As we look back on what’s been a whirlwind week+ of Super Bowl fun; it goes without saying to the Super Bowl Host committee, volunteers, public safety, and anyone who had a part in putting this together–an outstanding accomplishment, all.
But while we’ve basked in Super Bowl glory—and the accolades from an appreciative NFL and world press—lets not forget the fans who deserve OUR appreciation.
We set out to make them welcome–whoever “they” were. When we found out we’d be hosting New Yorkers and New Englanders (nay, the Patriots!) did we all not feel a little nervous about whether they’d live up to their reputation ( or perhaps stereotype is the more appropriate word) for being rowdy, pushy, or just plain rude?
My experience is that they were just the opposite.
Take the airport today for example. I met several Giants and Pats fans on their way out of town. Each and every one complimentary of this city and its hosting duties. Even the Pats fans, who had every reason to pout–shrugged off the loss and instead focused on the fun they had here in Indy.
This weekend, when most o the out-of-towners showed up, I was met with smiles, friendly greetings, and good old fashioned competitive fun.
A police blotter would show no brawls, fights, riots or real trouble of any kind (none out of the ordinary)—not even after the game.
Everyone seemed on their best behavior. Respectful of their host the way any good party guests would be.
So to the fans—Giants and Patriots alike—I say THANK YOU. Thank you for a “super” week; for a superb game; and for giving Hoosiers a chance to see you in a new (likely more accurate) light.
I hope to see you again soon.
I don’t think it’s any surprise that the Super Bowl is a huge corporate event as well as the biggest sporting event.
While there are those who are able to scalp a ticket - —-or save up all year to spend the roughly $1000 a ticket —-many in attendance at the “big game” are representing their business—-people of means—or celebrities.
This year, I’m happy to say there was one “working man” who not only attended the game; but in spectacular fashion.
My husband, David, I’m proud to say, is a courier for FedEx…and a great one at that. He works hard; is very conscientious; and rarely complains. He’s also a big sports fan. So when his brother, Mark, the CEO for Wheaton Van Lines (one of those corporate types)—-one of the many contributors to Indy’s bid for the Super Bowl—-offered him a chance to go to the game, he couldn’t pass it up.
David and Mark sat in the Quarterback Suite at Lucas Oil Stadium—with an unbelieveable view of the field—along with about 200 other people. Among the guests, basketball giant Shaquille O’Neal. Not bad company.
It wasn’t just the game—or the halftime show. Mark also received tickets to events all week; (i,.e. NFL Experience, Media Party), free parking, jackets sporting the Super Bowl logo (although someone walked off with David’s); seat cushions; and a luncheon at the Columbia Club before the game as part of the company “perk package”. And he was generous with all.
Since I couldn’t be with him, I requested (many times) that my better half send me pictures of his adventure. Below are some of the snapshots of a once in a lifetime opportunity for a man who would never ask for anything–but deserves everything.
I like to meet famous people as much as the next guy. But I can’t say I’ve ever been one to “seek them out”.
With the Super Bowl in town, however, I must say I’ve been keeping an eye out–looking over my shoulder–for “celebrity sightings”. In a few cases, the search came easy. Actually, they came as assignments.
“Today” gave me some of the best access.
The “Today” show brought some of its morning team to Indianapolis—broadcasting from the Super Bowl Village Friday and Saturday mornings.
Saturday, during our Sunrise show, I hung out at the “Today” show set–right at Capitol Avenue and Georgia Street outside the NFL Experience.
In true Hoosier fashion, there was a good size crowd ready to welcome both shows–some standing in a cold rain as early as 4:30am–and as friendly as we’ve come to expect. And it was that “friendliness” that most impressed Today show anchor and correspondent Jenna Wolfe.
I watched throughout her broadcast, as she genuinely gushed about “Hoosier Hospitality”–and how helpful and friendly folks here have been to her. After meeting her, I must say, the feeling is mutual.
You never know what to expect between the person you see on t-v and the one you meet in person. Will they be as nice? Do they have an ego? In my short talk with her, I’d have to answer “yes” and “no”.
Even before I interviewed her live on our air for our special Super Sunrise show, Jenna was gracious, and fun to talk with. It was as if I was talking with someone I’d known for a while. I felt immediately comfortable.
