INDIANAPOLIS — Welcome to cold (but wholly bearable) Indianapolis, where NFL.com is in town for coverage of Super Bowl XLVI.
Monday can best be described as the calm before the storm at the JW Marriott, home of the Super Bowl XLVI Media Center. The place is far from the zoo it will become later in the week, but there’s already a buzz.
The enormity of the Super Bowl is on display (quite literally), thanks to a massive Lombardi Trophy decal on the face of the hotel. During check-in, a Marriott employee said the hotel wouldn’t exist if Indy didn’t land the Super Bowl.
So yeah, this game is kind of a big deal to the city.
We took a walk around the Media Center area Monday morning, soaking in the scene. Here’s what we saw:
- Fans are milling around the lobby, some in Giants and Patriots gear, but others wearing apparel of teams already in hibernation. One family of four was wearing the jerseys of four different Packers. These people are either a) incredibly loyal or b) in for a wicked surprise on game day.
- Speaking of merchandise, the temporary shop at the hotel already is doing business, with many more set to open around the area as Sunday approaches. Some notable items: Patriots foam finger ($10), Pink Super Bowl XLVI beer cozy ($6), beaded necklace ($5), Giants face paint ($12).
- As you probably can imagine, security is outrageous. Police and other security officials are everywhere. It’s like one of those scary DUI commercials where cops are camouflaged against walls.
- Radio Row is the main attraction of the Media Center (more on this to come later). Woodstock didn’t have a stage that matched the structure in place for “The Jim Rome Show.”
- We walked by Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, who looks like he’s 31 and primed for another 1,200-yard season.
- Also seen: Mr. Monday Morning QB himself, Peter King, in line for — wait for it — Starbucks. He was easy to spot since he was the only guy wearing gym shorts and sneakers amidst the army of business casuals.
— Dan Hanzus