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Super Bowl Awards: Bests, worsts of 48

February, 4, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII is in the books, and ESPN New York has a few awards to give out to the best and the worst performances of the week.

Least Appropriate Name: "Mass Transit Super Bowl." Considering that the most reliable modes of transportation were private cars and chartered buses, this didn't work out so well. A special razzberry goes to host committee CEO Al Kelly, who called the transit plan an “unprecedented success” six days before the game.

Warmest Welcome: The host committee planned for a cold winter's night, and provided a gift bag full of warm items for every fan, plus heating lamps scattered everywhere in MetLife Stadium. Even as the ice sculptures melted in the warmer temps, the effort was appreciated.

Biggest Security Fail: Remember 9/11 truthers? One of them got a ton of publicity by sneaking into Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith’s press conference. Bigger issue: How did a person with no ticket and no credential breach all that security?

Most Overblown Visual: Beneath the festive trappings, the toboggan run on "Super Bowl Boulevard" was just a big slide -- the kind you see at carnivals where you get the burlap sack to sit on -- plunked down in the middle of Times Square.

Best Musical Performance: Opera singer Renee Fleming took the National Anthem new heights. Her mastery over the difficult series of notes was impressive, and she didn’t overdo it like some less accomplished singers. Perfection.

Best Quote: Sometimes you just have to call it like you see it, and Peyton Manning didn’t like the wording of a question after his Broncos were thumped. "The word 'embarrassing' is an insulting word, to tell you the truth," Manning said.

Most Deserving MVP: Defensive players don’t usually get the credit, but linebacker Malcolm Smith, a former seventh-round pick, was the right call.

Pine Barrens Award: Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor was a big part of the planning, but mostly got lost during Super Week. When the scandal-mired Christie did hit Super Bowl Boulevard, he was booed. Later, when train issues overwhelmed Secaucus, there were a lot of jokes about political payback.

Wardrobe Malfunction Award: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who forgot to wear shirts. It was a much more gratuitous display of bare nipples than the fraction of a second that got Janet Jackson (but oddly, not Justin Timberlake) in so much trouble. The scandal should break any minute now, right?

That's all, folks. See you next year in Phoenix, unless there's a drought.

Photo: Super Bowl ice sculptures melting

February, 2, 2014
Super Bowl logo Kieran Darcy/ESPNNewYorkAl Gore will love this.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Super Bowl XLVIII is officially an upset, and the game hasn't even kicked off yet.

The temperature is practically balmy for early February in the New York metropolitan area -- so warm, in fact, that several ice sculptures outside MetLife Stadium are melting. The mercury reached 56 degrees earlier Sunday, and it's currently 52. We're expecting 46 degrees at game time with a slight chance of rain.

Now we wait to see whether Peyton Manning melts under pressure or leads his Denver Broncos to a championship.

Reports: Epic transit delays in New Jersey

February, 2, 2014
SecurityAP Photo/Matt RourkeFans wait to go through security at the Secaucus junction.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Mass Transit Super Bowl is in the process of dealing with a mass delay.

The weather isn’t the issue, but getting to the game doesn’t appear to be going as smoothly as the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee had hoped when it asked fans to arrive by bus or train if possible.

Reporter Matt Ehalt already encountered lines at the Secaucus junction at 1:30 in the afternoon, which was already a half-hour before fans would be let into the MetLife Stadium security perimeter. “Packed house right now,” Ehalt said, although the trip to the stadium was short once he got onto the train.

In the hours since, more and more fans have been tweeting photos of growing lines and complaining of heat in the crowded conditions. Other outlets have reported that the wait for a train has been extended to an hour and a half.

There isn’t an alternative. Fans aren’t able to walk to the game, parking passes are sold out and the Fan Express bus has been sold out.

Last week, host committee CEO Al Kelly said they were prepared for some glitches.

“We believe we’re ready and we’ve got good, solid plans in place all over the place,” Kelly said. “We certainly expect along the way a little challenge, here or there, will pop us and I think we have enough contingency plans.”

He said they had added to the scheduled services to accommodate the volume.

Fan Express buses seem to be arriving more regularly, although rider Kevin Jackson said there was some confusion to start the day when the Columbus Circle pickup spot was moved by a block.

In New York City, traffic along some routes, for example Ninth Avenue, was shut down in order to accommodate early media buses.

The train situation bears watching, and it’s worth noting that all these fans have to get home via train, as well.