Her crew just as accommodating–offering coffee and a warm place to wait in between our live segments.
She had fun with the crowd, too. While she did go inside the Pan Am plaza building to warm up from time to time–she also took time to take photos with fans, sign autographs and just have fun with the crowd of Hoosiers who’d waited all morning to see her.
Another celebrity bowled over by our Hoosier charm, Adam Levine. “The Voice” coach and Maroon-5 front man was in town to entertain, but also to promote the new season of “the Voice” which airs right after the Super Bowl.
It was for that reason I was given a few minutes to interview him.
Full disclosure, while I’d heard the name, I wasn’t familiar with “who” Adam Levine is. I have young children, so what little t-v we do watch is usually something on PBS or Sprout or the latest Disney film. And I must admit, I’m not up to speed on current music either. It wasn’t until “after” my interview, really, that I found I was the envy of women everywhere.
Headed into the interview, one of Adam’s (for practical purposes we’ll say I’m on a first name basis) press people sent an email to media warning us because he’s been putting in long hours, and he’s tired , that he might be, let’s just say “irritable”. So just be prepared for that. Got it. Expect worst (pop star divo) hope for best (nice guy). I got the best of Adam Levine.
The interview was set up inside the IMS production studios in Speedway. There were media from Houston and Cincinnati there as well. We each had about 5 minutes with the musician/tv star.
In these scenarios it works like this: the interviewee (Adam Levine in this case) is set up to do a series of interviews with various media outlets. Most of them are done via satellite–meaning he stands there with a backdrop, listens through an earpiece to an anchor/reporter who’s set up in their own studio, and talks to the camera. He’d been doing this about 3 hours when we showed up. (you can imagine that might make one a little cranky)
From the moment we showed up, his media liasion was welcoming. And once we entered the room with Adam, not a trace of ego or irritability to be found.
I actually did my interview live for our Noon show. Yes, I was nervous. But it was short-lived. And yes, he was promoting a show–so you might say he “has” to be nice. Maybe to a point. But I judge these situations based on how a celebrity acts “off” camera. And in between interviews, Adam was funny, cracking jokes, and just having a the kind of conversation with anyone– you would have with friends or co-workers.
Plus, I was able to sit in the “chair”–a prop like the ones they use on “The Voice” (I haven’t watched the show, but I’ve seen the promos).
While I didn’t get to meet her, I was one of the bazillion reporters/photographers on hand to see Madonna.
Sitting in the front row, on the floor, I had a good view–and I must say she looked fantastic.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with her either–it could go any way with Madonna–but by appearances, she seemed down to earth, and more than accommodating to a litany of ridiculous questions thrown her way.
Plus she mentioned her kids would visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis—so giving them a plug before a worldwide audience made her ok in my book.
With so many high profile people in town for the Super Bowl, who knows who’ll I’ll meet next? It’s part of what makes this job fun.
All week I’ve been part of the WTHR (Super Bowl Station) team covering all things Super Bowl.
It’s been great, but when you’re working, you don’t have the time to really stop and take in all the excitement. So last night, my husband and I did just that.
I put down my microphone, and reporter’s notebook and just enjoyed downtown Indy for a couple of hours. Trying to soak in what visitors to the city might; viewing the Super Bowl host as they might.
We parked in a lot on South Street for $30. Yes, expensive. But it was close and well-lit and served our purposes. We walked up Meridian Street to Georgia, right in the heart of Super Bowl Village. Along the way passing several street performers–which I think only adds to the ambiance.
The streets were packed. I’m not much for large crowds–I get claustrophobic if it gets to bad–but this crowd seemed manageable.
I’ll admit our first mission to grab a cold beverage. We made our way to the Huddle for that. (It’s the three floors of the area in the Circle Centre Mall that used to be Nordstrom). Other than to get warm, not a whole lot to see in the Huddle. The first floor, there are bars (our thirst quenched!) The 2nd floor is all souvenirs and Super Bowl gear–and nothing to see on the third floor.
We ventured out once again where we noticed a huge crowd outside St Elmo (the popular steak house with the shrimp cocktail that will clear you sinuses!). There were t-v cameras and people huddled. We found out they were waiting for celebrities. No one in particular, just anyone in general. I suppose it’s as good a place as any to wait. But we didn’t linger long.
