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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
The eight inactive players have been announced for the Super Bowl for the Seahawks, and it's a collection of players who haven't played much if at all during the season.
Rookie David Greene is the third quarterback and would play only if the Seahawks lost their top two quarterbacks. CB Michael Harden, FB Leonard Weaver, OT Wayne Hunter, OT Ray Willis, DE Robert Pollard, TE Itula Mili and DT Rodney Bailey are the other seven players who won't play because only 45 players can be active for a game.
It should be noted that Weaver played in every regular-season game, but he likely lost his spot because the Seahawks had to find a place for Peter Warrick so he could return punts. Also, Mili, one of the most productive tight ends in team history, finds himself off the roster yet again. He played in only two games during the regular season.
Ken Hamlin, the Seahawks safety who was seriously injured in a fight in October in Seattle, is in Detroit and walking the sidelines of Ford Field. He's all smiles but looks like he wants to play very badly.
You're going to see a whole lot of "Terrible Towels" being waved in the air here by Steelers fans.
Some were surely brought from Pittsburgh.
But you can also buy two types as you enter the stadium — a generic one for $10, or a special Super Bowl-only edition with date and city of the game, etc., for $15. All also carry the official trademark of Myron Cope, the former Steelers announcer who came up with the idea for the towels in the 1970s. He retired as an announcer last year.
There are Seahawks towels on sale here, as well, but they don't seem to be selling with anywhere near the same enthusiasm.
Interestingly, while most of the Seahawks jerseys you see being worn are for their current players, you see more than a few bearing the name and number of Steve Largent, still probably the most popular player in team history.
It has been 10 years since I last covered a Super Bowl, and many elements haven't changed a bit — the media crush, the inane questions, the unending buildup that threatens to make the game itself — remember the game? — anticlimactic.
One element that HAS changed, for obvious reasons, is security. To get into Ford Field today required a patdown, a thorough bag search and a trip through a metal detector. Virtually every reporter, it seemed, set off the alarm — including me v which required a wand check before finally being allowed into the stadium.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you. There's nothing like a little security to make you feel more ... secure.
Every thought that the Super Bowl could essentially be a home game for the Steelers seems to be coming true.
We got here an hour or so ago and the place is crawling with people wearing yellow and black.
As we were riding in our bus to the stadium, we looked down a street crowed with Steelers fans.
"It looks like downtown Pittsburgh," cracked one rider on the bus.
Inside the stadium is much the same. As I look around the seats — which are already rapidly filling up — it seems like it's about 80 percent Steelers fans, 20 percent Seahawks fans.
The snow wasn't going to spoil my one chance to attend what was arguably the biggest bash of the Super Bowl - aside from the sportswriters' godsend called The Firehouse, a downtown watering hole where food and drink were on the house.
But really, how could I miss this?
The party, which turned Detroit City Airport's hangar into what Playboy called its "Eight Mile High Club" (Eight Mile is a major thoroughfare north of town), was quite a spectacle. Playboy had a spot for me on one side of a barrier along the red carpet, and I witnessed the arrival of several celebrities and athletes.
Next came the DJ for the evening, Sky Nellor. She had on a thin green dress, gold high heels and a bubbly personality. And she won me over as soon as she started spinning the late '80s/early '90s R&B, i.e., Bobby Brown, and the old-skool funk that I heard as I waited for more big-name guests to arrive.
I couldn't see them all because I found out there was another entrance to the party. The next thing I knew I was talking to Playmates Vanessa Hoelsher and Amanda Paige, Misses September and October 2005, and we were discussing football.
Hoelsher, an Atlanta Falcons fan, I figured, because she said her favorite player was defensive end Partrick Kerney, predicted a 24-21 Steelers Super Bowl win.
The parade of stars and sportsmen went on. Bob Guiney, who was the bachelor on "The Bachelor" a couple of years ago, was there. I say he should have picked Meredith, with whom I went to high school back in the Portland area, but oh well.
John Lynch from the Denver Broncos avoided the media, but Tacoma's own Lawyer Milloy, a Buffalo Bill, did not.
Milloy, the former UW Husky, said he was pulling for his hometown team.
Milloy looked up to Kenny Easley, Dave Krieg, Curt Warner and, for a year, Brian Bosworth when he a kid.
Actress Jamie Pressley showed up and I heard her husky drawl. It was funny.
Rap star Kanye West talked to some TV guys but spurned the print people down at the far end where I was.
Matthew Lillard is this "D" list actor who's been in a few films, like "Scooby-Doo" and "SLC Punk." Even he chose not to be interviewed. I can understand West big-timing us, but Matthew Lillard?
Champ Bailey from the Denver Broncos came through, as did Josh Lucas, who lived in the Seattle area for some time as a youngster. Lucas plays Coach Don Haskins in "Glory Road," the current movie about the Texas Western national championship team of 1966.
