Road to the Super Bowl: Calm before the storm

Note: This column appears in the 1/10 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 1/11 issue of the Peoria Times

Super Bowl XLII: Now with 100% less Rex Grossman!

Maybe you have heard, but in a mere few weeks, the Super Bowl is coming to Glendale! Yeah, I know, seriously! This is very exciting for me personally, as I have never been in the general location of where a Super Bowl was being hosted. It has always been a dream of mine to watch the game on TV, and say, “Hey, this game isn’t very far from where I am right now!” And it looks like this dream may be fulfilled, as the higher ups at the University of Phoenix Stadium don’t seem to think that two-bit “columnists” who write for the local weekly are worthy of a ticket. Nevertheless, it will be nice to see rabid football fans like Clay Aiken and Amarosa from “The Apprentice” in attendance, while someone who actually writes about the local NFL team sits on his couch. Really, I’m not bitter!

Anyhoo, over the next few weeks, I’m going to try and keep track of how preparation for the Big Game – that is what people call the Super Bowl who aren’t allowed to use the term “Super Bowl” – is progressing, from the scrambling to finish last-minute construction, to the goings on at Westgate, to, of course, the impending matchup. I will also like to explore the local fervor, as I love me some fervor! So far, my favorite aspect of the local sentiment is the increasingly outlandish rumor about how much people are renting their house out for: I heard people in YUMA are renting out their basement for a million dollars an hour!!! That doesn’t make any sense. I also have yet to meet one person who hates football and sunshine enough to go somewhere else for a week so an overweight NFL fan can take over their house and sleep in their bed. No thank you.

It’s also been exciting to watch the beginning stages of Glendale taking the national spotlight. Announcers and sports magazines are using terms like “Road to Glendale,” websites are flooding with requests for “tickets to Glendale,” and Clay Aiken is asking, “Where the heck is Glendale?” It’s all pretty cool, knowing that for at least two weeks, our own city will be the center of the pop culture universe. For crying out loud, Ryan Seacrest will be here!!!

In fact, since we’re now less than a month away from Super Bowl Sunday -- in Glendale! -- I went down to Westgate this past weekend to see how things were moving along thus far, and also to catch a hockey game. The Coyotes are preparing for the Super Bowl by playing their best hockey of the season, and they beat the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout on Saturday night. That was the best hockey game I have ever been to, and, from a competitive standpoint, I hope it was more of an indication of what the Big Game will be like than the Fiesta Bowl from last week, where West Virginia played the role of New England. Westgate itself wasn’t much different than usual, except for the Super Bowl signs, and a general “calm before the storm” atmosphere. I can’t imagine how nuts it’s going to be there in three weeks, but something tells me that the Westgate City Center is not Pacman Jones-proof.

Westgate: Preparing itself to not know what hit it

As far as the potential matchup is concerned, the Wild Card games were this past weekend, which featured wins by the Giants (yeah!), Jaguars, Seahawks, and Chargers. This leaves the most likely potential Super Bowl matchup as “Patriots versus someone from the NFC,” which is exactly what it was before the start of last weekend. Whatever.

No matter what teams make it to Glendale, the point is that they’re coming to Glendale! It’s still kind of hard to believe. Like most things, it probably won’t sink in until Ryan Seacrest gets here. In the meantime, bring on the fervor!