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Published: Tuesday, 1/29/2008

From sunny Phoenix

PHOENIX - It s officially Super Bowl week upon today s media sessions with both teams on the floor of University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale. This is an opportunity for serious journalists to get a wealth of quotes and notes while wondering how other so-called journalists even get credentials.

A rather striking reporter, and I use that word cautiously (reporter, not striking), from TV Azteca showed up in a wedding gown in order to ask New England quarterback Tom Brady to marry her. She did wade into the scrum in front of his podium, which is more than I accomplished, and popped the question. Somebody who was close enough to hear reported that Brady responded that there were already enough Mrs. Bradys in his life. Or something like that.

Another credentialed media member from a foreign-language TV network, or station, was dressed as a fortune teller. He was quickly nicknamed Swami Guy. Never quite figured out his gimmick.

(For the record, I wore jeans, a T-shirt, and a pullover. I did not ask any stupid questions. Bill Belichick, the coach of the Patriots, wore sandals, no socks. Just thought you d like to know.)

Someone asked Giants defender Michael Strahan who would play him in a movie, and then suggested Forrest Whittaker as the answer. Strahan didn t like that. He figured Will Smith. We ll bulk him up and give him a gap in his teeth, Strahan said.

Spent some time with ex-UT Rocket Nick Kaczur of the Patriots offensive line. A little girl named Claire was on hand as a student reporter for the Weekly Reader. She asked Kaczur what books he liked to read. He said he d never read one. You ve never read a book? No, he said. Never. I d like to tell you that surprised me, but it didn t.

The NFL Network will not get a credential for the Masters, I d bet. But the Golf Channel had several people at Super Bowl Media Day. Go figure.

And, finally, before I go sit by the pool, er, I mean, write my Wednesday column, some thoughts on U of P Stadium. It is one of the most beautiful in which I ve ever set foot, and these feet have stepped in a few. The grass field is majestic (more on that another time). But that s all on the inside. The outside, both from a distance and in close proximity, is capital-U ugly. Jerry Green, the Detroit News legend who is one of a dwindling number of writers it s now four who have covered every Super Bowl since the start of Roman numerals, asked me what I thought it looked like.

My response: You know when you watch movies about a nuclear war and about four seconds after the bomb detonates that mushroom cloud begins to form and hover? That s what it looks like.

Not all fun-and-game news today. Bob Ryan, the famed sports columnist from the Boston Globe, was called home. A son living overseas died. And word spread that Michael Wilbon of Washington Post and ESPN fame suffered a mild heart attack. Sympathy to Ryan; well wishes for Wilbon.

OK. That s my first-ever blog. Consider it a collector s item. You never know if there will be another.


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