I must begin this blog with apologies to all readers who might have expected more communication over the past two weeks.
I worked on the NFL PR staff for Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix, and I had the best of intentions to blog while there and comment on what went on, but the combination of my workload and some technological complications prevented any blogging.
Probably to the reader’s benefit, but that’s another matter.
It was my 24th Super Bowl, so I certainly should have known better than to think I would have any free time.
The Super Bowl is a gigantic undertaking, the largest sporting event ever put on outside of the Olympic Games.
There were just about 5,000 accredited media members in attendance at the game this year, the highest credential total in Super Bowl history.
Everyone knows the game results, and probably also that it produced the highest television ratings of any sporting event in history.
My role was to work on the league PR staff as facilities captain of the PR crew at our media center.
The media center was located on three floors of the Phoenix Convention Center, and the scope of the Super Bowl for media truly is staggering.
We set up a writers-only area able to accomodate 700 writers at one time, and the NFL Network had a complete set right in the center of the area known as Radio Row, a locale at which 97 radio stations were set up for talk radio 24 hours a day, if desired.
There also were separate areas for radio reports to be filed, and for TV editing to take place as well.
The total number of PR people involved, from both the league office and from individual teams, was approximately 100.
Even at that, as high as that number is, the ratio of media to PR was 50-to-1 in favor of the media.
So a lot of questions are being answered all the time, or at least the answers to questions are being sought.
Theer are some really funny moments, as many people who did not apply for passes, and would have been denied, just “sort of” showed up looking to get them. I was standing next to the day-pass area one day, checking out some facilities, when I observed a young man approach the area and say he was supposed to have a pass for him.
The PR person manning the area asked what the name of his organization was, and the erstwhile reporter said, “I don’t know. I’ll have to check that out.”
Usually, when we cannot identify our employer, it is very damaging to one’s credibility, or to the likelihood of getting that pass.
Many of the press conferences are televised live, and the commissioner’s Friday press conference had nearly 1,000 journalists in attendance.
At the media center alone, we had eight press conferences on Thursday, and eight more on Friday.
The media all went to the team hotels for interviews on Wednesday and Thursday, with every player and coach on both the Giants and Patriots available for one hour each.
Media day at the stadium was held on Tuesday before te game. This started out as “picture day” many years ago, but so many media began coming, and so many were asking questions, that it now is a complete availability of both teams, in game jerseys.
This is like a media version of the Star Wars bar, if any readers remember that scene from the first Star Wars movie.
Quite a collection of characters, many of them interested in getting on TV themselves and becoming part of Super Bowl lore.
The entire 13-day period that I spent there was hectic and fast-paced, culminating with a 19-hour work day on Super Bowl Sunday and a very early wake up call on the following Monday for the Cadillac Most Valuable Player press conference.
It’s a busy time for all, but I personally take great gratification in working with a group of people from varying fields, public relations, security, information technology, ticketing, and so forth, all of whom share the highest level of passion and professionalism to move the process along.
No matter the hours, or how tired you are by the end of the week, the best comment ever made on working this event is the old quote from Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy.
”Where would you rather be, than right here, right now?”
It was a great experience, those of us involved were flattered and honored to be involved, and the game was a great one.
It was a celebration of the most popular spectator sport in American history.
Tags: Super Bowl