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So today is apparently a big day for American football fans. In my world, here is how I remember who is still a contender:

Game 1:

The team immortalized by Chris Farley and some other folks in a “Saturday Night Live” skit vs. The team formerly led by the is-he-retiring-is-he-not guy who supposedly texted photos of his naughty bits.

Bit players won.

Game 2:

The team that used to have great players like my sixth-grade teacher’s husband’s cousin (John Stallworth) but is now led by an alleged pervert/assaulter vs. The Jets (as opposed to the Sharks).

Eddie likes the Jets, but, as I am writing this, a flock of geese evidently flew into their engines and they are making an emergency landing.

I sort of cared about the playoffs when the Falcons were still in it. Now I don’t care at all. But I’m still excited about the Super Bowl.

Why?

Commercials, people!

And this year’s Super Bowl coincides with the fact that I am teaching Promotional Writing where I get to talk about advertising. So I’m very excited.

And there’s the food, of course. It’s like the holidays where you give yourself a pass. I’m giving myself a pass to make myself sick on nachos while watching some double-perv action.

Yay, nachos!

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Trish and Ed had mentioned the Jaguars’ halftime hot dog buffet for the media, but I’m not a fan of hot dogs unless they have the processed cheese in the center. Still, I decided to dig in, despite the unappetizing presentation of the dogs swimming in amber brack.

The famed hotdog buffet

The famed hotdog buffet

It was a decision I would regret.

The game was a blowout. The crowd started singing “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” with more than four minutes left. The Titans went home 0-4 and very sad.

I met up with Ed outside the press conference room. Inside, there were a dozen or so print folks and eight people with video cameras. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio read from the standard coach script: “It was a solid team effort” and “we were solid throughout.” I didn’t care about any of that stuff because something else had attracted my attention: a very large man doing illicit things to a cigar. He was wearing what looked like a fern-patterned muumuu.

The man in the muumuu

The man in the muumuu

He asked this astute question of Del Rio: “Is the quickness the key to being a better team?” Um, I don’t know much about football, but I’m going to say, “Yes.”

After we left the meat locker temps of the press conference room, we went to the actual locker rooms. The Titans’ one was quite wee and covered in discarded knee, elbow and ankle wraps. The Jaguars’ one is like the Taj Mahal. While I was writing down that note, Ed told me to look over his shoulder. And there was the tight end of a corner back. It was Ed’s way of making me more aware and cautious. And I was. I took a lot of notes so that I could better avert my eyes.

The players exhibit a lot more patience with people in their space when they are naked than I would. One TV guy was doing live shots — live shots! — in the locker room. They may be used to it, but I’m certainly not.

Fern muumuu was roaming around and gnawing his cigar. He is about 5-feet-4-inches tall and wide, and makes a “Where the Wild Things Are”-style cacophony when he walks.

Ed has one cardinal rule regarding locker room interviews: He won’t interview a player until he is dressed. The player, that is, not Ed. I would think Ed is usually fully dressed. Meanwhile, I’m standing next to the bins of sweaty shorts and towels, and I start to feel lightheaded. Then the hot dog asks to be released. I need to leave.

Ed follows shortly thereafter and we head home. He asks me if I’ve had a good time. I reply that every experience makes a good story.

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My friend Ed is the publisher of a sports publication. During football season, he and Trish the Human spend many weekends covering the Jaguars. I’m not sure how it transpired, but it was decided* that I would come with him today and cover the Jaguars/Titans game from behind the scenes. I think what led to it was the fact that I was intrigued by their tales of all the weirdo press people who cover the games.

So, Ed and I drove to Jacksonville this morning, listening to the B-52s (mine) and Ringo Starr (his). We arrived in record time, then paid a blistering $30 for parking — $30!! WTF? We parked and walked the trail of tailgating to the media entry. I would have been happy to stay in the parking lot. Fat Floridians were grilling burgers, drinking beer, and listening to live music. (I got out of the car to the tune of “What I Like About You.”) Yet we pressed on.

Clearly he knows how to grill something tasty

Clearly he knows how to grill something tasty

On the Tailgate Trail

On the Tailgate Trail

Ed and I went through the security cavity search, then headed to the press area to get food. On the menu: sandwiches, some meat product in goo, and over-oiled potatoes. Savory.

He showed me to my seat in the air-conditioned press box and he headed to the sidelines to shoot the game. I looked for him, but I realized I might never see him again.

That's me, working hard (hardly working) in the press box

That's me, working hard (hardly working) in the press box

It is a sea of teal Jones-Drew jerseys with shots of pink for breast cancer awareness. In the press box, I am painfully aware of my deceit.  Everyone here lives for football, and can discuss the nuances of the game. I am only here to observe and pass judgment.

And here is one call now:

What is the deal with radio and TV folks and their “broadcast” voices? It is ridiculous. There is no need to switch into some extra loud, hyper-enunciated vocalization as the guy a few seats down is doing.

Within the first few moments of the game, it becomes clear that it will be a good day for the Jaguars. No. 32 — a look at the media guide tells me that it is Maurice Jones-Drew of fan jersey fame — scored a touchdown. I was browsing the Museum of Bad Art’s Web site, but I sensed anticipation from my press cohorts. I looked up just in time to see him jog into the end zone.

More touchdowns follow. The mood in the box is jubilant, and I wonder what happened to journalistic objectivity.

View from the box

View from the box

It is halftime now, and my butt hurts. I think I’ll go get popcorn.

Stay tuned: more coverage to come!

* deliberate use of passive voice

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