On the way back, my husband did run into one of his favorite sports talk radio hosts. Mike Greenberg of “Mike and Mike in the Morning”. So as any good tourist would do, we stopped for a photo. (This was the highlight of his night–so well worth it!)
We went to Monument Circle to see the giant Roman numerals. We checked out the zipline. We stopped by Pan Am Plaza where the ESPN stage is set up.
Basically we just walked. And it seems so did thousands of others who were downtown that night.
I wondered if between the parking, the pricey beer and paying the babysitter it was worth it. But like most people excited for the Super bowl, it was a chance to get right in the middle of it–and for me–to see it from the eyes of those who aren’t covering it from every angle.
Indeed, we had a “super” time.
While “celebrity watch” is at fever pitch the last days leading to the Super Bowl…there are some great opportunities to see some of your favorites–and avoid the crowds at the same time!
The NBC “Today Show” is broadcasting live from Indianapolis starting Friday. “Today at the Superbowl” kicks-off with Ann Curry and Al Roker broadcasting live from the Super Bowl Village at Pan Am Center at 7 a.m. (My sources tell me Al Roker is already in town doing some prep work.)
Today show promoters say during the show, Adam Levine and Gym Class Heroes will perform a special live concert,
Jimmy Fallon will stop by, and Ann and Al will get a preview of the halftime show featuring Madonna .
And you’re invited to watch it all in person! Just head to the corner of West Georgia Street and South Capitol Avenue–just outside the entrance to the NFL Experience.
On Saturday, Jenna Wolfe will co-host a special Saturday edition of “Today, live from the same location. Crowds are again encouraged to watch the broadcast, which starts at 7 a.m.
On Super Bowl Sunday Ann Curry, Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie will broadcast live from Lucas Oil Stadium. (That’s not one you’ll be able to stop by to see–but you can check it out on Channel 13!)
The festivities in Indy will continue through Monday, February 6th, as Al recaps the big game from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Monument Circle. That’s one you can watch in person.
While the Today Show starts at 7am–the WTHR Sunrise team is live just ahead of that! Why not get there early and say ‘hi” to Julia Moffitt and Chuck Lofton who continue to take the show live from Super Bowl Village –again, Georgia and Capitol.
You may even run into Jeremy Brilliant who’s roaming the Village and reporting on all things Super Bowl.
Sunrise starts at 4:30a. The Today Show at 7am. Bring some coffee (and a camera!) and spend an entertaining morning with your favorite news teams! Who knows, you might even make it on t-v!
You know the saying, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”? At the risk of betraying “the code”, there is just too much to share about last night’s Media Party to keep it to myself.
Each year the Super Bowl host city puts on a shindig for all the visiting and local media; as well as “contributors”–those individuals and businesses who generously provided finanical support.
Last night, I was lucky enough to go to Indy’s version.
The backdrop couldn’t have been better–what says Indy more than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
One of the highlights was the glass used to serve beer. It was made completely out of ice. And you were given a glove to hold it. (I’ll admit I couldn’t drink mind fast enough before the glass melted–but it was a great novelty and conversation starter!)
The party continued in the Pagoda where each floor served something different. On the 4th floor, whisky and cigars. On the the 5th floor, burgers and beer. But the best part, was the open access to so many things “racing”.
Visitors could get their photo taken kissing the yard of bricks. The Super cars were lined up–another photo op. I saw some visitors on the winner’s stand. The Borg-Warner and Lombardi trophies both available for photos as well.
And what party would be complete without dropping a few names? Some of the “names” seen mingling: former IMS honcho Tony George; Speaker of the Indiana House Brian Bosma;
IMS CEO John Belsksus; Driver Ed Carpenter; comedian Mike Epps.
All in all, it was a wonderful night. And for those of us who’ve been putting in long hours, a chance to take a breath, have a few laughs, and just relax.
Now, back to our Super coverage.
Media Day often has a “wild” reputation. It’s because the frenzy of reporters, photographers, media types of all kinds is at fever pitch. And also because it often attracts some unusual characters (a reporter dressed as Batman’s sidekick for one).
Since I’ve never covered a Super Bowl Media Day, how could I resist?
