By Josh Katzowitz
Marisa Miller is your dream girl. She’s beautiful – a supermodel who’s been a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl and a Victoria’s Secret angel – and she’s funny and sweet, and when she laughs and touches your arm, it makes you want to put on the pads and go out looking to smash James Harrison.
Plus, she’s a huge football fan. She’s been making the rounds at the Super Bowl this week for Captain Morgan’s First Mate Fund, and for every pose collected this week, Captain Morgan will donate $1 to help retired NFL players. We caught up with her late Friday afternoon, as publicists and her boyfriend buzzed around, and we talked about her favorite team, what sports meant to her growing up and how tough she thinks the Steelers are.
CBSSports.com: Tell me about doing Radio Row.
Marisa Miller: It’s pretty crazy.
CBS: I’m in the Media Center and trying to go out through Radio Row, and I’m tripping over The Situation, and it’s a crazy thing out there. I guess you’re constantly being moved here and there.
MM: I am.
CBS: What’s the experience like?
MM: Honestly, it’s actually kind of nice having everybody in the same room. It does give you the freedom to go to the next person, and there’s the energy of the room. It’s fun doing radio. I really like it.
CBS: More so then video or TV?
MM: It’s a different vibe doing radio. Obviously, it’s just your voice. It’s all about the conversation. It’s fun to talk football. I grew up watching football, since I was about 9 or 10 years old in NorCal. I was a big 49ers fans. That’s something my dad and I did growing up. That was like our bonding time. And this is my sixth Super Bowl.
CBS: None with the 49ers, though.
MM: [makes a sad face] No.
CBS: How did your dad get you into the game?
MM: I’m really close with my dad, and I was always really athletic, so naturally, I gravitated toward sports. I always wanted to hang out with my dad. I played volleyball and basketball in high school. I was just very active. I think football is such a great spectator sport. It’s so intense. It’s such a big part of my family’s social life on the weekend. On Sunday, everybody comes over, I cook a big meal, we scream at the TV. It’s really important to have that healthy competition in your life. I was a pretty shy, sensitive girl growing up. When I started playing sports, it gave me that support system in junior high and high school. That’s a really hard time in anybody’s life. It was nice to have that support.
CBS: The 49ers must have been good when you were growing up. Was that the era of Montana and Rice?
MM: Yep, one of my most vivid memories was watching Super Bowl XXIII with Cincinnati and the 49ers. It was the first time I was watching a game in a public space and not just with my family.
We went to our favorite family restaurant, and they have an upstairs restaurant/bar area with the big screen. It was my first time being in a room with other fans, not just my family. It was a really fun environment. I just remember it was 34 seconds left, Montana to Taylor wins the game and adults were on tables and jumping up and down. I thought it was the funniest thing, because I thought, ‘Wow, these adults can act like kids.’ It was like your license to go crazy and cheer for your team.
It was funny because after that Super Bowl, I was walking through the mall with my friend in San Jose and I passed by Jerry Rice, my childhood hero. I turn around and I had to stop him. I knew exactly who he was. I think he tripped out a little bit, because I was like 11 and he’s like, “How does she know who I am?” He was so gracious. I tore off a piece of my shopping bag, and he signed it. You always hope your childhood hero is as cool as you think they are. He really was.
CBS: What do you think about Jim Harbaugh?
MM: We need something (laugh). We need change. We have a lot of talent on the team. It’s always about working the dynamics, having the right leadership and having it come together. This is going to be a fresh start. I think it’s going to come together.
CBS: They still need a quarterback, though.
CBS: I don’t think anybody on the team is that guy.
MM: Yeah, we’ll see if anybody on the team steps up. But definitely. Now that we have the coach, it’d be nice to see someone … hey, they passed on Aaron Rodgers. Man, my dad and I talk about that all the time. I don’t think we’re ever going to let that one go.
CBS: Give me your prediction for the Super Bowl. I know you’re buddies with Aaron Rodgers, so don’t let that be a bias.
MM: The great thing about this Super Bowl is that we have two teams that have so much history in the NFL. Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowls than anybody, and they obviously have the experience on their side. They’re tough as s---. But having said that, there’s something about Green Bay that I really like, and they’ve had to win some tough games to get here. And they got some momentum. I don’t know. I really think they’re going to do well.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.