"I think it's going to be three points" Lucas said. "It's going to be like the Rose Bowl."
When I went inside to the party, parachutes hung from the ceiling. There was a newsstand where you could pick up a recent issue of Playboy, a free postcard, a sandwich and some chips.
I was starving and happened upon a table of sushi and chopsticks, and the reminder of Seattle was enough to make me smile as I chewed my California rolls.
There were people lounging on giant pillows. Women dancing on platforms above the crowd. Playboy Playmates posing for pictures. An older man trying to keep the beat with a woman who looked like she was in her early 20s.
At least I dressed well for the occasion. And now I can say I was there.
Vivica Fox and I almost shared an ambulance.
Since the Super Bowl is part football and part celebrity, I decided to spend Saturday seeing how many hook-ups I could get to rub elbows with the pretty people everyone is dying to meet. That led me to the Cadillac Super Bowl Grand Prix event at the Michigan State Fair Grounds. A white stretch limo picked me up and it was funny because I guess Jerry Rice was waiting for a car, too, so he stepped forward as if it was his ride.
"Ms. Evans, your limo is here," the escort told me.
But back to Fox. As we were watching the early heats and chitchatting about how she should visit Seattle to shop for shoes (she was actually stunned that Seattle has great shopping), actor Sarah Silverman crashed her go-cart into the barricade where Fox and I were standing. A water bottle stand toppled into Fox's leg while a haystack hit me. She braved the pain because some gossip show flicked its camera lights on her, but after they turned away she turned human.
"That really hurt," she said while massaging her lower left leg. I was fine, not that anyone cared. For once I was the sensible one wearing the correct shoes for the event. She was in 4-inch heals - no joke - and was still shorter than me in sneakers. But Fox looked stunning just like Jessica Alba. Only Alba had absolutely nothing to say and had never been to Seattle.
Adrian Grenier, the star of HBO's "Entourage" and whose band Kid Friendly recently played at the Crocodile Cafe, was dreamy. "I always go for the underdog, so I'll go for Seattle" he told me in making his Super Bowl pick. And rapper Ludacris was hilarious.
First of all, he took the competition seriously, not wanting to give interviews before his races. He advanced to the finals, but drove the jinxed Car 11 with a bum wheel. When he came in last, he draped an arm around me after some television interviews and let his frustrations out.
"I don't want to blame it on the car, but dammit! As soon as I touched the pedal, it started slippin'," he said. "It's all good. I comin' for the No. 1 spot next year."
But don't ask him about his Super Bowl pick.
"Man, the (Atlanta) Falcons didn't make it so I don't care!" he said.
"Oh, they're (Kansas City) ready for an NBA team because I know how they support the football team," he said. "I can imagine how they'd support the basketball team. I hope something like that happens."
After the event was over my bubble burst, however. The limo driver had to pick up some player's wife, so I had to catch a ride back to the hotel with regular people and they couldn't get through security, so I was dropped off on the side of the road and had to walk back in the snow.
-- Jayda Evans
The Wall Street Journal printed a statistic in Saturday's weekend edition that would seem to portend bad things for the Seahawks tomorrow.
The graphic shows that teams making a first-time appearance in the Super Bowl - such as the Seahawks - are 4-13 when facing teams that have played in the big game before - such as the Steelers.
Sounds bad, right?
The Journal thinks so, concluding that "history is against the Seahawks."
But consider that most of those games - and almost all of the losses - feature teams that were playing their first game against a team that had been in the Super Bowl in the previous year or two and had almost the entire roster intact.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, hasn't been in the Super Bowl in 10 years, making their past Super Bowl experience essentially meaningless tomorrow. Sure, Bill Cowher was the coach of that team, but Mike Holmgren has coached two Super Bowl teams - and won one - so even Cowher's experience doesn't give the Steelers any advantage.
I looked at games that were the most similar to this one - a newcomer against a team that has been there before, but not within 10 years or so.
In those situations, the newcomers are 3-1, including Baltimore's win over the Giants in 2001 and Tampa Bay over Oakland in 2003.
So maybe the Journal should have concluded, instead, that "history is for the Seahawks."
-- Bob Condotta
It is freaking cold, the Seattle Times has learned exclusively after a hard-hitting investigation that consisted of taking a walk around the block.
Venturing outside the "Ren-Cen," as we locals refer to the impossibly complex Renaissance Center that is serving as Super Bowl headquarters, revealed at 5 p.m. a steady snowfall (not yet sticking, however) and a bone-chilling wind. This will not come as a big surprise to those who have visited Detroit in February.
My hasty walk took me past the Old Mariners' Church, which I thought at first might have something to do with Jamie Moyer. Turns out it was built in 1849, and is a national historic landmark that was immortalized in the Gordon Lightfoot classic "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
(Note to my fellow Seattle Times Super Bowl bloggers: Let's see YOU work a Gordon Lightfoot reference into your blog!)
