Sights and sounds of the Big Apple Super Bowl
NEW YORK (AP) The NFL is doing its best to get New Yorkers pumped up about hosting the Super Bowl for the first time, though it is sure to cause some major traffic jams.
The city is blocking off a 13-block stretch of Broadway for four days, beginning at noon Wednesday, for a series of fan-related events around Times Square. There will be 60-foot-long toboggan ride, autograph sessions with NFL players, a 10-minute film showing on the facade of Macy’s, a spot to get pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and nightly concerts culminating with a show by Blondie on Saturday.
Taking things a bit further, the famous thoroughfare has been temporarily renamed Super Bowl Boulevard between 34th and 47th streets.
Even with all the hoopla over Sunday’s title game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, which also includes the Empire State Building being lit up in both team’s colors, there’s still a sense that many folks in the Big Apple aren’t all that impressed. They’re going about their business as though this week is no different than any other – the down side to holding the Super Bowl in a city with so many other things to do.
It remains to be seen if Super Bowl Boulevard will ramp up the excitement.
ACROSS THE RIVER: Of course, the big game is actually being held in an entirely different state – across the river in New Jersey at MetLife Stadium.
Not surprisingly, Gov. Chris Christie and other state officials have gone out of their way to stress that New Jersey is playing a key role in hosting the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.
That included media day on Tuesday, which was held indoors at Prudential Arena in downtown Newark. Yellow-coated volunteers made sure fans and media knew where they weren’t in New York anymore, shouting ”Welcome to New Jersey!” to everyone entering the home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
The Rutgers pep band was brought in to entertain the crowd, blasting out a rousing rendition for Journey’s ”Separate Ways” before the Seahawks began their hour-long session with the media.
The police even got in on the revelry. Despite frigid temperatures, two officers tossed a football instead of directing traffic. Inside, the snappily dressed state police force posed for pictures with players and cheerleaders.
SHINY BRONCO: No one was glittering on media day more than Denver’s Malik Jackson.
The defensive end wore a diamond-encrusted grillz across his lower teeth, which brought plenty of requests for photos even though he wasn’t in one of the prime interview spots.
He gladly posed for everyone.
”I just wanted to dress the place up a bit,” Jackson quipped. ”If I had known it was going to draw this much attention, I probably wouldn’t have worn it. But it’s been a lot of fun.”
Now, of course, he’d like a shiny new ring to go with those grillz.
HIGH-TECH SEAHAWK: Seattle receiver Golden Tate showed up at media day wearing Google Glass and a camera on his hat.
”I thought it would be a great idea to try to film my experience through my eyes, literally through my eyes, for the 12s,” Tate said, referring to the Seahawks raucous ”12th Man” fans. ”They’ve supported us all year and we appreciate it so much. I figured this would be a small way for me to give back and for the people that aren’t able to make it out, they can see this. I’m looking forward to editing it out and moving forward with it.”
While he’s really not much of a high-tech guy, Tate was won over when Google sent him the glasses to try out.
”I’m really impressed with it,” he said. ”It’s a cool gadget. I can talk to it, send text messages.”
Speaking of the 12th Man, there’s already indications that they’ll make their presence heard at the Super Bowl, even though it requires an expensive cross-country trip. Three Seahawks fans stood outside Prudential Arena, waving their trademark flag as the media buses pulled away.
So, yes, that roar from Seattle has carried all the way to New York, even if it’s not quite as loud as usual.
WEATHER UPDATE: Much has been made of the weather leading up this Big Apple Super Bowl.
While temperatures plunged into the teens on Tuesday, and there was a chance of flurries extending into Wednesday, the forecast for game day surely has NFL officials feeling a cautious sense of giddiness:
Partly cloudy with a high of 39 degrees – downright balmy in what has been an especially frigid winter. There’s only a slight chance of precipitation.
Who knows? There might be a run on sun screen before the week is out.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963