Minidresses, McNabb, and a media madhouse

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When I imagined covering my first Super Bowl, I thought it would include palm trees and possibly heat exhaustion. I was way off, and the swimsuit I optimistically threw in my suitcase will only get pulled out if I need an extra layer, possibly as a scarf.

So I thought I'd piece together some random thoughts about covering this year's Super Bowl in Dallas.

• Players are everywhere. And I'm not talking just about the Steelers and the Packers. Former players come out of the woodwork to go on the radio here and discuss their charities or give some insight. Just the other night at dinner, Donovan McNabb and his family were at a nearby table. Under normal circumstances I would have leapt up and cornered him for a scoop on Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, but the guy was clearly off duty.

• I have never enjoyed ice skating but that's what you have to do to get anywhere using the sidewalks. And my compact rental car actually whimpered when I tried to take her out on roads that remain awful three days after the storm, so I carpooled in ESPNBoston.com Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss' SUV and we made it to the media center alive.

• I counted the women covering a lockout backgrounder, there were two of us in a room of about 50 reporters.

• Media day was the expected madhouse, and if you wanted to make a personal connection to Aaron Rodgers in the scrum, no chance. But the middle-roster players and rookies are there and pretty open. Veteran Packer Matt Wilhelm had his family coming to Dallas early to celebrate his 30th birthday. Packer Jason Spitz said that a reporter asked him what it was like to play for Vince Lombardi. Some of those players don't get a lot of attention, and despite the chaos, media day is a great opportunity.

• So the minidresses get a lot of attention Tuesday, but a lot of dudes have strange getups as well. I saw the matador in the media center on Wednesday, that's right, when everyone is supposed to return to turn back into a pumpkin. He was still in his red suit and all. I ask you, where is the outrage?!

• Nobody packed well for this event. I admired a fellow reporter's coat last night at dinner and then noticed something dangling from her arm. I helpfully pulled the tag off.

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