Matt Ehalt goes to the Super Bowl

February, 2, 2014
Reporter @Matt Ehalt is live-tweeting his trip to MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl. No media shuttle for this guy -- he's going as a fan.

2 Days: Mars, Fleming worlds apart

January, 31, 2014
Bruno MarsBrad Penner/USA TODAY SportsBruno Mars has gone from performing magic tricks, to performing at the Super Bowl.
Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 2 days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- The Super Bowl halftime show press conference is like a little leftover slice of media day, with extra cheese.

On Thursday in the Time Warner Center's Rose Theater, Bruno Mars was introduced to a bevy of entertainment reporters -- including former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams, who asked the first few questions for a celebrity "news" show. She asked him if he had any fun surprises for his show.

Mars flashed a smile and said, "It's cold. That's the surprise."

The rest of the session was not nearly as illuminating as the show itself promises to be. We learned Mars grew up in Hawaii, once performed magic tricks for Pro Bowl cheerleaders and uses a lot of product in his pompadour.

“I’ve got three gallons of hair spray in this thing, I’m good.” Mars said.

[+] EnlargeRenee Fleming
Hiroyuki Ito/Getty ImagesFamed opera singer Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII.
It was the cotton candy equivalent of a snack, a small fluff of substance spun into threads and held together with a lot of hairspray. It was unintentionally funny, as Pepsi’s Simon Lowden introduced Mars as the "world’s biggest entertainer," only to have Mars come out and find the microphone a bit over his head.

"You got an apple box for me?" Mars said.

There couldn't be a bigger contrast between Mars and the opera singer chosen to sing the national anthem, Renee Fleming. Just before Mars started his ... whatever that was, Fleming breezed gracefully through a press conference with a point -- that the NFL has broken with pop, at least for part of the program.

“We are in a niche that is 400 years old and has range at the heart of it,” Fleming said.

Fleming was introduced as the “Peyton Manning of the opera world,” according to the NFL’s Brian McCarthy. She walked out and said the stage felt like familiar territory since it was still Lincoln Center.

How different are the two performers? Let’s see how they answered some of the same questions.

What was your preparation like for the Super Bowl?

FLEMING: “I’ve probably sung through it in my mind and vocally 800 times in the last three weeks.”

MARS: "We just started practicing two nights ago."

Goal with your performance?

FLEMING: "Luciano Pavarotti sang phenomenally for the World Cup one year and it changed his life, changed his career entirely. The national anthem is something that everyone knows and feels so strongly about, so above all I feel a tremendous responsibility to the 200th anniversary of the national anthem, so it’s a tremendous honor."

MARS: "I hope to get people dancing, get people smiling."

How are you a different performer from ones chosen in the past?

FLEMING: "There have been top, top, top performers, mainstream -- and sometimes country -- performing in this spot. I applaud them for doing something different this year."

MARS: "I feel like I'm still a new artist and the NFL is such a prestigious organization that they give the new guy a shot and I'm so grateful for that."

What do you expect from the experience?

FLEMING: “I work in a world that is completely no tech, zero amplification and all live acoustic music. So I expect to be really distracted by the amount of sound coming from the system from the size of the stadium, from the audience and visual of the JumboTron.”

MARS: “No matter where I perform it’s my job to uplift the people. So whether I’m performing at a graduation party, a wedding, a bar mitzvah, the Grammys, the Super Bowl, I’m going to give it all I got -- whatever happens, happens. I ain't scared if that's what you think!"

Who are you rooting for?

FLEMING: "This is my NFL history: I grew up in Rochester but my family were [from] Pennsylvania, die-hard Steelers fans ... This year I'm neutral and I'm just excited to be here."

MARS: "Now you're trying to get me in trouble!"

Sadly, Fleming's story, which is a milestone for a trained professional, will probably get lost in the flash and amplification of the halftime show.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

3 Days: Super Bowl Boulevard stops traffic

January, 30, 2014
Jeff Skopin / ESPN New YorkOrange you glad to be in New York?
Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 3 days until the Super Bowl.

Check out our gallery of Super Bowl scenes around town Photo Gallery

Calendar of events

NEW YORK -- There’s traffic in Midtown this week, and not just vehicular. Standing and gawking got more prevalent in New York City now that Super Bowl Boulevard is up and running, with everything from the Lombardi Trophy to the giant toboggan in Times Square. The NFL’s fan experience this year is outdoors on a stretch of Broadway that runs from 34th St. to 47th.

