Tag:Super Bowl XLV
Posted on: February 5, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 6:15 pm

Super Bowl Scene: Saturday (Playboy party recap)

Posted by Andy Benoit
Snoop Dogg (US Presswire)
DALLAS -- It feels like the last day of exams in college here at Super Bowl headquarters. Most people have their work done and are not around. The few who are here are working intently on final projects. Crews are taking down the stages and cleaning up all around Radio Row. Every hour or so a fire alarm goes off (presumably because equipment is being hauled out through backdoors). The athletes have been scarce, as well (it’s mid-afternoon and I’ve only seen Michael Irvin and Kurt Warner outside the Sheraton today).

There’s also a subtle aura of fatigue floating around. Virtually everyone in Dallas was at a Super Bowl party until the wee hours last night. There was the Commissioner’s party, the ESPN party, the Sports Illustrated party, the GQ party and the Playboy party, to name a few. Those of you who follow @CBSSportsNFL on Twitter or read Friday’s Super Bowl Scene late edition (which, by the way, has a picture of a perfect Troy Polamalu Jr. that’s worth checking out) knows that Sir Will Brinson and I attended the Playboy party.

How was it? In a word, agonizing. In another word, amazing. We began the night as part of the red carpet media, which meant our role was to stand around and wait to have quick, flimsy conversations with famous people before they walk in.  It’s something neither Will nor I had ever done. Fortunately, one of the four Playboy PR reps would come by and whisper the name of the celebrity if need be. (Or, they’d come by and have us whisper to them the name of the athlete who was coming by.)

There was A LOT of standing and waiting involved. This was especially brutal because the entrance was in an enclosed tent that contained just one heater. The temperature inside the tent was in the mid-40s. The festivities began at 9:00; the celebrities started trickling in at 10:15. At 10:30, sensing that it could be hours before the event gained significant action, Will and I decided that if no one showed up by 10:35, we’d bolt. At around 10:32, Darrelle Revis came in. Not long after him was Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.

Will and I decided again at 10:55 that if no celebrities showed up by 11, we’d once again bolt. At 10:58 or so, Jeremy Maclin (see video), Josh Freeman and Brandon Lloyd came through.

Eventually, we got picky and decided that if the next celebrity was not an A-lister, we’d depart. When Maria Menounos showed up, Will declared her A-list caliber on the basis that she tends to draw a lot of internet traffic. (Wonder why that is.) B. Sanders (US Presswire)

Even though much of the night involved standing in the freezing cold and waiting around, time actually flew by. It helped that Sports Illustrated media guru Richard Deitsch was with us. Discussing the sports media industry is something most in the sports media LOVE to do (Will and I especially).

As we neared midnight, Will and I gave in and just committed to waiting for Snoop Dogg’s arrival (the logic was, “hell, it’s already late anyway”). Many of the expected guests on Playboy’s list were no-shows (which was fine because plenty of big names who were not on the list showed up). By that point we had already encountered Landon Donovan, Craig Robinson (Daryl from The Office), Knowshon Moreno (Broncos), Flo Rida (rapper), Barry Sanders, the White House Crashers, Paul Scheer (TV Show The Leage), Vince Neil (Motley Crue…he was wasted out of his mind, by the way), Lawyer Milloy (Seahawks), Marcus Allen, Jared Fogle (Subway), Ryan Kwanten (actor), Phil Hellmuth (gambler), James Laurinaitis (Rams), Kyle Busch, Ryan Cabrera (rock star), Aubrey O’Day (singer/dancer/actress…i.e. hot girl), Hunter Parrish (actor), Dave Annable (Brothers and Sisters) and Sarah Ramos (actress). And maybe more.

Snoop was guaranteed to show because, as the headline entertainment, he was a big reason 2,500 people shelled out $1,000 to be there. (Plus, his dad, Papa Snoop had arrived earlier.)

Shockingly, Snoop Dogg is not the most punctual guy. He was expected at midnight. At 12:30 someone from his crew called to say that they were five minutes out. At 1:06, he arrived.

Will and I have seen and spoken with loads of celebrities this week. Either fortunately or unfortunately, you become somewhat immune to the excitement of it all. But admittedly, a conversation with Snoop was something we both craved and loved. After some photo ops he strolled over to us smelling exactly how you’d expect him to smell. We asked the standard red carpet questions (the simple, soft-hitting stuff is more appropriate and effective for events like these). The quality of Snoop’s answers was very solid – probably better than everyone save for Brandon Lloyd (by far the most engaging and entertaining star on the night), gambler Phil Hellmuth and maybe Lawyer Milloy.

From there we went into the party and watched Snoop tear down the house. The behavior of the patrons was what’d you’d expect at a Playboy gathering (we’ll leave it at that). Plenty of A-list sports media faces were there having a good time (again, we’ll leave it at that). And a handful of players –including Steelers left tackle Max Starks, who, remember, is on IR – were reveling in it all.

