Well, this is certainly different.
I’m here at the University of Phoenix Stadium, two hours before the NFC championship game between Philadelphia and Arizona kicks off.
I could see it a couple of miles before getting to it, here in Glendale. You can’t miss it. You probably can’t miss it from outer space.
Its exterior “skin” resembles a barrel cactus. That’s plant life unfamiliar to my Cedar Rapids neighborhood. Then again, so are the crazy concepts that have out here that are sunshine and warm weather.
The stadium’s metal panels reflect the shifting desert light. You know, like Kingston Stadium does.
It has a retractable roof, which is nothing new in American stadium architecture. But it has something original in a retractable natural grass field.
When the stadium isn’t in use for football or soccer, the field is rolled out of the stadium on an 18.9-million pound tray, and the turf resides outside to lap up the sunshine and nourishment.
Meanwhile, it’s been snowing in Pittsburgh for the AFC title game there today and the stadium is outside. But I digress.
The scene outside the stadium here is like every other big-event football tailgate. Although, the Budweister Clydesdales were parked outside the stadium at 10 a.m., local time, just hanging out with their driver and his sidekick, a Dalmation.
I met another dog named Sandman as I entered the stadium. Security had Sandman, a handsome white dog, stick its nose in my carry-on bag to sniff for explosives and other naughty stuff.
Sandman found my belongings agreeable, and even let me pet him afterward.
So … check out Gazetteonline.com later tonight for my column on Kurt Warner’s attempt to reach a third Super Bowl, and first one in seven years.