Here's a thing that exists ... (6:30 p.m. MT)
Yes, Super Bowl teams now have uniforms for media day. I believe this is the second year (the players previously wore their game jerseys). I dare you to buy one of these outfits and wear it on a first date.
That reminds me: The entire Around The NFL team in Phoenix will be on hand at media day tomorrow morning at US Airways Center. I'll have plenty of updates from that madhouse.
Life at the Media Center (6:15 p.m. MT)
Phoenix remains fairly quiet, with many of the out-of-town visitors not due to arrive until later in the week. But the staff at the massive Phoenix Convention Center -- which houses both the media center and The NFL Experience event -- are here in full force. Every hallway, every escalator, every double door features a minimum of two staff workers or security officials.
That's where you find the eye contact. It's unrelenting. Everyone. Just. Wants. To. Help. I struggle with strange things.
The Super Bowl media center itself is vast and much more spread out than last year's setup in Manhattan. This is a good thing, as hundreds of radio shows will descend upon the city once this place heats up. For now, I'd estimate probably a quarter of these shows are in town. There are some fans milling around as well, the majority of them in Cardinals jerseys. Radio Row and the Super Bowl Experience share the same massive space, which will make this one of the liveliest places in terms of foot traffic by the end of the week.
As you might expect from the biggest sporting event in the world, sponsors and promotional setups are everywhere. The weirdest by far was the Skittles station, where I was met -- in a hyper-friendly manner -- by a twentysomething Skittles employee who asked -- kind of demanded, actually -- that I repeat the phrase, "Skittles makes the Super Bowl awesomer." Stunned, I complied, at which time the man child handed me two bags of the candy and explained I got an extra because I repeated his phrase verbatim.
The whole thing felt like a fever dream. Then another employee pretended to pass out in a giant pile of blue and green Skittles. I took a picture of this because it felt important.
At another display, Wilson -- the sporting goods company -- has a setup where you can watch official NFL footballs get constructed on site. It's pretty cool. While I was standing there -- which couldn't have been for more than three minutes -- three separate groups of people stopped in front of one of the footballs on display and made the same joke. I'll give you one guess what it was.
This is how it starts (4:30 p.m. MT)
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Earlier today, I offered a visitor's guide for Phoenix and the surrounding areas. That last part is important. This is a spread-out event, with major festivities going on in nearby (but not too nearby) Scottsdale and Glendale. I don't have access to a rental car, which could make this a potentially dangerous endeavor. I fear drifters with ill intentions.
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I've spent the past few weeks in contact with party promoters with the goal of getting into as many events as possible over the next six days. I will use my free time to offer up dispatches on these parties and events, and really anything else I come across during this journey. You'll read these dispatches and feel like you're next to me in the Great American Southwest.
Well, that's the goal anyway. If nothing else, I hope you'll get a better idea of how this week builds toward the climax that is kickoff on Sunday afternoon. Super Bowl week is a living breathing machine. The beast is waking ...