to possibly have anything like the atmosphere of the divisional round or even the conference championship games.


Washington, D.C.: Why did you feel the need to ask for permission to interview Kellie Pickler? You should have just gone over and stuck a recorder in her face, and she would have started babbling away.

Dan Steinberg: Good call. I completely agree.

What happened was I was walking in behind her for security, but then they divide people into M and F lines, so I couldn't grab her then, and I had to have my bag checked so they all got into the stadium ahead of me, and by the time I saw her again she was sort of sequestered in a little suite. So I asked the people outside if I could have a word with her, and they said no.

Later on she was just kind of flitting about the concourse with a football, and I could have easily ran up to her and asked a question, which I would have done had she been the secretary of state, but seeing as how it was a failed American Idol contestant bearing custom-made pink eyestrips for NFL players, it just didn't seem that important for me to demand an interview. I'm not even sure what I would have asked her. Something about gourmet cheese, I suppose.


Union Station, D.C.: Planing to make it out to any of the parties this week? I've heard the scene will be wild.

Dan Steinberg: I have invites for the ESPN NEXT party and the Leigh Steinberg party, both of which are promising lots of celebrities. I have a world-famous blogger, Matt Ufford from With Leather, borrowing a bed in my room, and he claims to have an extra invitation to the Penthouse party. From what I've heard of the Playboy party, it's pretty uncouth. I can't even imagine what happens at the Penthouse party.

The common expectation among all the media folks I've talked to is that we wouldn't really have all that much fun at any of these parties even if we made it inside, but I figure my job description compels me to try.


Woodbridge, Va.: Dan, I want a Super Bowl lanyard.

Dan Steinberg: Um, ok. The lanyard is just the thing you put around your neck, right? Those are just solid blue. The credential itself says Super Bowl XLII on it, and you're welcome to mine if you want it, but there's a photo of me looking like an ax murderer on the front.


Fairfax, Va.: What do you think about Phoenix? Nice place to visit but I could never live there.

Dan Steinberg: Well, you have to appreciate strip malls and straight streets I suppose. And Mexican food.

It does make me wonder, though, why anyone would live in a place like Buffalo New York when there are places that boast Starbucks, air conditioning and 393 days of sun a year. I guess real estate is cheaper in Buffalo.


Washington, D.C.: How goes the quest to get into the Maxim party? If you can't get in via legitimate means, would The Post frown on you executing some wacky scheme (possibly involving a disguise) to crash it?

Dan Steinberg: Haven't heard anything. But some New York Times reporter was boasting last night about all the PR people offering him invites to parties he wasn't really interested in attending.

Just trying to work in a little NYT jealousy to my work week.

It would take a lot of work to get disguised enough that anyone associated with the Maxim party would think I belonged. I'm not sure my Joe Gibbs-inspired "Hard Fought" t-shirt would do the trick.


Avon Park, Fla.: Why is it that players whose teams aren't playing in the Super Bowl always go to the Super Bowl city? If it's to promote charities, why don't other sports do that sort of thing?

Dan Steinberg: That's actually an interesting question. I'd guess because for most American championships (NHL/MLB/NBA) the finals are held over many days in different cities, which doesn't allow for one central hub of madness. To the extent it applies, I think a lot of MLS guys from non-playing teams actually do show up in the city hosting MLS Cup. Obviously every college basketball coach in the world goes to the Final Four, plus some extraneous players, but since it's "amateur" that doesn't really apply as much.

And then there's the two-week break, which gives everyone maximum time to host events without interfering with the game, sort of.

Speaking of which, has anyone heard of which Redskins are out here? I know Shawn Springs is playing in a charity basketball game with a bunch of offensive NFL stars who probably have four or five inches on him Saturday afternoon.


Kensington, Md.: Hey Dan. Love the Bog. Nothing against our NFL sideline reporters and studio show casts, but don't you think Fox should import some of the on-air talent from Mexico? Judging from their work on media day, they all seem extremely . . . talented.

