My first official Super Bowl event came yesterday at thisexclusive little club called "Hooters." I'm not surewhy they call it that. I think they serve owl, and the place isso exclusive because a lot of owls are endangered, including the Common(guess not) Barn Owl.
The party was hosted by thegood people at Yardbarker, and Donovan McNabb, MarshawnLynch, and Dontrelle Willis were expected to be in the house. Inanother first for me, the Yardbarker crew was good enough togrant me VIP access, which meant that I got to stand in a veryspecial portion of Hooters.
If you're not aware, Yardbarker's a sports community website, andthey've got a bunch of athletes with their own blogs over there. McNabb's gota blog there, MarshawnLynch has a blog there ... it's an interesting project that Ithink has a bright future.
Anyway, at the party, there was a merchandise stand, where theywere selling Super Bowl gear (more on this in a bit), some Giantsand Patriots items, a lot of Eagles gear, and also, for somereason, various pictures of girls who seem to like to drawattention to their chests. They didn't have any Bills gear,though ... I was kind of hoping that Marshawn Lynch would takeoffense to this, and come in there, and destroy the whole set-up.He didn't.
You can see about 1/4th of the face of the gentleman on thebottom right of the picture ... he was very nice. If yourecognize that 1/4th of a face around the greater Phoenix areathis week, don't hesitate to approach him. He's a sweet man.
The first celebrity in the house was Bills running back MarshawnLynch. At no point did it appear like Marshawn Lynch was nothaving the time of his life. I think he's the kind of guy youcould put in an Iraqi prison cell, and as long as he had someonethere to talk to, he'd be just fine. He's a walking one-manparty.
Sitting and doing a radio interview ... big smile on his face.
Learning the finer points of blogging ... big smile on his face.
Also, I think he likes the Oakland A's.
Seriously, I just want to be Marshawn Lynch for a day. I saw himback in the corner of the deck at one point, just dancing withone of the Yardbarker guys, to no music whatsoever. Justcelebrating the fact that he has no reason not to celebrate.
At this point, I'm just kickin' it, sitting back, talking to acouple of people and keeping an eye on Marshawn and his boys. Itis, for the most part, a loose, chilled-out scene.
And then Donovan McNabb showed up.
Swarm. Anywhere he went, people just flooded the area. A lot ofthem were autograph hounds (including one toolbox who kept askingpeople, "How much is his autograph worth on eBay?") ...but mostly, it seemed like people just wanted to seehim. They just wanted to be near the guy. Celebrity thecaliber of McNabb's has an odd effect on people.
To McNabb's credit, though, he could not have been nicer to thepeople who were bumrushing him from all angles. I see a scenelike that, try to envision myself in it, and I'd be thinking,"What the hell is wrong with you people?" right beforeI started throwing Anthony Mason elbows.
But D-Mac went above and beyond in trying to accommodateeveryone. It's gotta take incredible patience to deal withsomething like that. He's a smooth cat.
The brunette in the middle here? That is not the same look shegave me when she asked me how I'd like my wings.
And here's Donovan, right before we made out:
I didn't want to. But he walked by, and I said, "D-Mac,that's a nice Coogi." He shyly looked at the ground, gave mea sheepish little smile, and then we ended up kissing. It wasstrange. But like I said, celebrity has a weird effect on people.
Okay, that didn't happen. But he wanted it to, I could tell. Andthese girls would have been totally jealous. Of him.
This guy showed up with McNabb. I don't know if he's friend,family, or what, but he had an awesome t-shirt. Here he is,listening to a young woman extol the virtues of Vitamin Water.
Alright, confession time: the guy below was actually the firstNFL'er I saw, but I had no idea who the hell he was. Anyone ofinterest, they got on camera and quizzed them on Super Bowltrivia. They asked this guy to name the last three Super BowlMVPs, and this student of the game said, "Tom Brady, TomBrady, Tom Brady."
That's absolutely correct, if by "Tom Brady, Tom Brady, TomBrady," he meant, "Peyton Manning, Hines Ward, DeionBranch."
But the Hooters girls actually told him that the right answer was"Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady," but... you know, it's not like this was a Stump the Schwabparty. You get enough beer and wings in anyone, and they'll tellyou that the MVP of the 1982 World Series was Jaleel White.
I found out later that this was reserve Chiefs linebacker MickeyPimentel (whoonce did this), and he played his college ball at Cal. Pac-10football, as it turns out, is much more popular here than it isback on the east coast. But Pimentel seemed like a hell of a niceguy.
Also, I was told that these guys below all played for the OaklandA's. Before someone told me that, though, I had them identifiedas "Hooters customers." If you recognize any of them,let me know.
My thanks again to the Yardbarker gang for the invite and theassistance, including Pete, Diana, Dewey and Nic. All nicepeople.