WHERE HOCKEY AND FOOTBALL COLLIDE
I awoke before dawn and drove the four hours from Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa in anticipation of two events - the Flyers visiting the Lightning tomorrow night and Super Bowl XLIII Sunday between Pittsburgh and Arizona.
I will be pulling double duty over the next couple days trying to split myself in half and cover both events. It's not going to be easy.
The Flyers news of the day is the struggles of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter lately as opponents seems to have slowed the two down in recent games and the Flyers have struggled.
Both shrugged it off as nothing. Both insist they are fine health wise, although Carter has a cut on his right hand from the game in Florida Tuesday and Richards seems to be nursing a sore shoulder.
But since it was a topic of conversation, and since the two are quite competitive, look for them to try and breakout of their "slumps" tomorrow against Tampa.
As for the Super Bowl, what a fiasco this whole experience is.
Maybe it's because I'm a first-timer. Maybe it's because I'm used to the way things are in hockey and this is completely different. Or maybe it's because I'm from a city that doesn't have a team playing in the game, but the city of Tampa is in gridlock with thousands of people descending on it both as fans and as media.
When I arrived at my hotel this morning at 9:30 a.m. I had already missed the Arizona Cardinals media availability.
The NFL blocked off rooms in eight hotels for this event, but my room wasn't going to be ready until lunch time, so I needed to check all my luggage with the concierge and hustle several blocks to the Tampa Convention Center to pick up my credentials.
Although when I got there, I was given a non-game day credential which means I have to go back later this weekend to pick up a game-day credential.
I then hooked it back to the hotel where a shuttle was leaving or Steelers practice, but I missed it.
So I had to get directions to the University of South Florida, where the team was practicing, find my rental car, and drag my already tired bones out there on my own.
New issues arose. Traffic. Security. Parking. And rain.
The one positive is the NFL has about one zillion employees crawling through this town and are able to help with getting information from sessions that might have been missed (Can't wait to read the Bruce Springsteen and Faith Hill quotes about singing at the Super Bowl later today)!
Anyway, now that I have the lay of the land, tomorrow should be a better day. I plan on chatting with Donovan McNabb tomorrow as well as possibly Brian Dawkins, a finalist for NFL Man of the Year.
Then there's NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell's state of the league address, as well as more press conferences from the Cards and Steelers.
Oh yeah... there's a hockey game tomorrow night too.
I think a nap is in order later this afternoon.