A trip to New York is seldom routine for anyone from the middle part of the country. The people, the traffic, the people, the big tall buildings, the people...
But my run to the Big Apple was close to that last weekend for this sports guy.
Maybe because I didn’t have to actually go into the city.
A trip for just an NFL game featuring either of the teams that start with “New York” means you actually start and stop in “New Jersey.”
I flew into Newark, and out of the same airport. The stadium sits halfway between Newark, and the airport, and Hoboken (you Frank Sinatra fans remember his home town).
But the skyline of New York City is always present, and that presence dominates all.
My flight Saturday was on time, and my cabbie knew the layout of the place.
He couldn’t get me any closer than most other cabbies, and I ended up having to walk across a parking lot and around the entire stadium, but it was not raining like the last time I made that walk.
That made the rest of Saturday as routine as getting ready for an NFL television broadcast can be routine. The devil is in the details, to say the least.
Saturday night was a routine production meeting, except for a surprise birthday moment for our producer, who did not want to have a birthday party, and did not want to acknowledge the fact he is turning 60.
It was raining Sunday morning, so rain details were high on the priority list. There is nothing worse than soggy announcers.
My routine was interrupted for a couple hours on Sunday dealing with catering. We have some water or soft drinks brought to the booth for the announcers, and the stadium folks put a wrinkle in the routine, so I had to deal with that.
No, it’s not really in the stat guy’s job description, but it falls under the “other jobs as needed.”
We had a crazy game, and all the Bears fans reading know what happened.
The Bears could not pull away, then the Giants got ahead, and then the Bears scored 10 points in the last two minutes to force overtime.
Which is way out of routine. Extra time can mean missed flights for production folks with tight connections.
For once, we did not have really tight flight times, so the overtime went on, and the Giants eventually won the game.
But it was raining again, so it was a wet walk to the cars to head to the airports.
One car was heading to JFK, and our car to Newark, so off we went, with a few thousand cars around us.
I actually had the earliest departure, and we had plenty of time to get there, so stress levels were lower than most Sunday afternoon trips after a game.
We figured a way around some of the mess of cars going into the airport and headed to our gates. We were apart, but everyone was connected by a text machine.
And it was an interesting next couple hours.
My flight was mostly on time (the later flight I had for a backup had been canceled) and it soon became apparent that operations at Newark were not going the best. Lots of delayed flights for my cohorts.
I got away, got home and that was good enough for me. Let the other guys write their own stories ...
There is college basketball on the calendar this week. Butler last night, Purdue tonight, and I am packing extra clothing for the NFL trip.
We are going to Green Bay.
The forecast for big snow and bad weather is farther south, so I think all I have to do is deal with the cold, which is plenty to deal with. The last trip to Green Bay in November set a record for the coldest kickoff temperature in team history. I’m sure I’ll be looking up cold weather facts on Sunday.
Jeff Nelson works in national television. His column appears every Thursday in the Journal Review.