On Wednesday after the event opened to the public at noon, the huddled masses, many wearing team logos or, in one Broncos fan’s case, an orange feather boa and plastic Bronco hat, shivered from one exhibit to the next.

Sam Logios took her two daughters out of school early and brought them to see the Lombardi Trophy. Eva, 11, wore a Jets cap and said her favorite thing along the way was seeing all the football fans in one place. “It’s exciting to see the NFL in Manhattan,” she said. “You feel like you’re part of the Super Bowl event, but we can be home and warm and not have to spend all that money.”

And that’s the idea, making the NFL accessible to fans who may not attend the game. The streets are closed to traffic, but the foot traffic in the area is even worse than the usual crawl in Times Square.

This event was initially slated to be in New Jersey given the space it generally takes up. Usually it’s in a convention center or similarly large spot, but the Jacob Javits Center was booked by the time the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Committee made its initial bid to host the game.

Tickets for the toboggan are $5 but everything else is free. Matt Forte signed autographs on a constructed stage in the middle of the street, and fans could jump into various sponsored exhibits as well. Super Bowl Boulevard is open through Feb. 2.

For average New Yorkers, this may be as annoying as a flock of street fairs on a summer’s day. Broadway is closed to traffic for 14 blocks -- making the Super Bowl an impediment more than anything else.

As one of my roller derby teammates told me, and I’ll paraphrase, the Super Bowl would be a big deal in any other town.

But this is New York, we’ve got stuff going on.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

Olbermann to Super Bowl media: Get out!

January, 30, 2014

Bruce Smith comes clean on DUI

January, 29, 2014
NEW YORK -- Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith, who pleaded guilty to DUI in 2009, spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time about drinking too much and climbing behind the wheel -- at a Manhattan event sponsored by, of all things, a beer company.

Smith participated in a 60-second public service announcement that can be viewed on YouTube, asking fans to “Stay in the Game” and make smart decisions not only on Super Bowl Sunday, but also throughout the year.

“It was pretty simple," Smith said of his DUI. "It was after dinner [in Virginia Beach]. After dinner with business partners and some friends, we shared several bottles of wine, and I consumed several glasses. Quite frankly, the simple fact is, if you have more than two drinks in an hour, you’re over the limit. Without paying close attention to your surroundings, it’s easy to do. I’m only speaking for myself, not anyone else. I made a poor decision. And I’m coming forth and telling my story in hopes that we can encourage someone else not to make the same step.”

As a result of his guilty plea, Smith was fined $1,000 and given a 90-day suspended sentence. He also had to complete an alcohol safety program and had his driving privileges restricted for a year.

“I think it’s an important message that needs to be told,” Smith said Wednesday. “It can be painful or difficult to pull the scab off an old wound. It was 2009 when the incident with me happened, but I think with this being one of the biggest sporting events or the biggest sporting event in the calendar year, I think it’s important to help our fans and encourage them to drink responsibly and make sure they have a game-plan. That’s all it takes. Make sure you have a safe ride home if you plan to indulge. It makes for a better and safer atmosphere for everyone.”

Smith was compensated monetarily as part of his partnership with Bud Light.

“I didn’t have to do this," he said. "I thought it would be a great partnership and the message is, that I’ve stated before, I think this could have an effect on a handful of people or even more.”

Smith had two previous DUI arrests. A 1997 conviction was later dismissed, and he was acquitted in another case in 2003.

“That has nothing to do with this here. I pled guilty to this one DUI, and that’s what we’re here talking about,” Smith said.

The Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins linebacker has been working in real estate development along the Eastern seaboard.

He will not be attending the Super Bowl.

Asked for a prediction on the game, the Virginia Beach resident said, “My head tells me Peyton [Manning], my heart tells me I want the three Virginia guys do well, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor and Percy Harvin.”

Smith said he’s not crazy about the outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl.

“I think it should be fan-friendly,” he said.

4 Days: A Super forecast for Sunday

January, 29, 2014
Jeff Skopin / ESPN New YorkHas anybody ever told you to take a flying leap in Times Square? Now you can!
Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 4 days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- Might this not even be the coldest Super Bowl on record?

Up 'til now, the chilliest temperature ever at kickoff was 39 degrees, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on Jan. 16, 1972. After weeks of deep freeze and snow in the New York metro area, it's looking as though the NFL is going to luck out.

