"Well, he says, there is always a first time for ever'thin', but, he says, the NFL does have a free gift for you, which turns out to be this fruity little briefcase the color of spit-up that looked to me like it had been picked out by one of them faggots in Green-wich Village. Herb, if I was to tote this briefcase into the pressbox at West Texas, they would laugh me clear to Albukerk."
"Don't you ever get to see the players, Punch?"
"Sure, Herb. Ever' mornin' this bus picks us up and drives us off to Mexico or wherever it is they're at. The bus has a big ole sign up front that it also goes to Lion Country Safari, to Marineland, and to the picture studios at Universal, so the Super Bowl fits in right well with this bunch.
"First it takes us to the Vikin's, till this other PR man says, 'For your convenience, the buses will roll to the Raider camp at 9:45.' The players is all sorted out. At the Raider hotel, it is like a sock hop, with each table havin' a Raider's number on it, and the important ones like Stabler and Atkinson has tables full of writers, and some of the other fellas just sit all by their lonesome, like they was an ugly-type girl at a dance.
"O' course, nobody much-all talks about football. All the talk is 'bout the media theirselves and how-all will the media affect the game, so the more ever'body talks 'bout it, the more effect it has, I 'magine. This whole thing jes' turns in on itself so.
"I am over at the Vikin's, and I see this pretty blonde who is some kind of built, and I hear somebody say, lookee there, it is Chrystie Jenner, the wife of the world's greatest athalete, and a celebrity in her own right. And so I move up close to where she is talkin' to a bunch of hotshot writers from New York City, and they are sayin', remember me from Montreal and where is Bruce at and so forth, and one says, well, what are you doin' here anyway, Chrystie, and she says, well, I am coverin' the players' wives for ABC, and what brings you here yourself? And he says to her, well, I am coverin' all the hoopla at this showcase. Are you followin' me, Herb? Here we got a football championship, and we got a wives reporter and a hoopla reporter.
"But, for our convenience, it is time to see the Raiders. And their coach, the heavy-set guy, stands up. This is Madden, who they call Pinky, which is the part I like best 'cause that means the coaches at the Super Bowl is Bud and Pinky, jes' like they was over to Skeeter's. And a writer says that Tarkenton has let on that his team is obsessed, and what do you have to say to that? And Madden says, well, we will out-obsess them, a remark which gets some kind of guffaw out of me. And then he starts gettin' all these questions about rhetoric, which, b'lieve me, Herb, if I didn't know any better, I would think was some kind of a formation, or a linebacker, maybe. Ever'body is askin' Pinky, will the rhetoric hurt the Raiders, and will they get used to the rhetoric and how will they dee-fense the rhetoric and what-all.
"Half the time. Herb, I don' know what anybody is talkin' 'bout. Bud Grant, he keeps referrin' to stature-type players. At first I thought he meant they were, you know, like statues that didn't move laterally real good, but later on I caught his drift. He means they have reputations. Ever'body talks funny at the Super Bowl, Herb. It's kinda a simulated language, the way the astronauts used to carry on.
"Well, I'm goin' to hang up now, 'cause it's your nickel. But I'll phone Emil mah early prediction story soon."
"O.K., Punch, and lissen up now: I'm gonna tell ever'one you're havin' one great ole time. I don' want folks to think you're no traitor to our 'Merica, Punch. I'm gonna do that for your own damn good, you hear?"