The crowds are building at the Ren-Cen as ticket-holders (and hopeful ticket aquirers) start to amass in Detroit. My unscientific survey, based entirely on team clothing worn by lobby lurkers: Steelers faithful outnumber Seahawks fans by about 25 to 1 (though the Seahawks' fans were the more vocal on Saturday, starting numerous Seahawk chants in various nooks and crannies of the Ren-Cen).
-- Larry Stone
The NFL Experience at Super Bowl XL has set up shop in Detroit, helping fans get a little closer to the game. Folks who pony up $10 to $15 for a ticket get a chance to get autographs from NFL superstars, attend a card show and offer their own version of a touchdown dance.
In the Friday Detroit Free-Press, sports columnist Mitch Albom did a piece after riding around the city with Roger Penske, chairman of the Super Bowl host committee.
Albom asked Penske what his worst nightmare for the week was.
"A snow dump on Saturday," Penske answered.
Roger, say hi to your worst nightmare.
The snow began at mid-day Saturday, big flakes and blowing. Some 4-9 inches was expected overnight in the area.
Oh, and did we mention the low-to-mid-20s winds that will accompany all this?
It will inconvenience a lot of people, mostly those who might be driving to the game at the 11th hour. But I can't conceal a smirk at the NFL's bad luck, because its message about host sites for the Super Bowl seems decidedly mixed.
The NFL plays the games mostly in warm-weather sites, throwing the occasional bone to northern cities with domed stadiums.
Which seems completely silly.
On one hand, it's all about the game. The league is OK with a week in a cold-weather site as long as the game is in a hermetically sealed environment. Yet it engineers a week-long hypefest in conjunction with it, pretending that it isn't trying to make those activities important.
In other words, it's all right to play the AFC or NFC championship games in a blizzard, but let's not sully the inviolate Super Bowl. Recall, the New England Patriots began their three-titles-in-four-years run with Tom Brady's controversial incomplete pass/fumble call that went favorably for the home team in the snow in Massachusetts in 2002. In 1981, Cincinnati beat San Diego in a playoff game with a wind-chill factor of minus-59.
No problem here with Detroit as a host site. You come here, you take what weather it gives you.
-- Bud Withers
Before arriving in Detroit on Saturday, some of the more flamboyant members of the Seahawkers booster club spent the night at a motel in Findlay, Ohio, hometown of Pittsburgh Steelers second-year quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Y'know, just to be jerks.
But they discovered that the guy with the reputation in town as the biggest jerk of all is none other than Big Ben himself.
As they shopped the aisles of the Kroger grocery store, decked out in Seahawks gear, people stopped them to say they were courageous. But at a Findlay restaurant, both the waitress and the bartender told them that Roethlisberger's hometown is lukewarm over the kid. The waitress said she wanted to root for Roethlisberger, but just couldn't, knowing what she knew.
The front-desk person at the motel told them Big Ben and his entourage once acted like such Big Jerks there, that Roethlisberger's mother wrote the motel a letter of apology. The Seahawkers got a particular kick out of that.
"After a while, we started to feel very comfortable in his hometown," Bruce "PaintedHawk" McMillan said.
Yeah, yeah, so we hear you have some wind issues back there in the Great Metropolis.
Well, I'm looking out of the window of the 46th floor of the Marriott Renaissance Center hotel and I can tell you that it is snowing hard — and horizontally — in downtown Detroit. The wind didn't seem quite that brutal on the ground, where I was 15 minutes ago, but it appears to have picked up. The Detroit newspapers this morning said 8 inches of snow on the ground is possible for game day.
Yes, Ford Field has a roof, but the view from my window illustrates the argument of those who think Super Bowls ought not be played in northern cities.
Holy schmaholy. I think my windows are about to get blown out.
If I had a few hundred thousand dollars to invest — which I don't because I work for a newspaper — I would buy one of the new lofts in downtown Detroit, rent it and then sell it in, oh, seven to 10 years.
For all those who warned me about this city before my trip, I say they need to check out the new and improved downtown. Sure, downtown has been cleaned up specifically for the Super Bowl — many of the vacant storefronts have been brought to life as temporary shops selling Super Bowl XL merchandise — but there is a good vibe here. Detroiters are over-the-top friendly, and they are sincerely optimistic that downtown is on the verge of a renaissance. It's not just blind boosterism.
After the Super Bowl is over, the cool, hip and classy new restaurants that have opened recently will stay. It will be interesting to see if the Detroit area will support them in the long-term.
"Are you having a good time in Detroit?" one younger guy asked me as I washed my hands in a bathroom. I told him I was.
"Please, please come back," he said pleadingly. "And tell your friends."
Consider it done.