Jonathan Erdman of The Weather Channel says a mild front could push the highs into the 40s on Feb. 2 for Super Bowl XLVIII, meaning game time will be comfortable. “Sunday will be fairly benign,” Erdman said. “There will be a front that pushes through, but it won’t have much bark to it.”

Friday there could be a dusting of snow. The day to watch out for is Saturday, when low clouds could cause flight delays coming into local airports.

But come Sunday, the only thing happening weather-wise could be a little drizzle, Erdman said, and winds will be a low five to 10 miles per hour.

“As of right now, it doesn't look like weather will be much of an issue,” Erdman said. “They really tempted fate, but we’re in good shape here.”

Mass-transit glitches: In addition to last week’s Metro North service interruption, 800 passengers on a stranded New Jersey Transit train had to be rescued Wednesday morning. The stall was apparently due to a power outage, which was the same problem that took out the whole slate of Metro North trains last week. This has been dubbed the "Mass Transit Super Bowl" by organizers, who have already declared it a victory. We'll see about that.

Jeff Skopin / ESPN New YorkThrill-seekers tested the toboggan on Tuesday in Times Square.
Super Bowl Boulevard opens: Broadway between 47th and 34th has been closed for days, but at noon Wednesday, the toboggan ride, autograph station, and football-related games and activities will open to the public. This is the NFL’s fan experience, originally slated to be in New Jersey but moved to Manhattan’s midtown.

There are so many football-related happenings in the city this week, the following is just a smattering:

Madden Madness: The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, has an exhibit, “Madden NFL: 25 Years and Running” up until Feb. 23. Did you have any idea the video game was so old?

Winter is coming: Time Warner Cable has set up studio space on 14th Street at HighLine Studios and is offering customers a Super Bowl Week experience starting today. The exhibit includes costumes from Game of Thrones, in addition to the Iron Throne itself. You can get your tickets here.

Party with Namath and Simms: The MVP Party, located at the Roseland Ballroom on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., is offering a chance to hang with Joe and Phil. Saturday night is full of more happenings, including the Foo Fighters at the Bud Light Hotel, the Taste of the NFL in Brooklyn and the DirecTV Party featuring Jay-Z (who should have been the halftime-show artist). The VH1 Super Bowl Blitz will feature Gavin DeGraw in Montclair, N.J.

Brunch with Tyree and Bart Starr: Friday morning, the Marriott Marquis offers a meal with David Tyree and other current NFL stars such as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Individual tickets for Super Bowl Breakfast start at $250.

Rice at Pace: New Rochelle’s own Ray Rice will attend a Pace University event in Manhattan at 5:30 Wednesday. A discussion with memorabilia entrepreneur Brandon Steiner follows at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public, but you need to register on the website.

Don’t forget the kids! The Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Liberty Science Center in Jersey City both have Super Bowl-related exhibits for children (and adults). Liberty is waiving the admission for those younger than 18 on Saturday.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

5 Days: Greetings from Media Day, N.J.

January, 28, 2014

Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 5 days until the Super Bowl.

NEWARK, N.J. -- Super Bowl Media Day is like a bizarre dream. You could wander around the floor of the Prudential Center watching grownups dressed as cartoon characters go to interview athletes.

They are asked about their favorite meals, their pet peeves ... and, in one case, whether or not they can braid a reporter’s hair. It’s all in fun, a way to try to crack the surface on players as they prepare for the biggest moment of their professional lives.

Still, a serious comment or two can break through the cacophony. Richard Sherman, discussing the NFC Championship postgame interview: “I think if I’d had more time to think things over after the game it would have been better articulated. ... I definitely think it took something away from my team.”

This year, for the first time, the NFL sold Media Day tickets to fans, 7,100 of whom stood in the stands taking pictures and cheering for their favorite Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

Since this was a show complete with an audience, the NFL added a halftime, featuring Broadway performers and a Bruce Springsteen cover band. Miss New Jersey was even there to answer the question, “Are you a football fan?”

Of course she is, and isn’t everyone -- at least everyone in downtown Newark, on a day the streets closed down (Chris Christie had nothing to do with it) and police officers directed traffic around the frozen zone.

It’s Super Bowl week in New York and New Jersey, and it’s quite a show.

Not necessarily the news: Marshawn Lynch may be able to defeat goal-line defenses in a single bound, but Super Bowl media day is his Kryptonite.

