Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: The Super stories you won't read

You have been cheated, dear readers.

Oh, you've seen and heard plenty of stories leading up to today's Super Bowl XLV. You've digested stories about the quarterbacks, stories about the rich history of the Packers and Steelers, stories about dudes with long hair, stories about bushy beards, stories about redemption and big hits and the NFL labor dispute.

But there are many Super Bowl stories you haven't seen. Great ones. Just ask the fine public relations folks who have sent their ideas to me over the past two weeks.

If only I'd been in the Dallas area. On Tuesday, I could have written about American Idol winner Jordin Sparks receiving a key to the city of Arlington. Together, we could have unlocked all the magic that place has to offer. (First stop: the International Bowling Hall of Fame.)

On Wednesday, I could have met "America's Sassiest Lifestyle Guru," a fellow named Steve Kemble, from 2 to 4 p.m. I have no idea what America's Sassiest Lifestyle Guru would say, but I bet it would be sass-ay enough to make you forget all about James Harrison's rant about Roger Goodell's rules.

On Saturday, I could have swung by the "Craziest Fan" contest at Lincoln Square. The stakes were high there; the winner was set to receive two tickets to the game. The promotional materials I got advised fans to "dress like a chicken, paint yourself blue, but don't light body parts on fire, please."

You know what this means, right? It means somebody must have lit himself or herself on fire before. That is a competition I'd want to see. But considering the "Craziest Fan" committee apparently has gone soft, emphasizing such namby-pamby things as "safety" and "survival," perhaps I'd pass this time.

(By the way, the contest winner technically was promised two tickets to "The Big Game," not the "Super Bowl." Obviously, that's the ol' we're-not-an-official-sponsor-so-we-can't-call-it-the-Super-Bowl conundrum.

Just once, though, I'd love to see the impresario of such a contest say: "Congratulations on winning! Here are your tickets to tonight's UT-Arlington-Austin Peay women's volleyball tilt.") So instead of the contest, maybe I could have arranged an interview with a guy named Ty Ahmad-Taylor. He's founder of something called FanFeedr. According to the email I got, Ahmad-Taylor could tell me about digital technology and how it's going to change the way fans interact with sports -- especially the Super Bowl.

"For the first time ever," the e-mail said, "fans have access to the best sports writers in the business. They are no longer dependent on local writers. Now they get to experience the 'rock star' writers of each sports category."

Great! I can imagine how this conversation would go.

Me: "Hey, Ty, thanks for doing this interview. Describe to me how your product will put me in the unemployment line."

Ty: "My pleasure, local writer."

And the parties. Oh, my, the parties. I've been invited to at least a dozen by people I don't even know. One guy (gal?) named Ali wrote "I don't want to spam you but would love to invite you to some events taking place in Dallas this week."

Spam? During Super Bowl week? Naaaaaah.

Alas, the trip to Dallas was not to be. I'll be on the couch along with most of you come kickoff tonight.

It's not a bad place to be, especially when you've nailed the Super Bowl winner against the spread four years in a row -- and feel good about cashing a fifth straight ticket.

Take it from this local writer: Steelers and the 2 12 points.

Weather Journal

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