DEARBORN, Mich. -- "It doesn't get any better than this,'' Cris Collinsworth said Tuesday night.
Super Bowl chatter with the stars? Chalktalk with the coaches? Dinner with hometown hero Jerome Bettis at the Super Bowl? Dinner without the super-hyped Bettis?
None of the above. Try the chair Abraham Lincoln sat in at Ford's Theater the night he was assassinated. Here we were Tuesday night, in between taping segments for tonight's HBO Inside the NFL show, taking a stroll through the Henry Ford Museum, a few miles west of downtown Detroit.
Forgive me for not sticking with the football theme at the onset today. (I've actually thrown in a few football thoughts below.) But if you come to Detroit sometime, your life will be enriched by making a side trip to the Henry Ford Museum. Americana lives in this building. Amazing, real Americana. Every car from every era. And trains. Trains that look like they were straight out of the "Wild, Wild West'' show. And historic cars, including the one John F. Kennedy was shot in. It's all here ... plus the thing Collinsworth and I were most impressed with.
Collinsworth had taken a tour of this underrated museum before I got here, so he led me past the Lincoln chair -- a rocker, upholstered in what looked to be frayed crimson velveteen -- and past two water fountains. One said "Coloreds.'' One said, "Whites only.'' Real southern water fountains. And now we were at a beautifully refurbished bus.
The Rosa Parks bus.
It had been found in decay somewhere near Montgomery, Ala., and made whole again. We climbed aboard. Then I sat there. In the second row after the front bench seats. Wow. I'm in the Rosa Parks seat, I thought. What an honor.
Cris Carter came aboard with his brother John and a friend, and Cris, too, was moved. "I've got to call my wife and kids and tell them I was on this bus,'' he said.
Interesting. John Carter opened up and just told us how his mom had named him after the assassinated president. "John Fitzgerald Carter,'' he said.
Three black men, sitting on the Rosa Parks bus. Two white men, sitting on the Rosa Parks bus. I know it doesn't amount to a hill of beans in Steeler-Seahawk mania, but it will be a snapshot I'll always remember from this Super Bowl.
I always say that the best living-history landmark in the United States is the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, the site of the Kennedy Assassination. I've been through it three times and if I had four hours one day in Dallas, I'd do it again. But Tuesday night I found one that rivals it: The Henry Ford Museum. If you're here this week, or coming anytime soon, you've got to visit it.