The Seahawks' running back, wearing sunglasses and with the hood of his jacket snugly framing his face, spoke for 6 minutes and 21 seconds in a side area usually reserved for third-stringers and practice-squadders before darting out of range of the media questions.

Later, he came back and stood sullenly leaning on a backdrop but wouldn’t answer questions. Asked if he was avoiding a fine for not fulfilling an NFL speaking obligation, Lynch nodded.

"He doesn't feel comfortable in settings like this,” coach Pete Carroll said. “And he doesn't like to do things he's told to do. Fortunately that hasn't been a factor for our football team. But in this setting he becomes something of a recluse and he doesn't want to be part of it. We try to respect him as much as we can."

At Super Bowl Media Day, the biggest story was the one player who didn’t want to be there.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

6 Days: Committee head declares victory

January, 27, 2014

Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are six days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- A congratulatory news conference started off Super Bowl week as Al Kelly, CEO of the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee, declared the transportation plans for the game an “unprecedented success,” with two-thirds of all attendees expected to get to MetLife Stadium via mass transit.

“Hopefully when we do all the tallying for the weeks to come,” committee co-chairman Jonathan Tisch said, “the other 30 owners will say to themselves when there’s a chance to do this again, ‘Super Bowl XLVIII in New York and New Jersey was a huge success. Let’s try to do this once every 10 years.’”

There is still almost a full week to get to that point. There are plenty of shuttle rides, train trips and potential snowflakes to fall, but the hopes of a future MetLife Super Bowl -- and likely the hopes of Chicago and other outdoor cold-weather venues -- rest on how smoothly things go this week.

“The Super Bowl award comes down to a vote of 32 owners,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. “If they have a good experience and the game gets a positive review, does it open up the possibility the game could be played in other cold-weather cities? I think it does.”

When the Super Bowl comes to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, it will have gone through upgrades and assessments to withstand any challenges when it comes to power. Last year in New Orleans, the Super Bowl was stopped during a blackout.

“This stadium as it stands today, in the preparations and check-ins and learnings from last year,” NFL executive Eric Grubman said, “the stadium is in excellent position to have uninterrupted power.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, tarred by a scandal involving traffic and retribution, missed Monday's news conference.

“We’ve gotten great cooperation from his administration,” Mara said. “Fortunately, most of the work had already been done by the time that all broke. But even since then we’ve gotten great co-op from them.”

Christie was scheduled to make a related appearance in Newark later in the day.

As for the weather, the forecast looks good enough -- mid-30s without much possible precipitation -- that the host committee didn’t have to talk much about it.

“This whole Super Bowl XLVIII has been about a lot of firsts,” Kelly said.

The committee started by embracing the cold and the outdoors and by asking fans to learn how to use the region’s mass transit system.

Whether that means it’s an unprecedented success, it’s a little too soon to tell.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

7 Days: It's Super Bowl week in NY/NJ

January, 26, 2014

Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 7 days until the Super Bowl.

It’s starting.

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks arrive in New Jersey on Sunday to begin a week of preparation before Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tonight, as temperatures dip into the 20s, the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee will celebrate with fireworks and a concert at Liberty State Park in Hoboken. Daughtry, the Goo Goo Dolls and The Fray will perform. Just like the Super Bowl, if you don’t feel like sitting through it live, you can watch the festivities on Fox.


It's Super Bowl week. You feeling it yet?


Discuss (Total votes: 11,109)

But if you want to go, the event is free. Find out more on the host committee’s event page.

Game day forecast: Accuweather is predicting 35 degrees and a possibility of snow in East Rutherford on Feb. 2. ESPN Stats and Info has the coldest starting temperature for a Super Bowl at 39 degrees, and that was for Super Bowl VI in New Orleans. The two coldest temps were both recorded when the game was at Tulane Stadium. Remember that? No? Me either.

The Broncos have played three games this season that started below 40 degrees and went 1-2, while the Seahawks beat the Giants at MetLife in the coldest game of their season.

New Jersey snubbed: Some New Jersey politicians are annoyed that the NFL has done so little to include the state in promotional materials, the Associated Press reports. The state is spending a lot of taxpayer money to secure the game on Feb. 2, and was depending on the economic rewards of hotel stays and nights out in the area. Turns out -- who knew? -- a lot of that is happening on the other side of the river, along with the parties in the week leading up to the game.