Dan Steinberg: Holy breaking news, someone just e-mailed me that BRANDON LLOYD IS PERFORMING SOME TUNES IN AZ THIS WEEK. WHEEEEEEEEEEEE. MY MIND IS NOW BLANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Mexican reporters were certainly more outlandishly dressed, but some of the U.S.-based entertainment reporters would have made you proud to be an American. I really feel like the Super Bowl makes you more and more piggish every day. I apologize for that. Bear in mind that my preference would still be to find a nice coffee shop and play Yahtzee with fellow bloggers.

And thanks.


Anonymous: What exactly does "borrowing a bed in my room" mean??

Dan Steinberg: I have two double beds. I only really need one. The other one is being traded for a promised invite to at least one party.


SanFrancisco, CA: My prediction? If the game is decided by 7 or fewer points, the Giants win. More than that, the Patriots. What do ya think?

Dan Steinberg: My prediction: if the game is decided by 7 or fewer points, the Patriots win. More than that, the Patriots.


Wheaton, Md.: ciao Daniello,

What is the cheese situation out in Arizona? Find anything special yet? Or is that just a European Adventure item?

I was out in Tucson a while back and enjoyed a lot of fish tacos... try them if the cheese situation doesn't pan out.


Dan Steinberg: Well, we've gotten off to a slow start on the cheese front. Some people gave me the whole "cheese was Turin, you're in Arizona, you've got to move on, you can't try the same schtick twice" speech, but I think it's obvious that cheese and Super Bowl parties go together like media day and talking monkeys, so at least once I'm bringing two hunks of nice stuff into the media center and asking for some taste tests.

I just need to find a gourmet food store. The security folks downtown were literally trying to direct me to a Circle K to buy cheese.


Oklahoma City, Okla.: Hey Dan, don't you think your articles are a bit negative about this whole Super Bowl thing; are you having any fun at all?

Dan Steinberg: Well, that's partly my personality. I'm sorry.

But seriously, veterans tell me the fun parts really start kicking in Wednesday and especially Thursday. There just aren't any fans here yet, and so everything feels a bit more artificial than even I was expecting.

I've been told at least a dozen times it's in extremely poor taste to complain about being sent to the Super Bowl, so for the record I'm happy to be here and will do my best to be positive and fun-loving over the next five days.


Waquoit, Mass.: This is all for fun right? I mean, you are a boondoggle. Do you really care who wins? Have you gained any insight about this game except that you met some other crazy people?

Dan Steinberg: Do I care who wins? No, not really. I don't think I'm supposed to care. If the Redskins were playing I might selfishly wish for them to win to provide me with better material, but I have no reason to root for either of these teams.

I'm not sure what insights exactly I'd be looking to gain. There are certainly some interesting human interest-y stories about some players, but it's not like Bill Belichick is gonna open up the vault to his playbook this week. As a reader, I think I'd honestly be more interested in reading top-shelf party reportage than a profile of Brandon Jacobs. Obviously other readers have different priorities.

And thanks for calling me a boondoggle. That's awesome.


Washington, D.C.: I don't know if you've run into either of them, but who's more bitter about not playing in the Super Bowl? Tiki or Shockey?

Dan Steinberg: That's a great question. I haven't seen either, but I'd guess Tiki. Shockey still has more chances, plus he seems a less bitter-while-pretending-to-smile kinda guy to me. He also didn't spend the offseason insulting this Super Bowl team.


Barno, Md: Will Peyton Manning be in attendance on Sunday?

Dan Steinberg: I'd put the over-under on Mannings in attendance at around 80.


Southern Maryland: Two words: Go Giants!!

Dan Steinberg: Two words: there are Giants fans in Southern Maryland?


Beautiful Silver Spring, Md.: The two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl had previously been one of the few times a year when stories about athletes' haircuts, locker-room banter, bizarre eating habits, hobbies, etc., were actually printed in the sports pages. Media day, in particular, had been a rare time when sportswriters and other media members were not informally sanctioned for asking stupid but entertaining questions. Since just such subject matter has been your stock in trade for a while now, and you have honed your skills to a fine subtle edge in plying that trade, do you ever find yourself looking at the assembled media masses and thinking to yourself: "Pshaw! Amateurs!"

