Joe’s Days In IndianapolisFebruary 1st, 2012
OK, Joe’s going to name drop here and just ramble about his three days in Indianapolis around going to the Super Bowl Media Day Tuesday.
Joe’s been to a few Media Days before, including when the Steelers played the Cardinals in Tampa. Even with the chilly — not cold — weather in Indianapolis, Joe will have to give this year’s event two thumbs up. Two BIG thumbs up.
The best thing about this year’s Super Bowl is the location. Yes, you read that right. It’s been roughly 15 years since Joe last visited Indianapolis and man has it changed. You don’t need to go further than three blocks from your hotel and there are many choices of things to do whether it’s restaurants or bars.
Indianapolis seems like what life would be like in 100 years or so on a giant space station that held a colony of people. One can go from hotel to hotel, convention center (the former Hoosier Dome) to hotels, restaurants to shopping and bars, and not once step foot outside.
It seems the entire downtown is connected by a honeycomb of skywalks. It’s really amazing. Joe walked from his hotel, the Hyatt, to the Media Center some five blocks away, and not once stepped outside.
Peter King, in his annual Super Bowl Tweetup, marveled that he hadn’t set foot in a car or van since he was dropped off at his hotel.
The people in Indianapolis are very kind. Hoosier hospitality. The people who worked in the hotels, bars, etc., really put out an effort to make visitors feel at home.
Overall, it was a superb job by the locals. From the kindness to the futuristic construction of the city to having everything so compact, Joe can easily see the Super Bowl coming back to Indianapolis.
This was just the second Super Bowl to be held in the Midwest since 1992 and the locals treated it as a giant civic celebration. They came out in droves. Blueclad Colts fans far, far outnumbered Pats fans or Giants fans on the streets of Indy.
The first night Joe was there, Joe was walking down the sidewalk checking out the scene and who did Joe meet? King, who was very gracious with Joe as King remembered Joe from previous meetings. The next night leaving King’s Tweetup heading back to Joe’s hotel, Joe ran into Pats owner Bob Kraft of all people on the sidewalk, who briefly chatted with Joe (he’s much shorter than Joe had imagined).
In a way, Indianapolis is like New Orleans with all the places to go within an easy walk, sans the slutty, filthy bars and live music. Sort of a family-friendly New Orleans.
(Don’t worry, Joe loves New Orleans.)
On Media Day, Joe was stunned at how many people across the country knew Joe and read his works daily; people came up to Joe out of nowhere saying they are fans of the site. Most of the SiriusXM NFL Radio people knew Joe by name and welcomed him with open arms. Wow.
Tuesday morning, Maggie Gray of SI.com approached Joe and asked, “Aren’t you with JoeBucsFan?” Why, yes, Joe answered. She replied, “You posted that video of Peter King and myself talking about Greg Schiano, didn’t you?” Joe was stunned. It proved Gray is a reader.
Maggie was really cool and asked Joe all sorts of intelligent questions about the sports scene in Tampa Bay and why fans tend not to attend games.
Joe saw Peyton Manning roaming around town a little. The dude doesn’t have followers, he has a court. Wherever he goes there’s a mob following. It’s really amazing.
When Joe last visited Indianapolis, it was a Hoosiers town and Bob Knight was the messiah. No more. For every person Joe saw with Hoosiers gear, Joe saw 50 people wearing Coltsgear. This has really turned into an NFL town and Manning is the deity.
Joe heard time and again all day Tuesday from strangers that knew all about this site. Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio personally thanked Joe for posting his weekly Cosmic Schein video for example. Bob Papa ignored others requesting an interview, and gave Joe time for a few questions, calling Joe by name.
Joe was humbled.
What nearly dropped Joe to his knees was the lovely Tiffany Simons of NBCSports.com. TV does not do justice to her. She is stunning in person. Of all the talent at Media Day, no one outranked Simons, and Joe is serious, not even Maria Menounos.
When Simons asked Joe who he worked for and Joe told her, JoeBucsFan, she did a double-take and asked, “You are always writing about Gregg Rosenthal, aren’t you?”
Joe was so smitten and flummoxed, he forgot to give Simons his business card!
At any rate, Joe got a lot of work done, interviewing tons of media types and ex-players about all things Bucs, and was simply exhausted and sore from all the walking. You will read these interviews in the coming days. Some great insight into the Bucs from those in the know in NFL circles.