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Covering the Super Bowl

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MoeGreene, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. MoeGreene

    MoeGreene New Member

    So I'm covering the Super Bowl for the first time this year, essentially as a No. 2 to our primary writer. My experience lies in baseball and the NBA, not the NFL. I've done my share of regular-season NFL games over the years, but that's pretty much the extent of it. I'll be up in Indianapolis all week. I imagine it's not quite like covering a typical game, based on the sheer number of reporters (and, let's be honest, non-reporters) on hand. Aside from the chaos of Media Day, how much access do you really have each day? I'm guessing everything is extremely regimented.

    And how does gameday work? Does everyone have field access at the end of the game (it is a deadline game), or do most non-TV types have to wait for the press conferences and locker rooms to open? And is there really adequate press seating for everybody?

    I realize I sound like some noob out of college (I'll grab a beer for everybody), when in fact I've been doing this for far too long. But I'd love to hear some stories from the Super Bowl vets out there. Thanks in advance.
  2. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    No insight for you, but I'll be interested to read along and see how covering the Super Bowl is handled differently than the every day college or prep game. Or even an event like the Final Four.
  3. if you're not the beat guy, it can be fun. access is regimented but you'll have plenty of chances to get the guys you need. Media day at the stadium is tuesday and you'll have an hour with each team. Eli, Cruz, Brady, Gronkowski, the stars will be mobbed all the time but access to everybody else is very good. then wednesday & thursday, every player and asst. coach will be available at the team hotel in the morning. they're sitting at tables or standing behind podiums and you make the rounds of the room. i think friday is just the two coaches. they transcribe a ton of guys each day, so if you miss something, you might find it on the ol' quote sheet table. By the end of the week, if your desk tells you they need 1,200 words on the Giants' secondary and you haven't reported that all week, you'll find enough quotes to hammer it out without a problem.

    People talk about what a nightmare it is and how difficult it is to generate any new and different stories, but that's bullcrap. If you plan your week right, you'll have the opportunity to do really good work and write stories nobody else is doing. that's why this week is important for brainstorming story ideas. You need to get there with an outline of what you want to write.

    Gameday ... no field access. You don't need to or want to be on the field. Beat guys, lead columnists and a handful of sidebar guys from the major papers in the two SB cities -- Boston, NY -- will be in the main box, along with national guys. Everybody else is in an aux box.

    A lot of people hate covering a SB but I enjoy it. You're going to work your ass off, but so what. You do that every day anyway.

    Oh, there are always shuttle buses between all the media hotels and the two team hotels or the stadium, although in Indy -- and this is really a huge plus -- you can walk to the stadium from anywhere. The NFC hotel (downtown marriott) and AFC hotel (university place conference center) and all the media hotels are walkable. That's a huge huge plus this year. Indy's a great walking town. The media center is the JW Marriott. Everything is close together.
  4. MoeGreene

    MoeGreene New Member

    Thanks, GBMAD. Appreciate the insight, and I am looking forward to it. Everyone in the business ought to do it at least once, I suppose. I guess my only concern would be the lack of field access after the game (though I understand, with the horde and all). They spend so much time doing on-field stuff after the game, it'll be tough to get much reaction in before deadline.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It's an experience.

    The first time I went I was like a little kid going to Disney World. By the time I left I felt like I had just gotten back from boot camp.

    I covered one game where my press box seat was so bad that not only could I not see the field, I couldn't see the TV either.

    The international media drove me insane. There are always a ton of them and they almost never ask any question that has anything to do with football. I talked about this on the other thread, but there was one year where there were at least 20 Japanese reporters walking around asking every player about Ichiro, who was just about to start his first season in the majors. That one had me almost looking for a gun.

    The entertainment reporters there can be a pain as well, but sometimes they help keep things light, which can be a good thing, especially if you have to look for notebook fodder.

    I've been to quite a few and they all pretty much blur together.

    Craziest sports exchange I saw was the infamous Stuart Scott-Ray Lewis deal in Tampa.

    I remember someone asking Shannon Sharpe if he got all of the personality in his family. That was a pretty funny one.

    A few of the games I covered are considered among the greatest Super Bowls of all-time and I remember next to nothing about any of the games.
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Come up with a story budget ahead of time and executed it, and do it for the most part without regard to what other people are writing. There are obvious exceptions for news. But on the whole you'll do a lot better grabbing info here and there throughout the week for the ideas you have. There's always a tendency to see a feature in a competing publication and think "hey! that's great! let's do this!" and jump on that topic, but most times you just end up with a watered-down version of the same thing, with interviews from a player who isn't nearly as interested in talking about that subject than he was for the original story.

    Also, I'm not sure if that Rams PR guy is still the kingmaker when it comes to tickets for the commissioner's party, but that is worth jumping through a hoop or two to get one.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    LTL, IMO the parties the organizing committees hold for the media in mid-week are more enjoyable than the Commissioner's party, which is just too damn big to be fun, but if someone has been to one, they should try to go. It's like the Niagara Falls of free food and drink. Once is good, and also plenty.
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    PS: LTL is absolutely right about the budget. Going to a Super Bowl without a detailed plan of what you want to cover the week before the game would be a big mistake leading to three times as much work and three million times as much stress.
  9. BlackBerry

    BlackBerry New Member

    I know media day is ridiculous. I'm going to be there talking to some local guys from our area.

    Is it easy to talk to the "non-star players?"
  10. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Gosh, yes. They usually walk around taking pictures of the media and their teammates for laughs.
  11. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Shoot, someone better do a story on the idiots that buy tickets to attend "Media Day."
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