I'm just wondering.

Dan Steinberg: To the contrary, actually. If I'm at Wizards practice, and 12 reporters are asking about the rookies' progress and the defensive aggressiveness and I'm the only one asking about bathrobes, I get labeled the "off-beat" guy and then am handed off information about Caron Butler's Mountain Dew habits.

But when more than 4,000 reporters are searching for such Mountain Dew nuggetoids, I kind of have lost my edge. And so I'm left asking members of the Giants why they're all wearing sunglasses, and getting just incredibly, incredibly boring answers.


New York City: Why are you letting Leitch hog the blog fame? I am fairly confident you could write a novella at the very least re. the misadventures of Nick Young and Dominic McGuire. All the foils are in place (Gil, DeShawn, Blache, etc) The only thing stopping you is yourself...or a better book about the 'Skins locker room.

Dan Steinberg: Hopefully he'll see this.

I will say that the person behind the desk at the Airport Marriott this morning had a copy of God Save the Fan next to her telephone. Seriously, when middle-aged hotel receptionists are reading your book within the first week of its release, you've really won the blogging war. Congrats to Will.

If anyone would like me to write a book about athletes, please call me. Or my people, at least.


Bowie, Md.: Dan, Dan, Dan, we all love your stuff and your sensible approach to this mania we call sports. So ...San Diego didn't have a chance, was going to get creamed ... and beat Indy. NY didn't have a chance, was going to get creamed ... is in the Super Bowl (after almost beating the Pats earlier in what turned out to be a very meaningful meaningless game). Now NY again doesn't have a chance, is going to get creamed ... does the pattern continue or does NY, in fact, get creamed?

Dan Steinberg: I'm not convinced they'll get creamed, but I would just be dumbstruck if the Giants won. I'm sure the Packers and Cowboys both beat some fine AFC teams this year, but we all sort of knew that the AFC was a superior conference all year. I mean, the Redskins nearly beat the Packers and the Cowboys on the road and made the playoffs; look what happened to them in NE. The fact that the 5th seed in the NFC won the conference with three straight road games tells you about all you need to know.

San Diego's win didn't surprise me all that much; it was a pretty trendy thing to predict before the playoffs started. But this is the best team in NFL history playing against Eli Manning. Cmon.


Washington, D.C.: Be honest. Were you one of the sad, white male journalists gazing at Maria Menounos? It's hard to tell from the video if you were gazing, or just showing a healthy respect for a fellow journalist.

Dan Steinberg: Uh oh. I haven't seen the video.

To be honest, when I was interviewing/chatting with her I was given another name for her, so I legitimately had no idea who she was. I'm sorry to Maria for the disrespect. Although we can probably safely guess she wasn't quite sure who I was, either.

If I called my colleagues sad, I apologize for that too. The TV people really swarmed the big names more than the bright white sneaker wearing print guys.

Please, print guys, lose the bright white sneakers.


Chicago: The Azteca stuff is great, but what about the other end of the spectrum? Did anyone there surprise you for being just a total curmudgeon? Were your opinions or long-held beliefs ever called into question? Thanks and keep up the good work!

Dan Steinberg: I have mixed feelings about being curmudgeonly. I think a lot of people, young and old, think media day is a ridiculous farce. Me, I had a great time for the first hour (the Pats) and a terribly depressing time for the second hour (the Giants). Partially it was because I had already seen the exact same gimmicks once, partly it was because the guys on the Pats I spoke with were much more entertaining and engaging, and partly it was because I hadn't eaten anything all day and was getting all weak and tired.

If you're a Boston beat guy who has to write 6 features a day, I can see where the wedding proposals would get old. But if you're just trying to capture a bit of flavor from an event that's only 50 percent about sport, you have to be glad to see the veil.


Chevy Chase, Md.: Mariucci? I keep hearing the job is already his and the rest of this nonsense is window dressing by Snyder. What are you hearing?

Dan Steinberg: Well, I don't have anyone from whom I'd hear things, but the way the guys on the NFL Network have been acting it certainly wouldn't surprise me if this turns out to be the case.