I'm such a fish out of water. Luckily the Super Bowl is in Detroit, my family home where my mother was raised and father grew up in nearby Pontiac, otherwise I'd be completely lost. My roots are in basketball and this spectacle is nothing like hoops.
The vibe is different. Everyone is short. The fans are more drunk, if that's possible. And the fact that there's only one game for the title makes everything more intense.
So, I was thankful to run into some familiar faces this morning while waiting for my limo to this celebrity event (more on that later). Swin Cash and Ruth Riley, WNBA stars who play for the Detroit Shock, were all dolled up to help promote the league at a brunch function. Cash is from McKeesport, a Pittsburgh borough, and a former college teammate of Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird. Well, apparently the two have had some heated text messages since the Super Bowl hype began.
"You know Sue has been text messaging me from Russia," Cash told me. Bird is overseas playing ball. "At 3 o'clock in the morning, 'Go Hawks!'"
This irritated Cash in a playful way, especially when Bird told Cash she hopes Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, dubbed "The Bus," is "put up on bricks."
"She's got nerve," Cash said.
Yeah, Bird is a native New Yorker. But she did win a title for Seattle and has property in the city, so I understood her enthusiasm.
I'm just happy the exchange gives me an excuse to talk hoops!
Even a Steelers fan can admit that the Seahawks might have a better team.
In talking with a Detroit police officer Friday night, he owned up to being a Steelers fan, mainly due to Jerome Bettis being a hometown boy, but also because the folks in Detroit don't get to see many Seahawks games on TV.
He went on to say that he thought the Seahawks had a better team, especially with Shaun Alexander-- who he thought was "good for at least three touchdowns on Sunday.''
His Super Bowl prediction? 35-28.
But he wouldn't say who would end up with the 35.
My age is showing. Let's just say I'm more a contemporary of the Rolling Stones than Joss Stone.
I was reminded of that when I checked out the Celebrity Gift Room, located here in the center-of-the-Super-Bowl universe that we call the RenCen. If you come to the Super Bowl and you're a celeb, you head to the third floor of the RenCen if you want to cash in on free stuff, and they do it in droves.
Among other things, they can pick up expensive watches, cubic zirconia cufflinks and free Lasik eye surgery. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm a celebrity, I'm not taking free surgery from just anybody. This is something I probably would want to get without a coupon.
Anyway, I tell myself, it's celebrities I'm after. Only trouble is, I can't recognize the celebrities when they come by. Oh, I know Mike Ditka when I see him, or rather when he nearly knocks me over as he barrels through the hallway. Sports celebs are easy to recognize.
But the young woman heading my way toward the gift room, surrounded by cops, who was she?
"Gabrielle Union,'' the cops said after dropping her off. They were beaming.
Somewhere in the distance I hear my first "Go Seahawks'' cheer since getting here on Monday. Now that's something I recognize.
It's not only the NFL publicizing itself to death here.
All of the media entities involved in the game also throw out lots of releases and handouts touting their coverage.
ABC and partner ESPN, for instance, claim this year they will produce "the most comprehensive Super Bowl Sunday coverage in its 40-year history."
True or not, it figures to be good news for Seahawks fans.
Prior to kickoff, each network will have its own pre-game show - ABC's Super Bowl XL Pregame Show from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ABC's pregame show, which follows a Rockets-Knicks NBA game (hey, Nate Robinson's opening for the Super Bowl!), will focus on the 40-year history of the game. The show will devote a half-hour to each of the five decades in which there have been Super Bowls (1960s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s).
ESPN's pregame show will focus more on game strategy and will also feature live reports every 20 minutes from the team hotels (look, there's the Seahawks bus pulling out of the parking lot!).
-- Bob Condotta
Upon arriving at the Detroit airport Thursday night, I followed a sign for "Media Shuttle" and was told that there wouldn't be one for another half-hour. So a fellow directed me across an elevated walkway, and said to look for "Metro Cars" and to tell them Matt said it was OK.
A few minutes later, I was riding alone in the back of a new Cadillac with leather seats, not a bad deal for a guy who has a 1990 Mazda pickup with more dents than there are people here picking the Steelers. I could get used to this. ...
I've been intimidated before by 315-pound offensive linemen and by people swerving without warning into my freeway lane, but only once in my past have I been cowed by a hotel. That was at the Opryland in Nashville, headquarters for the 1991 NCAA convention. The Opryland is a classic old Southern hotel that stretches roughly from the east outskirts of Memphis to west Knoxville.
Well, it has met its match here in the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, the media headquarters. It's a circular pattern of endless steel, glass and concrete and it's like trying to navigate the Black Forest. With your press credentials, they should have issued a sherpa or a GPS system. I circled one floor three times like a mouse in a maze before asking for directions, and then asking again.
Of course, the requisite Super Bowl humanity glut - worsened by gawkers taking pictures of Michael Irvin - doesn't help.
