The privilege of a Brit covering the Super Bowl

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It’s a good job most of my journalistic colleagues back in the UK don’t really know what the Super Bowl is all about. Otherwise there would be a queue of bandwagon-jumping scribes all the way back to London’s Heathrow Airport.

The simple fact is, it’s impossible to get an idea of just how vast and well-organized this actually is until you have been here. Because, when you’re used to bread and cheese, how can you understand a seven-day feast that includes the kind of media activity (and perks) usually associated only with royal occasions?

And, while it is true to say the NFL has scaled back on the lavishness of some of their press-related amenities (there were no free hats or chocolate fondues — gasp! — at today’s pre-game brunch), this remains one of the most extraordinarily well-catered of sporting occasions.

Contrast this with something I heard from a fellow member of the Brit pack here in South Florida, who related the sad and sorry tale of a soccer reporter back in England whose halftime refreshment yesterday consisted of a glass of cold water (and from the faucet, too!).

Thankfully, word of this embarrassment of journalistic riches is unlikely to spread too far beyond the handful of committed British reporters, as any interest in “American football” (as they know it in the UK) is restricted to our happy little band who are as much fans as sports writers.

I kid thee not. There remains an innate British sporting suspicion of “American” sport of any kind, hence those who remain back in dear old Blighty will rightly stay forever ignorant of one of THE great annual events. Roll on game time!

–- Simon Veness

(U.S.-based British writer Simon Veness has infiltrated the ranks of NFL.com for Super Bowl week with his transatlantic take on events.)

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