Sports Column

Nelson: Out West I go for Super Bowl 57


I know, it sounds crazy to me sometimes too.

Here is this guy who grew up on a dairy farm in South Dakota, and will have the opportunity to work a small part of the Super Bowl broadcast.

Oh yes, and with a pretty good seat and a very good view.

I’m blessed beyond telling and grateful beyond description.

The trip starts Thursday morning with a flight to Phoenix. Since I had the first leg of my trip to Philadelphia get canceled two weekends ago, I will just keep my fingers crossed that all will go well.

Yes, I did get to Philly on the next flight, and ended up sitting next to one of the Fox Sports executives. When we landed, he had a car service and gave me a lift to the hotel, so that worked out okay. It was fun to hop out of the car with this exec in front of some other Fox folks. No name dropping, but being seen in the right place is always a good thing.

All of those big names will be in Phoenix this weekend. The list of activities that these folks are part of is mind-bogling. All the corporate activities dwarf the sports part.

I’m just glad to be working with mostly the same cast of folks that have been our crew the entire season. We have a few extra stats helpers and plenty of other folks ready to help with the short hundred other things that on. We’ve got volumes of stats and records at the ready, so when you hear some crazy bit of info, you will know we stats guys are doing our job and there will be smiles all around.

The announcers have to be at the stadium Friday for dress rehearsals and finding out which doors are open or not. I’m catching a ride out. Our booth crew is going to see what new cameras or other technical toys are surrounding us for the game, and truthfully, just going to the stadium is like stopping at home base, a place that we know, and the place we will end up when they kick the game off Sunday evening.

The arrangements are mind-bogling. There are credentials for different days, for different parts of the stadium, for different different things. I’m hoping I can stay standing up with all the stuff hanging around my neck...

That’s just the credentials. There are lists of who gets to go where on what day, which car you ride in, departure times, many other details.

There are places at the hotel where we can go and other places you need a different pass there. There is a hotel for the corporate folks and other top-tier types. My name won’t be on any of those lists.

The corporate and business aspect is the big part of the Super Bowl. The game is inmportant too, especially to the teams, but it has become such a small piece of the Super Bowl pie.

At some moment, and having done a few other pretty big games, I know that about 30 minutes before kickoff, we just have to put everything else behind us or beside us and focus on the game.

And the great part is that from that moment on, it will be the game, and nothing else. People have asked me many times if I will be distracted or feel the pressure of it being this big a game.

My answer is easy - I can’t be and I hope not.

We had some practice with other big games, like on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and three playoff games before this Sunday. We have found that focusing on the game instead of all the crazy distractions is the secret to success. Can’t be thinking about how many folks are watching. We want to do the best job we can, for one person watching or half the nation.

By the time the weekend is done,and I get back early next week, I’m sure I’ll have enough travel stories to keep things lively for a couple columns.

It’s the Super Bowl - what can possibly go wrong?

Enjoy the weekend. Hope your team wins.

Safe travels.

Jeff Nelson is a frequent contributor to the Journal Review and works professionally for Fox Sports assisting with NFL broadcasts and the Indiana Pacers.


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