Before you ask, I’m running out of cover photos, okay? Deal with it.
On Saturday, January 25, 2020, I was given the opportunity to cover the Senior Bowl in depth. If you follow the podcast (link to the right) or this blog whatsoever, you already know this. Also, if you have been following this series at all, you’ve probably realized that I did not post a recap for Thursday, so I will do a quick recap of Thursday’s North Team practice before I get into my game recap and notes.
North Team Practice
So Thursday was kind of a slower day. I mentioned in my previous blog that it was raining all day on Thursday so practice had to be moved across town to the University of South Alabama’s “indoor” practice facility. I use quotations there because, well, just look for yourself.
So there are open sides, sure. But there is a roof! I don’t want to knock this facility too much, it is very nice. I did hear horror stories about this facility last year from several people. If you’ve ever been in Mobile, AL. for any length of time, you probably understand the type of rain that I’m about to touch on. I think Forrest Gump said it best:
“The good thing about Vietnam is there was always someplace to go. And there was always something to do. One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain, and big ol’ fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night.”
As you can imagine, this facility provided very little protection against that rain that flew in sideways. Luckily, this year the rain wasn’t sideways, just a normal Mobile drizzle.
So let’s get into the meat of it: because of class I was only able to attend the final half hour of this practice. This was a little disappointing as this was the only North Team practice that I was able to attend. I did get to see their entire full contact practice, though. Well, sort of. You all saw the picture, media was only allowed in the end zone opposite of where the players were. Whatever, I’m there for interviews anyway.
Practice ends and I get what I came for: interviews baby! So I’m starting to get comfortable at this point in the week and so I just basically run onto the field, walk straight up to Anthony Gordon, and get the first interview of the day with the former Washington State quarterback.
This interview felt the most comfortable to me by far. Like it just wasn’t even close. He used my name in this interview, seemed super relaxed, and we rolled with it. I realized about halfway through the interview that I had a television camera on me while I was conducting this interview. So, if you know which station decided to drop in on my interview, just hit me up.
I finish this interview with Anthony Gordon and I’m just through the roof (the facility did have a roof). So I’m just walking around with more confidence than ever, and I notice Shea Patterson being interviewed by another publication? Who was it? That doesn’t even kind of matter. I jump up, run over, and catch Shea before he can go anywhere and get an interview with him. So now I have interviews with two of the biggest quarterbacks in the game.
At this point I’m more than okay with the content I have, but I never stop so I walk up to Michael Pittman Jr. just as he’s finishing up an interview. Well, I got the old Lloyd Cushenberry treatment where security told me media needed to clear the field before this interview could even happen.
Anyway, I left after this. After this Zach and I recorded another episode of The Bluebloods (Links to the right). Be sure to check out Episode 50 to hear these interviews with Anthony Gordon and Shea Patterson!
Arriving at Ladd-Peebles Stadium
I know, I know. There is a day between Thursday and Saturday. Friday was nothing important. I was mostly just resting after a week of covering practices, recording episodes, and writing blogs. Tough stuff, I have the hardest job on the planet. In reality, there was just nothing really going on this past Friday. There was a lot of fan type stuff happening on Friday. I know there was the player meet and greet with fans, and there was even the inaugural Senior Bowl Parade downtown. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the Senior Bowl Staff does an incredible job, and I know that these events were hits. I just wasn’t super interested because there weren’t a ton of media attention around these.
So jump to Saturday, finally. I drive across town to get to the stadium and I run into the heaviest traffic I’ve seen in a while. By this point, I’m pretty aware of where the traffic in Mobile is going to be at and when. I did not see this coming. Not even a little. I really thought that I would catch a break by showing up to the stadium two and a half hours early for this game. So by the time I get to the main stadium parking lot, I realize why traffic was so heavy. For whatever reason, the only people allowed to park in Ladd-Peebles Stadium’s parking lot are those with parking passes. I was not one of those people. So what do I do? I flash the parking attendant my media credential and I get right in. I really didn’t think this would work, but I guess its true: If you act confidently enough you can get away with just about anything.
So I pull into the stadium (somewhat) legally. I walk up to security with my backpack and my credential around my neck. I was told by like three security guards that my backpack wouldn’t be allowed in… until they saw the credential then they just let me on in. At this point I started to realize the power that this credential really possessed.
Apparently the credential meant that I didn’t need to get my bag checked, but I had to go through a metal detector (without the bag). I got into the stadium, tried to find the entrance to the press box, couldn’t, and just walked around for 15 minutes. In these 15 minutes I asked at least 10 people that were working how I could get into the press box. Well, long story short, no one knew. I mean no one. So I left the stadium, happened to see someone with a credential go into a hidden door, and I followed. At last, I made it to the press box. Was I out of place? Sure. Did I care? Not even for a second.
I’ll continue with my Senior Bowl recap blog in another post. If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’ve read at least 1200 words today! Go take a break, wouldn’t want to strain yourself. I’ll be back to finish soon, stay tuned!