-- Bud Withers
The tables were spread out around the Renaissance Ballroom, each with a name tag that identified the NFL royalty that would soon sit behind it.
Emmitt Smith. Joe Namath. Larry Csonka. Steve Young. Bart Starr. Roger Staubach.
It was a gathering of Super Bowl MVPs, and even though a few were missing, like Jerry Rice and Terry Bradshaw, they still comprised the most impressive gathering of legends I've seen since baseball's All-Century team had a similar press availability in Atlanta during the 1999 World Series.
After posing for a group picture, the MVPs were to head for their tables for interviews. I strategically placed myself at the table of Franco Harris, figuring the fact he won four Super Bowl rings with the Steelers and finished his career with the Seahawks in 1984 would make him a provocative commentator on Super Bowl XL.
The legends headed off for their stations - and Franco and his insights marched right out the door, skipping the interview session entirely, as did Namath and a few others.
-- Larry Stone
This just in: King County Executive Ron Sims and his Allegheny County counterpart Dan Onorato have made one of those friendly Super Bowl wagers.
If the Steelers win, Sims has to fork over a full Xbox system, a variety of gourmet cheeses and smoked king salmon.
If the Seahawks win, Onorato will send along a case of Italian sausage, a sweet potato pie, an Andy Warhol print and a 50-inch Sony projection HDTV.
That TV sort of ups the ante. It's worth $3,500.
All the items have been donated, of course. And Sims says if he wins, he'll give the TV to Children's Hospital.
He didn't say what he'd do with the sweet potato pie.
-- Cathy Henkel
A $5 hot dog from the Seattle Seahawks' N-F-C championship victory over the Carolina Panthers has brought $1,800 in an online auction on eBay.
The winning bid from Golden Palace.com, an online casino known for buying oddball artifacts, was posted a scant four seconds before the deadline of 6:30 p.m. PST Thursday set by Josh Minnick, 27, Stacey Houtary, also 27, and her boyfriend, Matt Allison, 25, of Arlington, Wash.
In 10 days, their eBay site got more than 350,000 hits. At one point the bidding exceeded $10,000 but bidders began backing out and with less than a minute to go the top offer was $1,525.
Golden Palace had asked to be included in an approved bidders list but posted an offer only at the end, The Herald of Everett reported today.
As the three friends celebrated with champagne, they got a telephone call from Golden Palace spokesman Jeff Kay.
"I can't wait to get your hot dog. We're a little hungry," Kay joked.
-- The Associated Press
I got my first up-close and personal look last night at Radio Row, a feature unique to Super Bowl week that is exactly what it sounds like -- row after row after row of sports radio stations that have made the trip to broadcast here for the week.
There are apparently 91 stations here, including several from Seattle, notably KJR-AM, which has almost its entire lineup in town. I went there to do an interview with Mike Gastineau, who wondered if we were participating in a merry-go-round of new media -- he talks about our blog on the radio and then I blog about my appearance on his station, which he can then read and talk about on his show, etc. All in real time if need be.
It would have worked better if I had written this immediately after leaving the interview, but I had the Madden Bowl 2006 to attend.
(That, by the way, may sound more exciting than it was -- we basically just sat in a crowded room and watched two NFL players hundreds of feet away play video games and saw celebrities mingle with one another. It was interesting watching Reggie Bush stroll around with a security guard. Bush's security guard also looked like he could have played at USC).
As for radio row, various celebrities of all types make the rounds going from table to table to table talking to hosts from stations all over the country. But if you think all those celebs are just being kind with their time, think again. Most have deals with sponsors to get on the radio and mention their product somewhere in the course of the interview.
-- Bob Condotta
CNN's Daryn Kagan, it turns out, is a Pittsburgh fan.
"Go Steelers!," she blurted this morning during the 7 a.m. segment of the network's news program.
Thanks for sharing. But she went on to assert that no team from Seattle has ever won a professional sports championship.
Hey, Daryn. How about the '79 Sonics? It's not like she's too young to remember. Besides she's a former sports reporter. Geez.
And though the women still have trouble getting respect in some quarters, let's not forget the '04 Storm, either.
You can e-mail Kagan here.
In what had to be one of the biggest scores of my lifetime, I managed to get into Thursday night's FHM (For Him Magazine) party at a club called Envy in downtown Detroit.
The sports and entertainment celebrities were out in full force, walking out of the rain down a red carpet and into the club.
One of the first to arrive was Vida Guerra, far and away FHM's most popular model. She and New York Jets' linebacker Jonathan Vilma co-hosted the affair.
Guerra, 26, said she was a Dallas Cowboys fan because as a kid she wanted to be a cheerleader for them. She also said she's single and that she has never visited Seattle because "it rains a lot there."
