It has been a long strange week here in Phoenix. I have been on radio row all week long, and what started out as a slow rumble on Monday, has built into a crescendo that will peak on Sunday night in Glendale when the Patriots meet the Seahawks in what should be one of the more entertaining games we’ve seen in a while. Ok, I probably just jinxed it and now there’ll be a huge blowout, but at least right now it looks like it should be a great game.
When the week began there were a few random characters roaming the cavernous room that houses the media inside the convention center. Actor Danny Trejo was there, looking as menacing as he did in Breaking Bad before his head was cut off and placed on top of a turtle. Former Bengals running back Ickey Woods was there video taping himself all around the room … and quite frankly I’m not sure what he was talking about. I like to think that he was saying, “Woohoo! Cold cuts! I’m gettin’ me some cold cuts today!” but I can’t be sure.
Things started to get interesting on Tuesday during Media Day, and by interesting I mean the ridiculous obsession with what Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch was saying, or more specifically what he wasn’t saying. I guess you can’t blame the media for grasping on to that as a story, after all you can only write and talk about the different ways to deflate a football for so long.
And now that I mention it, if I hear one more person opine about how someone can deflate 11 footballs in a tiny bathroom in 90 seconds, I’m going to punch them in the throat. Enough with this already! This isn’t the grassy knoll, and there is no grand conspiracy. Tom Brady could have been throwing footballs so pumped up they looked like Kate Upton’s chest and the Pats still would have blown out the Colts. And if the condition of the balls was so damn important, then maybe the NFL should have been responsible for them instead of letting each team use the honor system. Just ask baseball how that might work — oh that’s right, it wouldn’t.
By midweek, the fans started rolling in. Mostly Seattle and New England fans, but there were little pockets of fans from around the NFL – sad little groups proudly wearing their team colors even though their squad isn’t here. This is one thing I’ve never really understand at games, when someone is at a game between say the Red Sox and Orioles and you see a guy walking around with full Minnesota Twins gear on. Do they not know that their team isn’t playing? Every team in the NFL has been represented here though — except for Jacksonville. I seriously haven’t seen one person wearing a Jaguars hat or jersey – although I did see someone wearing a Waffle House t-shirt, so maybe that counts.
The last couple of days, things have really picked up. At radio row marginal former players have been replaced by Hall of Famers. Dan Marino, Joe Montana, and Rob Riggle. I know, he’s an actor and not in the Hall of Fame, but it was great to see people run up to him and yell, “In the face!” I’m sure he never gets tired of that.
Katy Perry was even on hand to do her best Marshawn Lynch impersonation. There were Skittle girls roaming through the room, tossing candy around so that everyone could taste the rainbow. The weather has turned sour, with rain blanketing the town, but even that cannot dampen the excitement that is brewing in this desert city right now. On Sunday, the weather gods are calling for sunny skies. Finally, the game will be played. No more talk of deflated balls, and the inevitable giggles that follow when the talking heads say “deflated balls.” No more talk about who’s talking and who’s not talking. The nonsense is about to end and when it does, we are going to be treated to one hell of a game.