NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not the most popular guy. We've been reminded, often, lately, about his help to keep the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, how he wants the Superdome to remain a Super Bowl destination, and how we should put the past behind us and move forward and just enjoy the game, will ya. Grudge-holding Saints fans, however, will forever remember Goodell as the villain in the 2012-2013 Saints season. His unpopularity was so obvious the dude was the subject of a lecture on politeness courtesy of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who reminded the city to "be on your best behavior," knowing full well (and sympathizing with) the bitterness, and the "Go to Hell Goodell"s and "Do Not Serve This Man"s around town. Oh, and then there's the Krewe du Vieux float picturing Goodell being eaten by a giant vagina. Guy has had a rough couple weeks.
Today, Goodell made his first public Super Bowl XLVII appearance in New Orleans before a massive press crowd. No tomatoes were thrown. He had nothing but kind things to say about the city, but also to Saints fans. WWL-TV's Paul Murphy asked, "Do you feel welcome here?"
"I couldn't feel more welcome here. ... I had a float in a Mardi Gras parade. I'm serious — people here have been incredible," he said. "I understand a fan's loyalty is to the team. They had no part in this. They were completely innocent in this. I appreciate the passion. I saw it for myself when we were down here for Katrina. It's clear that's what they're all about."
That is, Verizon's Super Bowl Boulevard, the free four-day music and food event from Super Bowl XLVII spanning Woldenberg Park from Jackson Square to Canal Street.
The festival opens tonight with the delivery of the Super Bowl XLVII numerals by barge — they'll arrive at 6:30 p.m. The music starts at 5 p.m. There's also food from 17 restaurants and vendors, all serving 50 dishes, from crab cakes and bread pudding to hot dogs from Vaucresson's Sausage Company.
Find more info about the event in Gambit, and check below for the full daily lineup.
St. Augustine High School's Marching 100 blasted through the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and at its lead were Louisiana State Police, looking crisp in blue and really pissed off (or stern, can't tell), surrounding Deuce McCallister, whose gloved hands carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy down a red carpet to its glass-cased throne under a massive portrait of itself.
That long-winded sentence is to say that people really love the Lombardi trophy. When the NFL Experience opened this afternoon, New Orleans Saints fans were first in line. When McAllister smiled and strolled (albeit in a cloud of armed protection surrounded by a layer of flashing cameras) with the Lombardi, fans were locked in its not-so-distant memory tractor beam — a token of the Super Bowl XLIV win, the beloved Deuuuuuuce chant, "party with the Lombardi." Instant heart-tugging nostalgia set in for those first-in-the-door Saints fans.
Though some out-of-town visitors squinted and asked, "Who is that?" (but not in that way overplayed ironic way of saying "Who Dat.")
Yesterday, Jay Cicero, head of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, made it official: New Orleans intends to make its case to bring the Super Bowl back in 2018.
Last night in his WWL-TV commentary, Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos said it’s not too early to plan for Super Bowl LII.
Boy was that a whole lot of craziness that just went on at the Superdome.
Having never been to a Super Bowl Media Day before, I don't know if there's much I can really offer other than saying that for one hour, each team is subjected to a barrage of questions and photographs from infinite angles. There's a lot of silliness, humor and fun mixed in with actual reporters covering the actual game.
In the interest of brevity and because #mediaday is trending and this is a thing that is part of our reality now, I'm just gonna let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
The Super Bowl Committee estimates more than 5,000 reporters arrived in New Orleans to cover Super Bowl XLVII. Today, buses unloaded them all, seemingly, into the Superdome for Media Day. Fans filled the lower bowl sideline to watch the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens host Q&A sessions with reporters, and reporters from all over the world get one-on-one with the players — attendees could tune in to free personal ear-clip radios to tune into each network or interview stage. Media Day opened to the public for the first time last year in Indianapolis.
Players sat back for an hour to wax philosophic on football, reflect on the season, answer boring questions or repeat answers to repeated questions, and get a little loose in a pre-game stress-free interview setting — or walk around among reporters and goof around on- and off-camera with the media.
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis drew the wildebeest reporters to his crocodile trap of seemingly endless Ray Lewisms — "I have dreams. The outside world don't see those dreams. ... People ask why I'm so emotional" — while center Matt Birk confirmed his much-publicized stand against gay marriage: "I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman," and attributed his views to his Catholic background.
Inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, construction crews rushed to wrap the 850,000 square feet space that is the NFL Experience, the Super Bowl-driven football circus/playground tailored to its host city and football fans who likely didn't score a ticket to the big game. Among the dozens of peripheral Super Bowl fan activities, it's the NFL's trademark Super Bowl attraction, and it returns to New Orleans for the first time since 2002 — but it's a much different monster.
Occupying several halls inside the convention center, the NFL Experience for Super Bowl XLVII features "museum quality" exhibits, like team histories, a radio-room exhibit of "great calls in NFL history," locker room simulations, and items on loan from the NFL Pro Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio — the first time the NFL has hosted a Hall of Fame installation at the NFL Experience. It will also host NFC and AFC championship trophies and Super Bowl rings.
Deuce McAllister will deliver the Lombardi Trophy on a red carpet 3 p.m. Wednesday, which is also NFL Play 60 Kids Day. The "NFL Rush Zone for Kids" has a smaller-sized field (with goal posts) and other kid-sized football activities. Athletes also will appear to sign autographs — check here for the autograph schedule — and there are auctions and a trade and collectible show.
The New Orleans Hornets, in possibly the most anti-climatic press conference ever, officially announced today what people have assumed for weeks. Beginning next season, New Orleans' NBA franchise will be known as the Pelicans.
The announcement comes after Yahoo! Sports broke the news in December and after a series of debates on the possible name change, as well as some creative logo mockups on the national and local level. Also, because this is the future and we can't wait for anything anymore, the news of the official announcement broke yesterday and, just under an hour before the press conference, this Pelicans promotional video was found leaked online (a video that, not surprisingly, echoed many of the positive points I made about Pelicans and in support of the name change).
The video, which was also shown at the press conference, stresses the connection that the name Pelicans has with New Orleans and Louisiana and how pelicans adorne the state flag and capitol building. Another message conveyed in the video — and echoed by team president Dennis Lauscha, owner Tom Benson and Mayor Mitch Landrieu during their press conference comments — was of the Hornets/Pelicans commitment to the recovery, restoration and preservation of the Gulf Coast. The Pelican represents "Somebody that takes care of its young" and "Reselience and coming back from near-extinction", Landrieu said. "We have our name."
This name change was a long time coming and Benson, who donned a Pelicans hat on stage, had put the rebranding machine to work even before he bought the Hornets. Yes, the local connection is clearly important but let's not forget that Benson is also a businessman and that this rebrand will mean millions in product sales. The team has not wasted any time in launching a new website "Introducing your New Orleans Pelicans" and an online store with Pelicans merchandise.
In the end - and as several players and coaches have mentioned - the team name really won't mean much if the team itself can't produce successfully on the court. But seeing as how the Hornets are last in their division right now and debating the merits of the current squad is kind of depressing (unless you look to the potentially bright future) let's just distract ourselves with some logo talk. Hit the jump for the very early twitter reactions to the Pelicans logos:
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