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 GLENDALE, Ariz. - Settling into my upper-deck seat at University of Phoenix Stadium, overlooking a corner of the Giants' end zone, I finally get the sense we're all about to watch something truly special.
Frankly, I don't get this sort of excitement as much as I used to. When you've been in the business for 23 years and then some, it's easy to get a bit jaded, to take it all for granted, even when you're covering a major event such as the Super Bowl.
But here we are in the Arizona desert, about to watch New England try to complete a perfect season. NINETEEN STRAIGHT WINS. Until this moment, I don't think I truly realized what a momentous accomplishment that would be, Spygate or no Spygate.
Either way, this is going to be a game for the ages. The Patriots make history, or the Giants pull off one of the most momentous upsets in sports history. That sounds like a win-win for those of us fortunate enough to be in the stadium, certainly a candidate for my personal Top 10 events I have witnessed in person.
I was in Greece when Michael Phelps won eight swimming medals at the Olympics. I was in Atlanta when the Tennessee Titans came up 1 yard short on the final play of the Super Bowl. I was in Daytona that tragic day when Dale Earnhardt died on the final turn.
(I also was in St. Louis when Mark McGwire hit home run No. 62 to break Roger Maris' record, but that has lost a little luster amid all of baseball's drug revelations and Big Mac refusing to come clean in retirement).
Anyway, a couple of off-the-cuff observations as we close in on kickoff:
- Why does the NFL, after going to all the trouble of bringing in big-time entertainment and setting up a stage in the middle of the field, put on a pregame show that's nothing more than a glorified medley? I wouldn't have minded Alicia Keys actually singing a few songs in their entirety.
- Two colleagues of mine were downstairs when the Patriots arrived. They watched two busloads of players filing into the stadium, and no one said a word to each other. Yep, these guys mean business.
- Tom Brady just ran - yes, ran - on the field for pregame warmups. He sprinted to the middle of the field, as it trying to show everyone his sprained ankle is doing just fine. We'll see how it holds up when he's got Michael Strahan in his face.
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