Dear Phoenix, Wish you were here. All you folks had to do was vote yourselves a paid holiday. A no-brainer. You get a day off in January, and, bonus, you get the 1993 Super Bowl. I can't imagine what you were thinking. Tampa, which held the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, claimed it netted $150 million. And, bonus, the game put Tampa on the map. I'm not saying you folks in Phoenix need the dough, and I'm not saying nobody knows where you are—L-6 on my State Farm Road Atlas. But wouldn't it be nice to have visitors who aren't members of the Federal Witness Relocation Program?
To be honest, I couldn't have cared less when you had the Super Bowl taken away from you. But the NFL ended up putting this thing, this 100% entertainment bloat, in my town instead. I guess the league figured that Los Angeles not only has a Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but it also has a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Maybe Arizona will get the picture now. Of course, you have to feel for the NFL, which is about 60% black. It can hardly countenance a state (we know, Phoenix, that you were for it all along) that wouldn't vote itself a day off to celebrate King's birthday. Anyway, the upshot is we here in L.A. have got the Super Bowl—again. We've already got the Emmys, the Grammys, the People's Choice Awards, the Oscars and The Arsenio Hall Show. Like we need more entertainment.
It's not that we're inconvenienced by this, only mildly irritated. The NFL comes to town and expects us to automatically join in the frenzy. Sorry, but we won't do it. Maybe if this thing were held in Phoenix, where there has never been a Super Bowl (or a genuine NFL team), a real rumpus would break out, with deejays holding contests to see what totally disgusting things people would be willing to do to win a ticket. But in L.A.—now, don't take this wrong—there are more things competing for our attention than the finale to the Bud Bowl.
I got to laughing the other day when the Super Bowl teams came to town. The way the NFL moved these guys around—the charter planes unloading on the far reaches of the tarmac—you would have thought they were in...Phoenix. The presumption was comical. The Dallas Cowboys showed up at their hotel in Santa Monica and there were more guys with yellow EVENT STAFF jackets on than there were yahoos.
An NFL event staff guy who ordinarily likes to flex some crowd-control muscle was thoroughly disappointed. "This is America's Team?" he said, disgusted, looking for a yahoo to wrestle to the ground. "Last year at the Skins' hotel in Minneapolis we had 300 people, crazy-! wild." I'm guessing that when this thing goes to Phoenix, you all are going to have to call Minneapolis for its leftover barricades.
This is no knock on you, Phoenix. But in the middle of this grand entrance, as these Cowboys filed up the stairs in front of Texas TV folks mainly, thinking of themselves as some kind of royalty, Gene Hackman stuck his head out of the hotel bar to see what the fuss was about. Those cameras did a one-eighty, even the ones from Waco. I mean, do you want Michael Irvin or Popeye Doyle?
See what I'm getting at? Just myself—and I'm a little out of the loop these days—I know a guy who knows a guy who knows Joe Pesci. Played in a band with him in Jersey. He knew him back when, so you can imagine the stories / can tell. There are stars, and then there are stars, and we've got the real ones. So, I'm sure Emmitt Smith is huge in this league, but excuse me if I don't swoon in his presence.
As for the game, now, I know this is supposed to be a big deal, the ultimate game and all that. But this is our seventh ultimate game out here. Been there, done that. Besides, the games are always bad, and what's more, they're on TV. So I don't know who it is who buys all those seats at the Rose Bowl every time the Super Bowl comes here, but I promise you it's not a Southern Californian who has ever experienced traffic control around Arroyo Seco. Nobody with a bit of sense would hop into his car and duel RVs from Buffalo for a patch of grass on game day. We had an Olympics here back in 1984, and the locals were so terrified to go out-of-doors, never mind to go see events, that we actually had reverse traffic conditions. The freeways were empty at rush hour.
We'll watch the game on TV or do something else. Why? Because we can. The day the teams checked in? At the beach, 79°. Oh, you could join 100,000 others in an admittedly scenic ravine, or you could head for the beach and strap on the Rollerblades. I'll do neither—more about that later—but here's how afoot-ball player, defensive lineman Anthony Smith of the Los Angeles Raiders, explained his absolute lack of interest in this big game: "I've just got things to do."
To tell you the truth, this whole countdown to Super Bowl thing plays a little thin out here. It's not that we're jaded. We've just got things to do. Monday, the Buffalo Bills practiced in secrecy at USC, not that security was a problem for them. The real action was 200 yards down the street at the Shrine Auditorium, where the American Music Awards presentation was held. There, thousands lined the sidewalks to bask in the reflected light of sequins and lame. If an EVENT STAFF guy is looking to toss a yahoo in this town, he ought to be working the entertainment side of the street.