I found the process of getting in to Lucas Oil Stadium almost as interesting as the event itself.
Yes, I am a credential-holding member of the media. But that doesn’t afford cart-blanche access.
We’re talking about two powerhouse Super Bowl teams–inside the Super Bowl stadium–which for the remainder of this week is the “property” of the NFL. You better believe there’s security! Even for–maybe even “especially” for –the media.
WTHR photographer Greg Wilkerson and I were directed down an alley just west of the stadium into a large white tent. For me, the security process was pretty easy. A pat down, pockets emptied, through a metal detector, then a scan of my credential (much like they scan tickets to a concert) and I’m good.
For Greg, however, not so fast. He’s carrying the gear–a t-v grade camera, and wireless microphone. Once past the metal detector, he’s directed to a corner of the room, along with a dozen or so other videographers, to watch as a bomb-sniffing dog checks out their gear.
He moves on to another part of the room–where he’s assigned a radio frequency for his wireless mike. Then to yet another station where that frequency is checked.
It’s a process that takes about 15 minutes. And will have to be repeated each time we enter Lucas Oil Stadium this week.
I’m not complaining. The security staff was extremely friendly and helpful. And it keeps us all feeling protected. I find the whole process fascinating.
By the time we made it inside, the interviews had already started. The Patriots first–the key players and the head coach each on their own “stage” (think lemonade stand on a grander scale) about 10 yards apart. The bigger the name, the bigger the crowd of media surrounding them. QB Tom Brady attracted the biggest crowd, as you might guess. (Eli Manning held his own for the Giants too!)
Fans were seated in the lower level on one side of the stadium. Each provided with headsets to listen to the interviews. Media–or those credentialed to be there–were the only ones allowed on the field where the interviews were taking place.
As I said, I was expecting “wild”–so was a little surprised at how quiet it was inside that stadium. Except for the occasional eruption of applause or cheers by the fans, I felt talking too far above a whisper might draw unwanted attention.
And I really didn’t see as many “characters” as I expected. (Although I did see Batman’s sidekick–a “reporter” from Nickelodeon; and someone dressed in a pirate hat. I’m sure there were others.)
Still, I found myself in a perfect place to “people watch”. Occasionally I would hear a reporter from another country–speaking in his native language. Watching as photographers position themselves for that perfect shot.
I ran into some old friends who I worked with years ago; and tried to spy those whose work I’ve admired and aspired to.
And yes, I managed to see a football player or two.
All in all a fantastic experience. While not one I would describe as “wild”–I felt priveledged to have a front-row seat.
It is safe to say Indianapolis is making its own “sports history” as it hosts what’s considered the premiere sporting event, the Super Bowl.
And who doesn’t want to capture the moment? All over the city are “photo ops”…great places to get that perfect picture to remember this week for years to come.
WTHR (your Super Bowl station) is happy to offer our own as well.
Wnen you enter the NFL Experience from Capitol Avenue –just past the giant headless football mannequins—and you’re first entrance on the left—look to the back and you’ll see the giant 13 logo.
That’s where you can get your picture taken with the Lombardi Trophy! Ok, it’s a backdrop, not the real thing—but who’s going to know in a photo? (And it beats waiting for hours to get your picture taken with the “real” thing) Plus, its FREE!
We have a photographer shoot the photo which you can download from our WTHR Facebook page. (wouldn’t it make a great Christmas card?) Or you can take a pic with your own camera.
While you’re there you can meet some of the WTHR anchors and reporters—get an autograph—or better yet, another photo! (Your Super Bowl photo album is filling up fast!) You can even watch one of our news broadcasts.
Starting tonight, and every night this week, we’ll bring our show to the NFL Experience, and Georgia Street right in the heart of Super Bowl Village (there’s another photo op for you!). Not to mention live reports from various other locations.
We’ll also bring you our Super Special starting at 7:30 this week. And Super Sunrise from 6a-Noon Sunday.
But I digress…
Back to the NFL Experience….make sure you get your free “lip balm” in a cute little Channel 13 holder (a must-have during these windy days).
On a personal note, I want to thank all those who visited with me Sunday at NFLX. Great to see you all and now I have some special moments to remember–soon to fill the pages of my Super Bowl scrapbook.