AOL FanHouse's Michael David Smith tried to ask Mooch about the job yesterday; my impression is he really, really didn't want to talk about it. We've had enough curveballs that it's crazy to guess, but Mariucci and his co-workers certainly haven't done anything to stop the speculation this week.


Ijamsville, Md.: Has it been easier doing interviews this week with a videographer?

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, Jon Forsythe from WPNI is out here with me; he produced at least three videos this morning, including one with Matt Hasselbeck's dad about working with Jim Zorn. I wouldn't say it makes it easier or harder; it's just different. I'm not too experienced with being in front of a camera and wearing a wireless mic, so I probably need to work on the execution a bit. You know that I will get video of Brandon Lloyd freestyling, though.


DC: Hi Man,

Can you post Antonio Pierce's comments on the Redskins coaching change and Dan Snyder? From "Giants LB Antonio Pierce came to the Giants three years ago, signing with the team as a free agent after spending his first four pro seasons with the Redskins. So he knows a little about the franchise in our nation's capital. A franchise that continues its search for a new head coach, a search that is nearing a month in duration.Pierce said it was not surprising that the vacancy has remained for so long, considering it was a team in turmoil during his days in Washington.'It's tough. When I was there, we went through three head coaches, four defensive coordinators, four linebackers coaches,' said Pierce. 'Four of everything. And that's not good. Too much turnover. You never get the continuity you need as a team. You never feel like you know anybody in the organization because there's always a new coach, a new system, new terminology. So it's not something to look forward to. When everybody was talking about our head coach here, that's one of the main reasons I didn't want him to go. I don't want to deal with a new coach, someone coming in with a new regime, a new system and new way to work out. I'm OK with Coach Coughlin. I'm good.' "

Dan Steinberg: Here they are. And I can't imagine why anyone would fault Pierce for saying this. The vast majority of Redskins fans have said as much in recent years. If this is all he said, he certainly wasn't ripping the franchise.


Plano, IL: Dan,

If there was a Royal Rumble with every player from both teams, who wins and who is the first runner-up?


Dan Steinberg: Wow. Someone who knows more about weight and its affect on Royal Rumbles might want to chime in here. I wouldn't bet against Rodney Harrison and Shockey, if he were healthy, but I'm not sure how Harrison fares against a 310-pound lineman like Kareem McKenzie.


Maryland: No Super Bowl Question here just wanted to give you some inside info on your colleague Jon Forsythe. As part of his inner circle I have much dirt on him and nothing would please me more then seeing his pale face turn bright red.

Jon goes by the nicknames Skin and Johnny Skidmarks.

This fall he rode an inner tube naked at Deep Creek Lake, Md. after his shorts fell off in mid-ride.

If you've never seen him dance just know its almost identical to how C3PO dances during the celebration with the ewoks at the end of Return of the Jedi.

He put antlers on his cat for his Xmas card picture.

Dan Steinberg: For all you Jon Forsythe fans out there....


UMBC: Any chance you could use an intern to help you cover the seems to me that to really capture the essence of the diversity of personalities there, it would take at least two people. Maybe I could be you version of Gilbert's ball boy!

Dan Steinberg: Jokes aside, I would love an intern. The chances are about zero percent, but on days when I'm in my car for an exceedingly long period of time, I would love a helper to post d.c.-related content from around the interwebs. Please write to my editor and explain why this would be a good thing. All the big bloggers have help at this point.

/feeling sorry for self


Union Station, D.C.: The Penthouse party? Assuming that guy isn't fooling The Bog readers demand full video evidence of what happens there. And if you think Phoenix is nice right now, wait till summer -- 115 in the shade and it's not so dry anymore. Dusty, but not dry thanks to all the pools.

Dan Steinberg: Well, we'll see. First we're trying to get video evidence of former NFL star Wayne Chrebet at the opening of the NFL Experience, where I believe I'll be able to find out how fast I can throw a football or something like that.

That event starts in one hour, so I better get out of here. Thanks for all the questions, and I'll do my best to continue providing some idea of what it feels like out here. Please shoot me an e-mail if you have any ideas for how we could best do that, or if you hear where Clinton Portis will be.


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