Players and bigshots weighed in on what team they thought would win the Super Bowl. Pete Coors, chairman of Coors (the beer) Brewing Company, would not commit and only said he's an AFC guy because of the Denver Broncos.
Leann Tweeden of television and modeling fame said she loves Shaun Alexander but hopes the Steelers win one for Jerome Bettis before he retires from the game.
Joey Harrington, former Oregon Duck, current Detroit Lion quarterbacks, stopped by to say he grew up watching the Seahawks and had a Steve Largent poster as a kid. He watched Seahawks games every Sunday and said he is pulling for the Seahawks on behalf of the Northwest.
There were exotic dancers and adult film actress Tera Patrick. Former NFL great Marcus Allen was in the house. So was No. 1 draft pick-to-be Reggie Bush from USC, NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia and his significant other Carmella DeCesare (a former Playboy Playmate) and singer Anita Baker
Inside, the big names were upstairs while the rest of the partygoers danced to some thumping-bass hip hop. Stevie Wonder was also there, as was ESPN's Chris Berman, Jesse Palmer from "The Bachelor" and former boxer Lennox Lewis, who drew some cheers from the crowd of people trying to get into the event.
People were trying anything to get into the party, but by 11:30 last night, security wasn't letting anyone else in.
Onboard Northwest Flight 210 as I waited to leave Sea-Tac
A passenger stands up and asks folks behind him:
"How many Seattle fans here?"
Big cheer goes up
Asks "How many Seahawks fanatics are here?"
Going through the security checkpoint at the airport, a guy in a Steelers jacket comes through security.
TSA person turns to another TSA person and asks, "Should we search him closer?"
Pittsburgh suffered a potentially significant injury today when safety Troy Polamalu tweaked his ankle and sat out part of team drills, defined as those involving 11-on-11 work.
He is listed as "probable'' for Sunday's game and information was sparse. Coaches and players talked with the media only before practice. Practices are closed.
The official pool report did not give any more details on Polamalu.
Being listed as probable means Polamalu will definintely play considering it's the Super Bowl. But any ankle injury can be dicey and if Polamalu is ailing in any way, that could be a factor in Sunday's game as some regard Polamalu as the key to the Steelers' defense.
-- Bob Condotta
By Thursday afternoon the silliness of the buildup to this game gets to you a bit. The interrogating of Jerramy Stevens at today's media session bordered on the embarrassing and his pseudo-feud with Pittsburgh linebacker
Joey Porter is being over-reported as if it were another White House scandal. The fact is there is no real news this week. Fortunately both teams are healthy and this Super Bowl will speak for itself.
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones meets the media today in Detroit.
Looking for refreshment from the day's ho-hum news, reporters flocked into a ballroom at the Marriott Renaissance Center this afternoon for the best news conference of the week. The Rolling Stones were appearing to breathe some life into the week.
And while Mick Jagger answered most of the questions, it was Keith Richards, rocking around the stage as if this were a concert, who provided the best one-liners. One clown reporter said that if there were a nuclear war, it has been suggested that only the Rolling Stones and cockroaches would be left alive. The clown reporter asked Jagger, if that were true, what would they do to survive. Quickly Richards said, "We would eat the cockroaches."
KJR's Mike Gastineau asked Jagger how hard it would be to boil down all their material for a quick halftime show. After Jagger's brief answer, Richards added, "hard boiling."
Jagger was asked if the had any sympathy for the devil, but he refused to bite on the joke. He also was asked if the group would sing "Sympathy For The Devil." He said it was a little early, then quickly half-sung, "Allow me to introduce. . ." and stopped. Jagger admitted the network people are always nervous about what the group might say and announced that Aretha Franklin was going to strip during the national anthem.
The Super Bowl apperance for The Stones will come a week before one of the group's major anniversaries. On Feb. 12, 1966, The Stones appeared for the first time on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Richards did a quick imitation of Sullivan and Jagger admitted, "It was a strange show."
The group will perform only three songs at the halftime of Super Bowl XL and the show will be seen by about a billion people. Richards joked that they thumb their nose at any crowd fewer than a quarter million.
Before The Rolling Stones appearance, the pre-game and national anthem performers were on stage. Aaron Neville was asked how the reconstruction of New Orleans was going. "It's not going," he said. "It's kind of in limbo."
-- Steve Kelley
It's interesting to see what some of the lesser-known Seahawks do in the team hotel ballroom as they sit at tables during the required media availability.
When many of them had left, I asked Stevens what he thought about all the attention.
"The first word that came to mind was 'ridiculous'." he said. Asked by someone else where everybody went, Stevens offered this gem: "I don't know. Maybe I wore them down with the truth."
I attended the Pittsburgh media session this morning wondering if Steelers linebacker Joey Porter would have anything left to say after his comments of the day before.
