SUPER BOWL JOURNAL: Tampa: The Hlog’s Home Away From Home

Life plays strange tricks. For instance, Howie Mandel is rich and famous, and we’re not.

Me, personally, it’s kind of weird that I keep going to Tampa over and over. I really wouldn’t mind mixing in a San Diego or a Seattle or a San Francisco or even a Sault Ste. Marie.

But no, it’s Tampa, Tampa, Tampa.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the place. The weather’s nice, it’s not all that hard to get around there, and it has a real nice pirate ship surrounded by a football stadium.

But variety would be nice, too.  Last March, I covered Drake in the NCAA men’s basketball tourney. Where did the Bulldogs go? Tampa. Which I had already experienced twice in the previous five years covering Outback Bowls.

There were eight possible first- and second-round sites for the NCAAs. I got Tampa. Again, not complaining, but Washington would have been nice, or Denver, or Anaheim. Omaha’s no Paris, but at least I could have driven there.

I was sick with bronchitis that trip, so it didn’t matter where I was.

Then came another Outback Bowl for the Hawkeyes, so I tacked on another week in Tampa in late December/early January. Hey, only an idiot would gripe about going to Florida during an Iowa winter. But why doesn’t the Big Ten spread its bowls around a little more instead of having three in the Orlando/Tampa region?

Now, The Gazette and Gazetteonline.com are sending me to Tampa for another week, this time for all the Super Bowl hoopla and the game itself. Again, no complaints whatsoever about getting a chance to thaw. Plus, as assignments go it’s not too shabby.

But I wish this year’s Super Bowl had been in next year’s site, Miami. Or the 2011 site, Arlington, Texas. Somewhere different.

On the other hand, it could have been in the 2012 Super Bowl location, Indianapolis. It’s not a winter getaway.

I covered a Super Bowl in Minneapolis in 1992. It didn’t exactly break up the winter blahs.

So Tampa is fine, thanks much.

With that drivel out of the way, on to more important stuff. This is your Gazetteonline.com home for Super Bowl updates this week. I know some of you think it will be Kurt Warner morning, noon and night.

True, my primary focus is Cedar Rapids-raised Warner. However, the Super Bowl is a tapestry of ten thousand sideshows. I hope to get knee-deep in at least, well, 2,679 of them.

Keep your distance, Dogg

Keep your distance, Dogg

In addition, I’ll be attending press conferences featuring the likes of Bob Costas, John Madden, Al Michaels, Faith Hill, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen. A Super Bowl site is where the rich and powerful converge to see, be seen, make money, and spend lots of it.

If it’s like the other three Super Bowls I’ve covered, I’ll bump into the big and the bizarre. And you’ll know about it.

Unless Snoop Dogg is involved, that is. He and I have unfinished business that began at my last Super Bowl.

No, it wasn’t a business transaction. I don’t trade in Mr. Dogg’s recreational substance of choice.

But it did involve a Snoop DeVille, an overagressive bodyguard, a tour bus, and my willingness to turn New Orleans’ French Quarter upside down in the name of justice.

Maybe you’d like to know more. If so, keep returning to the Hlog this week.

If not, just read about the football stuff. There will be plenty of that, too.

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2 responses to “SUPER BOWL JOURNAL: Tampa: The Hlog’s Home Away From Home

  1. Two words for you Mike: Derby Lane. Enjoy!

  2. Don’t you need an errand boy?

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