Liberty for all: The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City will offer free admission to everyone 18 and under on Feb. 1. They have an exhibit on the NFL, which includes a lot of Hall of Fame material -- jerseys, old uniforms and equipment. They also have an interactive officiating station. We had a full review here.

Why not a Seattle Super Bowl? Tacoma’s News Tribune asks why, if New York can host a cold weather Super Bowl, can’t Seattle?

If form holds, Seattle would have to complete a new stadium or a massive upgrade in order to be granted a Super Bowl by fellow NFL owners. That’s the pattern for Indianapolis, New Orleans and now New Jersey.

Flea and Teen Mom: If you blinked you might have missed the hubbub surrounding the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea asking Twitter followers if they wanted to see all of him at the Super Bowl. The NFL is pretty sensitive about nudity after the Janet Jackson halftime show in 2004. The tweet was deleted. And in the bizarre realm of stuff you never needed to know, Flea tells TMZ that he’s going to keep it clean at the game.

The Chili Peppers used to perform wearing only strategically-placed tube socks. It was a thing. But I guess they’ve “grown up.”

And while checking out TMZ, I ran into Giants punter Steve Weatherford talking about a show he loves, “Teen Mom.”

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

10 Days: SBNY, under construction

January, 23, 2014
Super Bowl constructionAP Photo/Craig RuttleThe invasion of Times Square has already begun.
Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 10 days until the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- For the better part of a year, Lonny Sweet has been walking by the corner of Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street and planning the space across from Penn Station that, in less than a week, will become the 50 Yard Lounge and The New York Jets House.

On Thursday, the poles that will hold up a large tent in the spaces between Lugo Caffe and Local Cafe were being driven into place. By Sunday, Sweet and his team will begin changing the existing spaces into one contiguous lounge and food area for football fans during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

“It’s really just starting to come together,” Sweet said. “I’ve been bringing people by this site for the last seven months and to see it come together is pretty magical.”

[+] EnlargeSuper Bowl Blvd construction
Jane McManus/ESPN New YorkThey've brought in the heavy equipment to set up Super Bowl Boulevard.
But that doesn’t mean it’s gone smoothly. Tuesday’s foot of snow and the cold snap affected the pace of construction.

“These guys are pros,” Sweet said. “If we have a snowstorm they’re going to deal with it, but it doesn’t make it easy.”

The trucks, which had been scheduled to arrive Tuesday night, were delayed a day, and Sweet has moved heaters outdoors to keep his crew warmer.

All over midtown, Super Bowl-related projects are coming into place. Along Broadway in the 30's, where Super Bowl Boulevard will open next week, trucks have moved into place with their Super Bowl Boulevard parking passes on display.

FOX has built a studio in front of the TKTS booth in Times Square. The structure that will become the Bud Light Hotel concert venue is being constructed near Pier 88 on the West Side of Manhattan, and the Taste of the NFL is working on the space along the Brooklyn waterfront that will become the annual Saturday night gala.

It takes months of planning to produce the events and spaces that will exist in New York City and New Jersey for just one week.

The 50 Yard Lounge is selling daily tickets for access to the Penn Station space, which will have former NFL players, celebrity chefs and media personalities mingling with guests. The $400 price tag includes all food and drink, with a choice of Jim Beam cocktails and 36 different lines of draft beer. Local musicians are also slated to perform at nights, when the venue transitions into a party space.

In an adjacent space, the Jets are transforming Lugo Caffe into Jets House, a place for Jets season ticket-holders and sponsors starting Wednesday Jan. 29. While the 50 Yard Lounge is geared to football fans, Jets House is all about the Jets, players and fans.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

11 Days: A fan's guide to the Super Bowl

January, 22, 2014
MetLife stadiumJeff Skopin / ESPN New YorkAre we stronger than the storm, or what?
Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 11 days until the Super Bowl.

Getting to Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J., isn’t going to be easy. That’s not to say it isn’t worth it, or it or you won’t enjoy the game when you get there, but the fan experience at a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl is going to be significantly different than any other Super Bowl in a few ways.

It’s simple logistics. MetLife Stadium is miles away from where most people will be staying, whether that’s in Manhattan or Moonachie. Fans will have to plan their trip in and out well in advance or risk missing part of the game.

The access to and from this year’s event will be strictly controlled. You will not be able to walk to the game from across the street, and a cab or car won’t be able to drop you off near MetLife Stadium. The Super Bowl Host Committee is calling this the mass transit Super Bowl, and that’s because the majority of fans will have to take a bus or train to get there.