Not only did he have something left, but he appeared to have gathered even more steam, going on and on and on in an unrelenting attack on the Seahawks and tight end Jerramy Stevens that is sure to be the focus of Super Bowl coverage today.
The sessions lasted for about 45 minutes and I listened to Porter — who was sitting at a podium today, unlike Wednesday when he was seated at a table like most of the players — for about 15 or 20 minutes and got enough to write three or four stories worth.
I interviewed a few other players and coaches for some other stories and came back and Porter was still at it, bashing Stevens and the Seahawks until the minute they escorted us out.
The general theme is how he feels Stevens is soft and doesn't have the right to have said anything bad about Jerome Bettis. And that since Stevens fired the first shot on Tuesday, Porter now has every right to say whatever he wants about Stevens.
"I am out for anybody in blue, but especially him (Stevens),'' Porter said in one of many, many, many such comments.
You'll be reading, hearing and seeing a lot more on this throughout the day and tomorrow.
-- Bob Condotta
As a Super Bowl novice, I'm quickly learning that one of the more interesting aspects of being here is never knowing who you will bump into next
Last night at 1 a.m., while waiting to get on an elevator, I notice Carolina receiver Ricky Proehl — who I instantly recognize, having interviewed him a few times during his Seahawk days. And with him, I'm assuming, is his teammate Steve Smith, whom I've never met. But this guy looks just like Smith so I figure it's him.
Along with a couple of others, we all get on the elevator with Proehl and Smith playing the roles of button pushers. When they ask me what floor I'm on and I say 49 — this is one big hotel — Smith cracks that this "elevator won't go that low." They, apparently, are all staying on higher levels ... the floors go to 70.
I resist the urge to remind Smith that he's staying in the same hotel as the lowly media while the Seahawks are at another hotel, practicing for a game.
-- Bob Condotta
No place is safe from scalpers, it seems. Even while you sleep.
When I awoke this morning at the Renaissance Marriott, the primary media hotel, someone had slipped a note under my door overnight: "Super Bowl tickets: buying & selling." Then a toll-free number and a cell phone number with this as a postscript: "Very discreet."
I'm guessing this won't be the last attempt, either, despite beefed-up security all around the hotel, including requiring those staying here to wear a special lime green bracelet to get in the front door. (That makes one wristband for the hotel, one media credential that hangs around your neck, and a third "game day" credential we get Friday to add to the display to be worn at all times.
Ticket buying and selling has become big business and with money to be made, they'll continue to figure out new ways to snag one of these precious entries into Super Bowl XL.
Like trying to catch someone on a groggy Thursday morning who may want to sell their ticket at the last minute.
Not me, of course! Despite the fact that the media doesn't get any actual tickets (ours our credentials with our photo on it), it would be tough for any Seattlelite already here to give up this moment in history.
-- Cathy Henkel
Because this Super Bowl is being held in Hockeytown, I felt duty bound to go to a Detroit Red Wings game. The second-best team in the NHL, Detroit, was playing the worst team, the St. Louis Blues, so of course St. Louis took an eary 2-0 lead.
A bad omen for the U.S. Olympic team, Detroit defender Chris Chelios was honored before the game because of Tuesday's annoucement that he would be the captain of the team in Torino. Then, in the first 10 minutes of the game he was whistled for two penalties and made two careless turnovers in his own end. The Red Wings, however, rallied for two late goals in a 3-2 win.
Joe Louis Arena is one of the few great hockey barns left in the league. There are very few luxury boxes. There is only one level and no bad seats. The majority of the fans wear red and the crowd is loud. And maybe the best thing, they play Motown songs during the breaks -- Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Temptations.
In an unrelated note, the Seahawks' Ray Rhodes, who relinquished his defensive coordinator's role this season to John Marshall after suffering two mild strokes, talked expansively and honestly about his illness on Wednesday afternoon. But toward the end of the hour session, he was asked what the most difficult part of Super Bowl week was for him.
"This," he said. "It's the absolute worst part of Super Bowl week for me, you know what I mean. Where you have to sit here and do a lot of talking. I've really been behind the scenes, but even when I was healthy I haven't been really comfortable. But this is the time of year when you have to talk and I understand that. I've been a head coach before so I know that when you have to do certain things, you have to do them. But I'm not comfortable."
-- Steve Kelley
One of the things you quickly notice about Super Bowl week is that
I'd like to believe that this is because the players and coaches are
Today I was asked to appear on a Seattle-area radio show with KIRO-AM
He wanted me to come on the show to talk about what I am doing this
I'm actually kind of reluctant to do such interviews, but a mentor of
Midway through the interview, we notice that a hundred or so people
It feels like they're all looking down right at us. But I KNOW
I turn around and see NFL greats Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson and
Dori jokingly assures me the people are there to see me. We laugh,
-- Rod Mar
Nike's non-stop parties at the Super Bowl are taking place at a new restaurant in downtown Detroit owned by Chris Chelios, a Detroit Red Wings defenseman.
