As we indicated in a previous post, we headed down to Miami this weekend past to enjoy the festivities that make-up the Super Bowl (or, as we like to call it, the White NBA All-Star Game...screw you, Bill Simmons).
One of the wonderful events that the NFL provides for fans is the NFL Experience. A cavalcade of games, clinics, events, displays and exhibits; all provided by wonderful NFL sponsors for fan enjoyment. Tickets were a modest $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Basically, this is something for the local fan that can't afford tickets to the game. So, obviously, in Miami it meant that the crowd was essentially a third world kind of crowd. Now, before you press the button to publish your comment calling us names, we simply described it as such to offer a fair and honest descriptive of who was there.
One of the most interesting aspects of the event was the presence of an ungodly number of scalpers. Now, understand: Tickets were on sale there for $15 and $10 and there was NO shortage of tickets at the gate. Yet, on every corner during the safari like trek from the far off land of parking to the gate, groups of men would ask if you wanted to buy or sell tickets. And no, they weren't talking about tickets to the game, they were talking about tickets to the NFL Experience. We had tickets waiting for us at Will Call, and after I picked them up and took a few steps with the envelope full of tickets, I was swarmed by scalpers asking if I wanted to sell them. After dusting off the arm of my FUBU sweat jacket (one of the seedier types had put his dirty hand on me), I cordially invited the entrepreneurs to get the fuck away from me.
If anyone out there can tell us HOW these folks made money buying and selling tickets to this particular event (when they were onsale right there), please leave a comment and let us know. We aren't particularly business minded and just can't figure this out.
After walking through security at the main gate, we entered a realm that had all the atmosphere and trappings of a State Fair. On display was a nice mix of 3/5 dregs of society, 1/5 normal folks, and 1/5 folks too good for the rest. Throw in long lines, a disappointing array of NFL "stars" doing the meet and greet thing, unruly children all around (but just out of kicking distance) and being subjected to unnatural amounts of sponsor marketing; and you have the NFL Experience. Oh, and lines. The longest lines you can imagine. And they move slowly. Very slowly. So, if what the NFL is all about is standing in one spot for extended periods of time, I'm ready to play middle linebacker for the Steelers, 'cause I am now Experienced.
Now, we understand, tickets were a measly $15 and there were ton of people there. Obviously, long lines would be expected and those lines moving at a snails pace at activities being run by (trained?) volunteers would be the order of the day. But what was maddening was this: The event handlers were able to figure out how to keep the long lines moving at the booths and activities that you had to PAY for. Basically, anything that didn't involve a further remuneration for the NFL, you stood and waited for hours on end. Anything that required you to dip further down into your pocket, the line kept on moving. Thanks NFL! You guys rock!
For anyone that was in the market for a Charles Fasano, Nick Sorenson, Kevin Bullock or Akin Ayodele autograph, and willing to wait for an hour or so, you came to the right place. The excitement at the autograph areas was palpable. Well, if palpable means a bunch of people walking by, asking who was there, looking at the line and saying, "They are waiting for WHO'S autograph????"
And then we stumbled across it. A throng of people pressed up against a small stage. A fat, white dude with a microphone talking to the crowd. And a few young Negroes sitting behind a table on the stage holding cell phones. It was the "Sprint Phone a Friend". Javon Walker and Darren Sharper (wait, what the...we have actually heard of them...) were sitting on the stage, as the fat, white cat with the mike "entertained" the crowd, making phone calls for people. Basically, you wait in line for two hours and have them call a friend and say, "Hi, this is Javon Walker of the Denver Broncos, your friend is here in Miami for Super Bowl weekend and wanted me to call you and let you know that they are better than you." How Walker and Sharper got roped into that event is beyond me. They looked miserable. We actually felt bad for them.
As we beat a path toward the exit, we came across a fenced in area with folks pressed all up against it trying to get a look past the fence. Upon closer inspection, it was a rehearsal for the commentary crew of Marino, Esiason and Sharpe. The Miami crowd was going nuts for Marino, but we couldn't take our eyes off Shannon Sharpe. The guy is in phenomenal shape, but that isn't it. Remember a few years ago prior to the Bronco's playing in that second straight Super Bowl; I can't remember who on the opposing team made the comment about Sharpe. But, they said "He looks like Mr. Ed, I keep waiting for him to go BRRRRRR, Wilbur". Well, we can confirm in person: Sharpe has the body of Zulu warrior, attached to the head of Zebra.
And that folks, is the NFL Experience. We headed back to the hotel to change into some fresh gear and get ready for the PepsiSmash concert.