In one word: It was awesome. And it was completely absurd.
We got off to a hot start when I asked Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount a trivia question he didn’t know he was the answer to.
The absurdity of being at the center of the NFL universe really hit when we saw players doing regular guy stuff. And that became one of our go-to questions; what is the most low-key regular guy thing you do?
We saw Saints RB Alvin Kamara trying to enjoy food at the Shake Shack while being pestered for a selfie by a grown man. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky hanging out with two of his buddies in the food court looking exactly like a 20-year-old hanging out in the food court of a mall. Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, absolutely the biggest human being I have ever seen, in the food court eating the biggest plate of fried chicken I have ever seen. Super agent Leigh Steinberg and I shared light conversation in a men’s restroom.
Melvin Gordon lotioned up his hands during our interview and shook my hand. Then he shook former QB Bruce Gradkowski‘s hand. Then Bruce and I shook hands and laughed at the ooze that was coming out of the grip.
Later on, Bruce brought Lions’ WR Marvin Jones Jr. to our table and we did a four-man roundtable about how stacked the Bengals receiving corps – Jones, AJ Green, Sanu, Andrew Hawkins – was when B Grad was the QB there. One of my favorite shots of the week:
Cardinals RB David Johnson giggled after the fourth question at the pure absurdity of Joe and I. And at the lack of football questions. “This is the most fun I’ve had doing an interview this week.” So I threatened him with a played out, “How does Carson Palmer‘s knee injury affect the offense going into next season?” question that we’ve all heard 500 times. He said, “Nooooo!”
It was those kinds of experiences that made Radio Row so awesome – when you weren’t distracted by the fact that you can’t connect to the internet a few seconds prior to your first interview on day one.
Radio Row Super Bowl – DAY ONE
I haven’t been so dependent on a hard-line internet connection since 1994 when I was kicked out of AOL chat for “Vulgarity.”
We started our first live stream via WiFi and quickly learned that with 300+ media members also on “The Row” sucking off the signal, it wasn’t going to work.
Thankfully we were in Minneapolis at the Mall of America which has everything, including a USB to Ethernet adapter that audio/video engineer extraordinaire Matt Stewart was able to locate in one of the Apple Stores and hotwire like MacGyver (the old one). From there, we were on and rolling thanks to Autotrader who sponsored us all week. And also led us to our other recurring questions:
1) What was the first car you ever owned?
2) How long could you survive in the mall without leaving the mall?
Our first interview was with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Super Bowl champion Joe Theismann – and we had yet to test the connection. Fortunately it worked, and we got some great stuff from Joe. From there the guest list never slowed down.
Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m not watching that garbage, it’s the same old stuff, nothing even remotely interesting.
Don’t bother watching CBS sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl spend three minutes talking about the unsheathed, used Blow Pop that was sticking out of her purse. Don’t listen to CBS industry icon Pete Prisco tell us about how he invented Antonio Gates. Don’t bother listening to Spice Adams pretty much asking us to adopt him. You guys don’t want us to ask the normal stuff so we don’t ask the normal radio stuff.
Do you realize that Chicago Bears Huddle host and former Bear Adams told us a personal story about wearing the same underwear to Bears HQ and how former teammate/veteran DE Alex Brown pulled him aside and called him out? Check out his jacked up hands. And, he never ate the Cronut.
Radio Row Super Bowl – DAY TWO
This can be summed up in two words – Land O Lakes Farm Bowl. We went to the University of Minnesota campus to broadcast from the inaugural Farm Bowl where Jerome Bettis, Greg Jennings, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Jason Brown & Luke Kuechly competed for the tractor trophy.
I handled the sideline reporting duties, even thought I had no idea I’d be handling the sideline reporting duties. The only reason we got the spot we did (literally in the penalty box at the University of Minnesota’s ice hockey rink) was because that’s where the hardline internet connection was. But we did such a good job, the refs on the field began funneling the players to us for interviews.
Our first soundcheck was my interview with Carolina All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly. When I woke up that morning I had no idea I’d be giving Jerome Bettis a hard time about his putrid display in the Farm Bowl a few hours later. But when it was time, I did.
Radio Row Super Bowl – DAY THREE
This is when the foot traffic really picked up. We’re in the middle of a mall surrounded by shoppers and NFL fans watching us talk all day.
Friday was unbelievable. LinkedIn king Gary Vaynerchuck dodged our interview request. Devin Hester heard one of my questions wrong but his answer made it better. Joe Thomastold us about how he fishes Lake Erie and laughed when I suggested the name of his podcast with Andrew Hawkins (Thomahawk) should be renamed “Hawkass.” Sophie Julia answered ridiculous questions from BC fans and Will Brinson put in a performance for the ages. My mom enjoyed the show and wasn’t disgusted so that’s a bright spot.
The entire guest list of our interviews on Radio Row at the Super Bowl was nutz:
- Devin Hester
- Will Brinson
- Sophie Julia
- Travis Kelce’s voice
- Ian Rapoport
- Andrew Hawkins
- Joe Thomas
- Bruce Gradkowski
- Marvin Jones Jr.
- Bruce Gradkowski interviewing Marvin Jones Jr.
- Melvin Gordon
- Logan Woodside
- Lance Moore
- Joe Theismann
- Spice Adams
- Jerome Bettis
- Greg Jennings
- Stefon Diggs
- Kyle Rudolph
- Jason Brown
- Luke Kuechly
- MMA fighter Matt Mitrione
- JT The Brick
- Matt Paradis (possibly the best interview)
- David Johnson
- Jordan Howard
- Pete Prisco
- Gus Frerotte
- Robert Nkemdiche
Radio Row Super Bowl – SUMMARY
For some reason I wore Chicago Bears attire almost every day. I think that’s why we were so well received – anyone wearing Bears attire must have a great sense of humor and a strong stomach.
Me, Matt and Joe produced 15+ hours of live streaming video content over three days on equipment that cost several tens of dollars.
We had Draft Kings and their eight-person staff to our left, and CBS Sports directly to our right. They had some of the best equipment you will ever see in your life, and mine, combined. And by the end of it they were laughing at our shtick.
Radio Row was great. I can’t even count how many times I got the giggles, just from the sheer absurdity of it all.
And as Wavy Gravy once said, “When you lose your sense of humor, it just isn’t funny anymore.”