Here are your options:

What exit?: A parking pass costs $150 and there may still be a few for sale on the official website. As this story was reported, one lot still had passes available. The official transportation website stipulates that scalping parking passes is strictly verboten. But I did find passes for sale on StubHub starting at $291. There are only about 12,000 parking passes available, compared to 28,000 for a typical game day, and tailgating is not permitted.

Get on the bus, Gus: This is a bus to MetLife Stadium that costs $51 per seat, and requires a ticket to the Super Bowl in order to get on board. The bus isn’t a shuttle, where you show up and ride. You book a specific bus leaving from one of seven locations in Manhattan and New Jersey. Some of these buses are booking up, notably the ones leaving from Grand Central and the Waldorf. You also have to book a specific return bus to the same location you departed from.

All aboard NJ Transit: This is the least expensive option, although the price varies depending upon where you get on the train. You can start your trip at Penn Station if you are in New York City. All ticketholders will have to go to the Secaucus hub, where you can board a train heading to the Super Bowl. Fans will need to have both their train ticket and a Super Bowl ticket in order to gain entry to the train bound for MetLife Stadium.

Cars will all be swept for explosives on their way into the stadium on game day, and anyone who rides a Fan Express bus or NJ Transit train will have to go through metal detectors and possible bag checks before boarding.

Once fans get to the stadium, they will have to go through one of seven Welcome Pavilions on the grounds. These will feel a lot like airport security, with metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs. Security opens at 2 p.m. on Feb. 2 and fans will want to give themselves extra time for screening.

Season-ticketholders are used to the no-bag policy that the NFL instituted this year, but everyone else should check the official guidelines. You will only be allowed to bring one small clear plastic bag with you, and the NFL discourages even that. There is one gate designed to screen people who need to bring additional medical items.

Each fan will get a welcome bag filled with items like hand warmers and texting gloves. That and a few beers may be enough to stay cozy on a mild day, but casual NFL fans will want to dress like they are heading to the arctic. This game will take longer than a regular-season NFL game due to commercials and timeouts (but hopefully not blackouts).

There are warm common areas available for fans in the club seats, but not for the upper bowl, and the winds can make it extremely cold at night.

Whatever you decide to do, plan ahead. Bus reservations and parking passes are already disappearing.

In any case, enjoy what could be an epic game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, two teams who know how to handle the elements.

Got a Super tip? Contact me at jane.mcmanus@espn.com or on Twitter @janesports.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.

NFL postpones discussion of postponement

January, 22, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If a snowstorm like the one that just dumped a foot of snow on New York fell on Feb. 2, the NFL could consider moving the Super Bowl to Saturday or Monday.

Although NFL EVP Eric Grubman said he didn’t want to speculate on what specifically would have happened if Feb. 2 had been Tuesday, when both New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency, he did say that contingency plans are in place.

“We need 24 hours to move game time,” Grubman said Wednesday at MetLife Stadium. “We need 36 hours to move the day, we need 48 hours of notice or prep time, but we’re actually going to start as far as 72 hours in advance of staging additional resources if there is a [weather-related] threat.”

Although both states declared states of emergency, there was no travel restriction in New Jersey on Tuesday, according to New Jersey State Police public information officer Adam Grossman. Each storm is handled differently, and the last two haven’t forced drivers off the road.

“It depends on the weather and depends on if Governor [Chris] Christie and his cabinet and the Office of Emergency management decide to put in a travel restriction,” Grossman said.

About a foot of snow fell over New York and New Jersey, the region that will host Super Bowl XVLIII on Feb. 2. As the snow was falling, the NFL scheduled a Wednesday press conference to show how effectively the MetLife Stadium crews were able to remove all that snow.

“Our aim is to play it at 6:30 and we’ve got every available resource to do that as long as it’s safe,” Grubman said.

There were chutes attached to the upper bowl that could be used to push snow down toward the field, where it was incinerated by jet engine-powered snow melters. Outside, plows and shovels had cleared the parking lots and paths leading to the security pavilions that have already been erected.

The NFL plans to look through the timing of Tuesday’s storm to get a sense of how it would play out on a hypothetical game day, but didn’t do it on a day when state police were responding to accidents and weather-related emergencies.

“I did ask for people to gather that information so we could go back on a tabletop exercise and make some judgments,” Grubman said.

Most arrangements have been in place for months, and the NFL has planned contingencies long before this winter’s snow started falling.