By the time it ended and we got back to the Media Center, it was 2:00 a.m. Poor Josh Katzowitz was sitting in the empty media workroom waiting for us. We had told him we’d be back no later than 9:30.

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 3:31 pm

Looks like the Packers could be without Walden

Posted by Andy Benoit

DALLAS -- It’s only fitting that one last injury would ding Green Bay’s linebacking corps before the Super Bowl. It looks like the Packers could be without starting right outside linebacker Erik Walden. The third-year pro did not participate in the team’s walkthrough practice Saturday. Walden admitted earlier in the week that he has a high ankle sprain. That’s often a three-week injury.

“Erik’s going to have to show us something before the game,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “Obviously we’re going over early, 2 o’clock, so we’ll have a decision right there at the deadline.”

If Walden, who had three sacks over Green Bay’s final four games, does not play, undrafted role player Frank Zombo would get the start. The reason Zombo and Walden got their chances in the first place was because the Packers lost Brad Jones, Brandon Chillar and Brady Poppinga earlier in the year.

[More Super Bowl coverage]

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 2:00 pm

Josh Freeman makes a great point about Steelers

Posted by Andy Benoit

DALLAS -- Had a chance to chat with Josh Freeman on Friday (he was making the media rounds as part of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute lab that is stationed upstairs from radio row). The conversation centered largely around the lessons he’s learned in his first two years in the NFL. Freeman said that facing more frequent and complex A-gap blitzes was the toughest on-field tactic that he had to learn.

The Steelers just so happen to be one of, if not THE, best fire-X blitzing team in football (fire X is an A-gap blitz in which the inside linebackers crisscross on their way to the quarterback). Freeman offered one of the shrewdest yet simplest observations that has been made this week in Dallas: the Steelers front seven is extra difficult to figure out because the linebackers mix their 90s and 50s jersey numbers.

Normally, defensive linemen are the ones who wear numbers in the 90s. But Steelers outside linebacker James Harrisons is No. 92. And inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is No. 94. (The other starters, James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley, are 51 and 56.)

Obviously, it’s easy to tell the difference between all four Steelers linebackers. But when you’re on the field and have a million things going on, it’s a little harder. If your first point of reference is normally a jersey number, and linebackers wearing numbers in the 90s are roving around, those linebackers are going to blend in for a split second. Split seconds are a significant chunk of time in football.

If a media type or outside observer had made this point about jersey numbers, it probably wouldn’t be worth a second thought. Jersey numbers? Really? But when a quarterback who has faced the Steelers brings it up on his own, there’s something to it.

[More Super Bowl coverage]

CBSSports.com's Jason Horowitz also caught up with Freeman:

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 3:02 am
Edited on: February 5, 2011 8:11 pm

Super Bowl Scene: Friday night

Posted by Andy Benoit
Reebok (US Presswire)
DALLAS -- A quiet morning at the Super Bowl media center turned into spirited afternoon thanks to some Hollywood star power. Jersey’s Shore The Situation was back on radio row, but he was barely noticed next to the mobs that gathered around Jaime Fox, Adam Sandler and Hugh Jackman. (Fox was on Sirius Radio with Sugar Ray Leonard.)

The biggest crowd gathering around an athlete this week has been for either Jerry Rice or Joe Montana. They’ve attracted maybe 10 gawkers at any given time. The movie stars attracted upwards of 40. Hard to say if they’re just that much more popular than the athletes, or if their notoriety stems from the fact that their presence is less expected here.

Early in the afternoon, Will Brinson and I went across the street to the Reebok Reezig event, which featured the Manning brothers, their father Archie, DeMarcus Ware, Chad Ochocinco, MMA fighter Randy Couture and new Reebok spokeswoman Erin Andrews. The event was a complete promotional ordeal, but still, entertaining.

To attract media buffoons like us over to the building, Reebok had Peyton and Ochocinco run on treadmills that were hooked up to a mechanical bull that Couture was riding. The faster the treadmill went, the harder the mechanical bull mechanically bucked. Couture fell off after a few seconds. But whatever, that wasn’t the point. The point was to get people like us to write about the shoes the athletes were wearing. That’s understandable. (Side note: All of the athletes were in shorts, so we were able to see that Ware has arguably the fiercest calf muscles of anyone alive.)
Wanting to see if the Super Bowl buzz had picked up around town, I ventured out in the late afternoon to the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center. Thousands of fans flocked to the 30,000-square foot facility, and a vast majority of them were more than willing to purchase some of the 200,000 pieces of NFL merchandise they have there. (And 200,000 is an accurate number, according to FOX 11 Sports).

The passion of the fans is remarkable (the NFL’s brand power is off the charts). I saw there what was by far the coolest fan I’ll see all week: Sulaiman Ismail (who, as it turns out, is the nephew of Rocket and Qadry). The young guy is from Pennsylvania; look at his picture and guess who his favorite player is. (Brinson suggested a separate article for this photo with the headline “Honey, I Shrunk Troy Polamalu.)

