Super Bowl countdown
It's time for the show
Got tickets? Fans and scalpers hit the streets on Sunday looking for tickets that were selling up to six times their face value. Brian Crane/CNNSI.com
Posted: Sunday January 30, 2000 06:08 PM
CNNSI.com's John Donovan and Ryan Hunt are on-site at the Super Bowl. They filed these reports during the six-hour run-up to the big game between the Titans and the Rams.
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- All the stages and stuff on the field were cleared off in fewer than five minutes. Six vacuums swept the turf, sucking up the streamers that were shot out of cannons during Tina Turner's performance. The cleanup was assisted by Turner's many dancers, who were required to pick up any trash at their feet.
The introduction tunnels are being blown up. A 20-foot tall Titan and a slightly taller Ram player have also been inflated. Officials are trying to blow up a Super Bowl trophy but are having trouble. It's like a mini-Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Tritt causes trouble ON THE GEORGIA DOME FIELD -- Country star Travis Tritt just wrapped up, blowing through an energetic version of "T-R-O-U-B-L-E." Hundreds of dancers swayed along, lining each side of the field from 20 to 20.
Tritt was preceded by the Georgia Choir and the Georgia Tech marching band.
Before the Titans were kicked off the field, the team gathered at the helmet on their 30-yard-line for a raucous little pep talk.
Wilkins appears healthy FROM THE PRESS BOX -- Jeff Wilkins, the Rams kicker, looked good in pregame warmups. He has been suffering from tendinitis in his left knee, his plant leg. He reached the goalposts from 53 yards away.
Kurt Warner of St. Louis and Eddie George of Tennessee drew the kind of cheers that cause you to turn your head to see what the heck is going on. They were just entering the field for warmups.
It's hard to see any players after they come out of the tunnel onto the field. The folks from NFL Films are engulfing the combatants, capturing every possible moment for posterity.
My goodness, the sun just came out (we can see it through a window). An omen, we hope.
Fans looking for a way in FROM THE PRESS BOX -- In the Georgia Dome, groups of players have taken to stretching out on the turf. Most wear just T-shirts and shorts, but some have already slipped on their jersey pants and pads for the game. From the auxiliary press seats in the upper deck it is hard to recognize who any of the players are.
Except for the Titans' Craig Hentrich that is, he's already fully dressed, wearing his No. 15 jersey. He's booting punts from the 50 into the Tennessee end zone.
The stands are already 20 percent full, and the Tennessee fans continue to be the more boisterous group. They yell -- very, very loudly -- each time a Titans season highlight is shown on the stadium's giant screen.
Fans looking for a way in JUST OUTSIDE THE DOME -- In what can be called a poll, but certainly not a very scientific one, we have surveyed 52 people who are walking in the grassy area between Philips Arena and the Georgia Dome. Thirty-three (63.5 percent) had tickets and the others were looking for a way in.
Titans fans outnumber the Rams fans by a slim margin, but are definitely the much more enthusiastic of the two groups. Many sport red fire wigs, the kind that resemble the flames on the Titans' helmets.
Oh, and the celebrities are starting to show up. Kansas City quarterback Warren Moon, Braves center fielder Andruw Jones and sports announcer Don Criqui are here. OK, so the big-time stars are probably still at their hotels.
A woman who is pregnant is garnering the most attention as she holds up what's left of a pizza box with the words, "Mom-to-be needs tickets." We're not sure who's more insane, her or the young man who has to wear mittens while his hands wrap gingerly around a ice-cold alcoholic beverage.
Ice -- not so nice: A winter ice storm in Atlanta hasn't put the freeze on Super Bowl activities. Brian Crane/CNNSI.com
Need two? You'll need cash
IN THE LOBBY OF THE MARRIOTT MARQUIS - Here in this swank hotel on Peachtree Center Avenue (yes, all the roads are named Peachtree something), the scalpers are out in force.
About 20 are milling about, including one who specializes in flipping, the practice of buying an item with the intent of reselling at a profit shortly thereafter. In this case, it only takes 10 minutes to a half hour.
The going prices range from $400, just $75 over face, to $2,000 a pop. Upstairs in the office of Ticket Pros USA, tickets AND commemorative packages go for $950-$1,100.
Michael, a concierge at the Marriott, also acts as an intermediary between guests who have extra tickets and guests who have no tickets. He stays away from the negotiations, only serving to introduce the interested parties.
No matter the way the deal is transacted, the people involved must be careful to not get caught breaking the law. In Georgia, it is illegal to sell tickets for more than $3 above face value.
Traffic picking up
ON INTERNATIONAL BOULEVARD -- Traffic around the Georgia Dome usually gets heavy a few hours before a game. Traffic is rough already, but not terrible.
Some people are trying to find public parking lots near the stadium. Prices are typically 10 times lower than today's rates, which are $25 for a space eight blocks away, and $40-$50 within a five-minute walk of the Dome.
Once people get out and walk down International Boulevard or head up Techwood Drive, they pass endless merchandise stands. Vendors are hawking hats for $18, sweatshirts from $25-$65 and Super Bowl leather jackets for 375 beans. Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder, because while we're sure Mr. Blackwell would disapprove, five fans can be seen around the Hyatt wearing their new purchases.
Fans at the hotel where many celebrities -- and the some of the media - are staying wait patiently in the cold weather, figuring the half-dozen stretch limos will soon be filling up with their VIP cargo.
It's toasty OUTSIDE CNN CENTER, NEAR THE GEORGIA DOME -- The big freeze promises to let up sometime this afternoon, but one thing is clear already, a good five hours before Super Bowl XXXIV.
Fans are strolling the slippery sidewalks downtown, as they have before noon, and the downtown hotel lobbies already are packed. There were waiting lists at some downtown eateries around noon, and the bars are doing brisk business everywhere.
Ice? Storms? Altogether crummy weather? For fans waiting for the 6:25 p.m. ET showdown between the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams, it just doesn't matter.
As it is, forecasts call for a general warming trend for this afternoon, which will make the trip to the 72,000-seat Georgia Dome a little more enjoyable for everyone. By late afternoon, some forecasts even predicted a smattering of sunshine.
The Georgia Department of Transportation was out early salting streets around town that were still slick from Saturday's ice storm. There was still plenty of ice on parking lots and on some sidewalks as of noon, but it isn't expected to last.
Inside the Dome, the temperature will be around a comfortable 70 degrees.
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