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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Detroit, Day 2
Today there was a press conference about FieldTurf. I'm going to repeat that now, this time in capital letters so you will understand how outrageous this is... TODAY THERE WAS A PRESS CONFERENCE ABOUT FIELDTURF.

Apparently this is the first time a Super Bowl will be played upon this particular kind of fake sod.

Anyway. Never mind that there was A PRESS CONFERENCE ABOUT FIELDTURF. Heck, never mind that about a dozen journalists actually showed up to genuinely cover this thing. The best part was this: When the FieldTurf people were done explaining their plans for a world in which all non-paved surfaces are covered in synthetic grass, a serious looking young man with a notepad actually asked, with a straight-face and seemingly very serious intent: "Before this Super Bowl, what would you say was the greatest moment in the history of Field Turf?"

Then he put his hand to his chin and nodded as the FieldTurf people answered.

That's it. Journalism had a good run, but it's clearly been exhausted. There are no more questions to be asked. Let's tear it up and start over again.

***

Pittsburgh defensive back Troy Polamalu on the violent nature of football: "I don't view football in that way - as a violent, barbaric sport. To me, it's a very spiritual sport, especially for a man and the challenges a man faces within the game of football: the fear of failure, the fear of gaining too big an ego, of making a mistake and everybody criticizing you. I think other than the barbaric nature of the sport, with with whatever you call it, there are a lot of challenges a man faces within the sport."

That's profound. But it's even more profound coming from a man with a ponytail.

***

Shortly after every press scrum, the NFL distributes a transcript (at least in the Nixon government sense) of the conversation with little explanations of the context. My favourite so far:

Assistant Athletic Trainer Ariko Iso
(on being the only female athletic trainer in the NFL) "Yes."

***

At one point I found myself in a scrum, standing uncomfortably close to "journalist" Tom Arnold. Hands down the highlight of my sportswriting career to date.

***

Fearing the long-term effects of a Pepsi-based diet, I just went to a nearby McDonald's and asked for milk with my burgers and fries. Said milk comes in a small plastic bottle emblazoned with a picture of a smiling Ronald McDonald surfing a wave of the beverage. Hands down the highlight of my short-lived career as an adult male.

***

Returned from the gala media party at Detroit's Fox Theatre. In the lobby there were banners bearing the pictures of Super Bowl media legends. I'm not making this up. In fact, I'd like to see this catch on with America's youth. More kids need to be covering the bedroom walls with life-size pictures of Chris Mortensen. Somehow this would make the world a better place.

My second suggestion for improving Western civilization: A new rule. From now on, no sportswriter will be allowed within earshot of any music that might encourage any kind of physical movement that might be considered "dancing." I'm serious. So very serious about this. This needs to be written into the Patriot Act or something.

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