I saw the cleared
land next to Fulton County Stadium, where the Olympic Stadium will be built. I
saw a huge balloon of Izzy, the Olympic mascot, inflated again after a perilous
ride through the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. I saw people
dressed in inflatable Coca-Cola cans walking the streets.
cans outside the Georgia Dome for the game," said can-person Joan Wildy, an
administrative assistant for Coke. "1 heard we had a couple of cans outside
the Hard Rock Cafe the other night during a Pepsi party, just to give 'em a
The Hard Rock
Cafe. I missed Magic Johnson's party there—the crowd was limited to 550,
including Michael Jordan—but I did see Magic play basketball the next night in
the Deion Sanders Prime Time Shoot-Out celebrity classic. The game was held at
Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum, matching a team of baseball players
against a team of football players with celebrity ringers inserted into each
lineup. I saw Magic pass the ball to Hammer, true fact, Number 2-Legit on the
program. Hammer passed back to Magic, who passed to rap star, accused murderer
and quick forward Snoop Doggy Dogg. Snoop buried a three-pointer over world
heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield. Baseball beat Football 116-113.
Snoop, it must be said, could play.
I saw 24 radio
stations from around the country broadcast sports talk shows from a single
hallway of the Hyatt. A line of tables was covered with electronic equipment
and backed by shouting, gargling hosts, who handed out opinions each day during
drive time in their respective time zones. Guests moved from show to show,
producers scrambling for voices to fill air time. Is there no end to these
thing seems to grow exponentially," said Harvey Greene, the NFL official in
charge of the area. "Three years ago there were maybe five. Now, 24. You
bring a guest in there and it's a feeding frenzy, everybody fighting. If I do
this job again next year, I'm wearing a helmet when I go in there."
In an alcove off
the hallway were five elevators and a row of pay phones. A young real estate
appraiser named Ross Melamed was on one of the phones, calling his brother,
Elliot, in Miami, when former NFL coach Hank Stram, now a broadcaster and a
talk-show guest, tried to catch an elevator. Ross had a favor to ask.
he said, "could you talk to my brother, Elliot?"
Hank took the
phone. "Elliot," he said, "how are you?"
stuff is the best part of the Super Bowl," I say. "The game is a bore.
Everybody says so. Everybody said Buffalo-Dallas was boring last year, and
everyone says Buffalo-Dallas was boring this year. No one says the other stuff
was boring. The other stuff grows and grows. This was the best year ever for
best?" you ask.