The story behind Cheli's Chili Bar illustrates the economic clout of the Super Bowl and speaks to Detroit's hopes that the football game can help turn this blighted city around.
After being traded to the Red Wings, Chelios opened his first Chili Bar in suburban Dearborn -- and it took off. With the Super Bowl providing an impetus, Chelios last week has opened his second restaurant in a restored building right beside Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play 81 games a year. The fact that the building remained abandoned for the past 15 years -- Comerica opened in April 2000 -- is testament to the depressed real-estate market in downtown Detroit.
While well-heeled professional athletes and celebrities enjoy the Nike parties, Chelios can pitch them about investing in his plan to franchise Cheli's. Shut down to the public all this week for the private parties, the restaurant will open to the public on Monday and become a key element of downtown's Super Bowl-fueled revitalization.
"The location is unbelievable," said Rob Marano, general manager of Cheli's Dearborn store. "If you are going to open in downtown Detroit, why not plop yourself in the middle of everything."
Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play, is on the other side of Comerica Park and is also a short walk from Cheli's.
That's "thank you" in Hawaiian, and it was perhaps the response that Seahawks Wayne Hunter and Itula Mili gave after receiving boxes of toffee-covered macadamia nuts from a radio reporter who calls himself "Super Bowl Wayne."
"It's just kind of 'Aloha' spirit," Hunter said. "That's how it is back at home."
Hunter said it's customary for Hawaiians on the islands to bring gifts to Hawaiians living on the mainland.
No, guests at the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center did not catch Seahawks fever today. Those little Lance Amstrong-inspired green bracelets were actually another security measure introduced this morning.
Every guest -- even famous ones -- was required to wear the green bracelet to gain entry. On the sign-in sheet, just above Times photographer Rod "Guns" Mar -- was a very famous name. Peyton Manning. Colts quarterback. And he requested six bracelets!
The bracelets read SUPER BOWL XL instead of LIVESTRONG, but what the heck. Maybe the green color will bring the Seahawks some good luck.
-- Greg Bishop
Bill Leavy will referee his first Super Bowl, heading a crew that has 58 years of experience and has worked a combined 40 postseason games.
Also picked to work Sunday's game between Pittsburgh and Seattle were umpire Garth DeFelice, head linesman Mark Hittner, line judge Mark Perlman, field judge Steve Zimmer, side judge Tom Hill and back judge Bob Waggoner.
Officials for the Super Bowl are the highest-rated at their positions, provided they have worked at least five years in the NFL. The league announced the assignments Wednesday.
Leavy worked the 2000 Super Bowl as a back judge and is in his 11th season as an official.
Bob Boylston is the replay assistant. Tony Corrente, Undrey Wash, and Tom Stabile will serve as alternates.
-- The Associated Press
The NFL Network is everywhere here -- every hotel room has it, the big screens that dot the media center are always playing it.
And soon, I figure, all of our homes in Seattle will have it, as well.
You might not have paid attention to it, but the NFL announced a few days ago that it will put eight games next season on the NFL Network, including some on Thursday night. The games will also be available in local markets on a traditional over-the-air station. But if you're, say, a Raiders fan living in Seattle and the Raiders game is on NFL Network, that will be your only option.
The NFL will always need the traditional networks to overpay for rights fees.
But I figure more and more games will go on the NFL Network in years to come, compelling more and more of us to purchase it.
Peter King, the guy from Inside The NFL and various other media outlets, walked into the press room wearing a Gonzaga T-shirt and shorts at 6:45 a.m.
-- Bob Condotta
You think the NFL doesn't control every aspect of the Super Bowl?
When the wakeup call came this morning, I was greeted warmly -- or rudely, considering the time of day - by "Rich Eisen of the NFL Network," telling me to "rise and shine" or something to that effect.
My first thought was "so that's what happened to Rich Eisen."
My second was, "Hey, it's 3:25 a.m. Seattle time. You rise and shine."
Such are the crosses to bear of being the one who has to cover the Steelers -- who have been assigned the 8 a.m. press conference time today and Thursday.
Such are also the crosses of those of us who stayed until the very end of the Media Party -- dubbed Super Bowl Media Party XXVI (they apparently started with Super Bowl 14) -- until the very end, kept there by a Motown band named "Horizon" that played just about every Motown hit imaginable. Never heard of them before but they are highly recommended.
-- Bob Condotta
Actual exchange while crossing the tunnel from Detroit into Windsor, Ontario:
Toll booth operator: You going to the Super Bowl?
Operator: Who's going to win?
Operator: That's what I've been trying to tell everyone!
Me: You're from Detroit and you think Seattle is supposed to win? I thought this whole town was for the Steelers?
Operator: It's just me and you, man. Two against 1 million.
Another employee in the toll booth: Go Steelers!