Super Bowl 45: Behind The Scenes, Day 3
By Greg Matzek
We're takin' it up a notch!
Not that the past two days have been quiet by any stretch, but things certainly picked up today on radio row. Starting at 8:00am, radio row at the downtown Sheraton Hotel resembled a red carpet party. Marissa Miller, Jay Mohr, Michael Irvin, Marshall Faulk, John Elway, Bart Starr...my head was on a swivel.
Having these people in sight is one thing, getting them on the air is another. There's a protocol that must be followed: The main rule is to NOT approach the celebrity directly. They will say no 95% of the time. The trick is to approach their PR person (usually the girl following closely behind with 3 cell phones in her hand and a clipboard). The PR person is in charge of booking the interview schedule for their client.
Knowing this, and leveraging our position as the Packers flagship radio station, we were able to carve a slot the busy schedules of a few greats: Super Bowl winning QB's Joe Theismann and Phil Simms, FOX's Jay Glazer, former Packers great Jerry Kramer, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks.
Another guy we weren't necessarily targeting, but proved to be a great interview was former NFL punter Mitch Berger. You probably remember him as the guy who punted for the Vikings in the 90's. He was the guy who always took a big bite of a Snickers bar before he trotted on the field to kick. Did you know he was a member of the Green bay Packers? Hoping to be a kickoff specialist in 1995, Berger was brought in the day of a preseason game. He kicked-off "miserably" in one game, was cut the next day, then signed with the Vikings.
Berger won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers a couple years ago. He let me wear his ring (which is so big, you could serve a pot roast on it). I tried on the ring as he was explaining how he spent a good portion of his Super Bowl preparation nights at the bar. My sense is that Berger is the kind of guy I'd love to go out on the town with one night, but would pay for it in the morning. He was a great guest!
After the Berger segment, I was walking toward the bathroom and ran into Windell Middlebrooks (better known as the High Life Guy). I said hello, and that I was from Milwaukee. We walked and talked until I realized we were both heading toward the bathroom. I sensed awkwardness, but rolled with it and we continued our conversation while relieving ourselves. Notice I don't have a picture with Wendell...given the situation, I thought it best not to ask.
Earlier in the day I went off to the Steelers media session on the campus of TCU. The Packers session started while I was still on the air, so I wasn't able to get there in time.
Insider note: Because the Packers are the home team, they have first choice as to when their media responsibilities take place. Mike McCarthy has been consistent with getting their stuff out of the way as early as possible.
The Steelers media session was a mini version of Tuesday's media day. I was thinking to myself how the media on hand (unlike Tuesday) represented the real storyline diggers...and then I saw that damn Matador again. I still don't know his deal, but he leaves a box of cigars with every player he talks to, and I don't think he speaks much English. I'm not going to be able to sleep without seeing this guy.
The highlight of the session for me was a one-on-one interview with Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. There have been conflicting reports on whether the rookie pro-bowler will play on Sunday due to a high ankle sprain. He had some interesting things to say, which I will replay on Wisconsin's Morning News tomorrow (Thursday) morning. He also let me get a picture of his uncasted/unbooted leg.
PS - If you have the NFL Network, pay close attention to when they have the camera on one of their guests. I've received several text messages explaining that Bill Michaels and I are clearly visible in the background. I'll make sure to do something to embarrass myself, Bill, and the station tomorrow. I'll also have an update on the Charles Woodson Wine Party, and Donald Driver Foundation party at the House of Blues...looking forward to both.