Riding back from the Convention Center to the Sheraton, a small group was kind enough to invite me to share their cab (cabs are a little hard to come by because the drivers are still on strike this week). When I got in, I was told that I was riding with the “Never Miss a Super Bowl club.” I figured it was a catchy name they had given themselves, but then I realized that in the cab were Don Crisman and Larry Jacobson, the two guys from the VISA commercials. (I admitted to having thought they were actors.) Very friendly bunch.

That’s all for now, but we’ll have more tomorrow: Brinson and I are headed to the Playboy party. (Seriously!) And don’t feel too bad for our buddy Josh Katzowitz for not getting to go; Josh got to visit with swimsuit model Marissa Miller earlier today.

[More Super Bowl coverage]

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 4, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 8:01 pm

Falling ice injures seven at Cowboys Stadium

Posted by Andy Benoit

UPDATE 5:15 p.m. EST: Now Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe is reporting that seven were injured, five drove themselves to the hospital and five were taken via ambulence.  None of of the injuries are life threatening.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. EST: CBS News 11 out of Dallas says only five were injured, one critically. These are likely the five that went to the hospital.


[More Super Bowl coverage]

DALLAS -- The awful weather has led to more serious concerns than simple griping and discomfort. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has confirmed a Dallas Morning News report that seven people have been injured by ice that is sliding off the roof at Cowboys Stadium and crashing to the ground.

Five of the seven injured have been taken to the hospital. The incident happened in the early afternoon on Friday.

"All stadium entrances have been closed except for the truck tunnel, which is away from the building by a very safe distance. All workers and visitors will now enter and exit through the tunnel until further notice," McCarthy said.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 4, 2011 12:12 am

Super Bowl commercials analysis

Posted by Andy Benoit

Every year we hear how roughly half of the 100-plus million Super Bowl viewers are simply in it for the commercials. MSNBC sports business guru Darren Rovell says FOX is projected to make $200 million in Super Bowl game advertisements this year and another $100 million in pregame and postgame ads.

Thirty-second ads cost about $3 million this year. But a company that pays $3 million for a first quarter ad is going to get more bang for its buck than a company that pays $3 million for, say, a third quarter ad. Why? Because people pay attention more in the first quarter.
There isn’t a study behind this – just common sense. At your Super Bowl party this Sunday, watch the room’s reaction to ads. Everyone dials in during the first quarter because, hey, THESE ARE THE SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS! THIS IS A BIG DEAL! WE HAVE TO SEE THIS! But by the third quarter, conversations have started, food and drinks have been consumed and attention spans have waned. People simply don’t pay as close attention.

Watch the behavior of your fellow Super Bowl viewers this Sunday – you’ll see.

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Posted on: February 3, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 12:17 pm

Vick's Super Bowl party will be very secure

Posted by Andy BenoitM. Vick (US Presswire)

UPDATE 12:15 p.m. EST: Tony Dungy has said on the Dan Patrick Show that Vick will NOT be attending the Super Bowl party. Apparently, it was just a rumor. "I think he understands it's something that's not worth it for him," Dungy said.


Last time Michael Vick held a highly publicized party, the night ended in gunshots. Vick admitted that his 30th birthday bash this past summer was a major mistake. This time, he’s taking more precautions.

The “Dallas Dynasty 2011” event, which promises A-listers, is slated to run from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. TMZ has the details of the extensive security measures:

Jeff Skaggs, who is in charge of the venue Deux Lounge, told TMZ that three SWAT team members will be patrolling the area outside.
 Also, Vick is bringing his own security team. And the club is bringing extra members of their own security staff. And guests will be searched and wanded before getting inside. Oh, and – AND – most interesting of all: the NFL is providing security detail.

Normally, you have to be president of a first world country to garner this kind of protection.

[More Super Bowl coverage]

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 3, 2011 11:23 am

Super Bowl officiating crew announced

Posted by Andy Benoit

Congratulations to Walt Anderson. The veteran official has been announced as the referee for Super Bowl XLV.
W. Anderson (US Presswire)
Super Bowl assignments are based on merit. The league chooses the highest rated official among those who have at least five years of experience and have worked a playoff game. This will be Anderson’s second Super Bowl, though first as the top man in charge (he worked Super Bowl XXXV as a lines judge).

The other members of the Super Bowl XLV officiating crew are Chad Brown (umpire), Kent Payne (head linesman), John Hussey (line judge), Doug Rosenbaum (field judge), Mike Weatherford (side judge) and Scott Helverson (back judge). The Super Bowl XLV officiating crew collectively has 77 years of NFL officiating experience and 53 combined playoff game assignments.

It’s worth noting that Super Bowl crews are All-Star teams. In other words, it’s the highest rated official at each position, rather than the highest rated crew altogether. Critics of this formula have argued that All-Star crews are less effective because they have not honed their chemistry and teamwork throughout the season.

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Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com