Thursday, Jan. 30
Today 30°, winds 6 mph, chance of snow 0%
Super Bowl 6:20 p.m. Sunday: 44°, winds 7 mph, chance of snow 10%
What’s Happening Today
9:30 a.m. FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Super Bowl Host Committee members ring the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange, along with Broncos and Seahawks owners and executives.
7 p.m.: HARLEM — The “Let the Music Say Amen” gospel event at the iconic Apollo Theater will feature a salute to New York sports teams.
8 p.m.: MIDTOWN — The Cavaliers take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. A contingent of Seahawks saw the Nets play on Monday; will the Broncos show up to see former Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony?
11 p.m.: MIDTOWN — The VH1 Super Bowl Blitz concert at the Beacon Theater, featuring TLC.
Late night: ON THE HUDSON — The Bud Light Hotel, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,028-passenger Getaway ship, kicks off four nights of parties with performances by The Roots, Run DMC and Busta Rhymes.
About Last Night
It’s a little dusty inside the Joseph Urban Theater at the Hearst Tower on 57th Street. An hour-long film is premiering—“Football America: Our Stories”—and most of the 100 or so guests of the NFL’s private gathering are tearing up.
NFL Films supervising producer Keith Cossrow introduced the film with an explanation of why the NFL embarked on this project. “America is engaged in an important conversation about football, about its place in our culture and about its future,” he says. “We thought maybe we could add something to the conversation.”
Not change the conversation, Cossrow emphasizes later—just add a reminder of why America loves football. Thus the “Together We Make Football” commercials this fall, the 5,000 entries from fans sharing their personal stories, the 10 finalists viewers voted among, and the five winners here who won trips to Super Bowl XLVIII. The film, airing Super Bowl Sunday on FOX at 1 p.m., shares the project’s most inspiring stories.
One of the winners is Lee Krost, a 75-year-old man from Norwalk, Conn., who is still lighting up a local flag football league. After the screening of the film, during a panel discussion, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell notes Krost’s story to retiring tight end Tony Gonzalez.
“See, Tony, he’s still playing,” Goodell says.
Gonzalez points at Krost. “You’re making me look bad,” Gonzalez says. “Let’s go play one more year.” He’s kidding. We think.
Marshawn Lynch made it clear at Media Day: He’s ‘just ’bout that action, boss.’ Wednesday’s player availability brought about another opportunity for the Seahawks running back to show his disdain for the interview process. A few highlights from the transcript:
(on what Beast Mode means to him) “It’s just a lifestyle, boss.”
(on what he thinks of the media attention) “I really don’t have too much to say, boss. I really don’t. I appreciate it, but I don’t get it. I’m just here so I won’t get fined, boss. That’s the only reason I’m here.”
(on playing in his first Super Bowl) “I’m just taking it all in, boss.”
The One-Question Interview
A recent ESPN survey of 320 NFL players found that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was the peer they would most like to see in a Super Bowl who hasn’t been there yet. The Snaffler chatted with Peterson earlier this week about goals, expectations and playing in the big game.
THE SNAFFLER: What is it like for you during Super Bowl week to be sidelined as so many players get their first chance to play in the big game?
PETERSON: It’s tough. It’s definitely tough, especially in my case to see guys that I played with—even a guy who was on my team last year (Percy Harvin)—now playing in the Super Bowl. Guys that you know, coaches that you know, they get a taste of what it’s like. I’m happy for them, but I do feel like my clock is ticking. It’s always ticking, I just have to take advantage of the opportunities I can.
Sights and Sounds
Broadway in Midtown Manhattan has never been shut down for more than 12 hours—until now. “Super Bowl Boulevard” debuted Wednesday. The street fair—full of promotional giveaways, NFL-themed experiences and, yes, an eight-lane toboggan slide—will occupy a 13-block stretch on Broadway for four days. The Snaffler strolled down Super Bowl Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon. This is what was there:
34th Street … In the pavement outside Macy’s, in the heart of Herald Square, ESPN has staged a set for its live studio shows. Five rows of fans jostle for position; they can only see the backs of the commentator’s heads.
36th Street … Caroline Rhea shrieks. The actress, perhaps best known for her role as Aunt Hilda in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” is steering the wheel in a virtual car racing game in the X-Box tent. She crashes as she rounds a sharp corner. “Man, this game is so hard,” Rhea told The Snaffler. “But Super Bowl week is fun!”
37th Street … Rhea walks out of the tent, trailed by a camera crew. “Oh my gosh!” a teenage girl yells from a street corner. “Aunt Hilda! My name is Sabrina. Can I please get a picture?” Rhea, wearing a feathery pink boa, laughs. “Sure!” she says, crossing the street. They pose for a selfie. (Rhea makes a pouty face.)
38th Street … The waft of melted mozzarella washes over as you cross over 37th. Two grease-stained paper plates tumble by. The source: a metal truck serving free Papa John’s.
39th Street … A middle-aged man wearing a backpack that looks something like a jetpack approaches and asks, “Free coffee?” He extends a paper cup stamped with McDonald’s famed golden arches. The Snaffler followed the McDonald’s man for a block. Of the 11 pedestrians he offered coffee to, 10 said no.
40th Street … The amusement park-length line snakes around and around for one of Super Bowl Boulevard’s biggest attractions: the NFL autograph stage. At this hour, Chicago’s Matt Forte signs for fans. A heat lamp hovers over Forte’s desk on this 24-degree day. The running back doesn’t wear gloves; he keeps blowing on his hands to keep them warm.
41st Street … A row of photographers—many wielding smartphones—stand at the foot of the seven-story toboggan run. White confetti swirls from a snow machine parked on the corner. Fans hoot and wave their hands as they coast down the slide, which glistens under the sun.
43rd Street … In the middle of the street is a pop-up museum with metal stairs, large glass windows and a long line inside. Worth the wait. Inside is the Lombardi Trophy, available for photos.
44th Street … Free agent linebacker Leon Williams, dressed in a long tan pea coat and gray tweed pants, films a segment for Fuse TV. Williams, a Brooklyn native, pauses after a take when he spots a man wearing a vintage Lawrence Taylor jersey. “That’s a great jersey!” Williams says. “I really like that jersey.”
46th Street … A man sporting blue-and-green face paint holds a sign that reads, “Give Me Your Best Sherman Impression.” The Snaffler spent five minutes with the fan, who hails from Tacoma. Only three people dared to impersonate the Seahawks cornerback. A seven-year-old boy named Michael recited Sherman’s NFC championship post-game speech, nearly verbatim.
Here are five NFL stories you’ll be taking about today:
1. The Sex Trafficking Super Bowl Myth (By Susan Elizabeth Shepard, Sports On Earth)
The writer examines whether the Super Bowl’s status as a human-trafficking nexus is an urban legend.
2. Super Bowl XLVIII Bets (By Seth Kaufman, New Yorker)
The august magazine offers examples of non-traditional Super Bowl prop bets such as the odds someone you dislike at work getting a winning square.
3. Super duped: Cracking down on counterfeit fan gear (By Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
A record $17.2 million worth of fake NFL merchandise was seized in the months before last year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.
4. The Price For Super Bowl Volunteers (By Tom Pedulla, New York Times)
The N.F.L. opts to hire temporary paid workers for Super Bowl positions in which volunteers had typically been used
5. Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, dish on chemistry on television (By Richard Deitsch, Sports Illustrated)
The longtime Fox NFL Sunday staffers discuss 20 years of friendship, divorces, and waking up daily with pain.