The NFL Super Mancation
Did you know the first known usage of the term ‘mancation’ comes from the Romans and the Latin phrase 'Superlus Bowli?' The great Emperor Titus once decreed that...ok, fine, I made that up. But just as the Coliseum is the world’s greatest sports venue, the ultimate mancation starts and ends with the Gladiators of the Gridiron and the Super Bowl.
Few sporting events are as tourist friendly as the Super Bowl. Locations are known well enough in advance to allow plenty of time to find the best deals on travel and accommodations, saving you money to pay more for better seats at the game.
Hotel location is probably the most important part of Super Bowl week planning. A centralized location between the stadium, the media center and the downtown area is key. If done right, you can go days without setting foot in a car, let alone drive one. Traffic gets downright brutal from Wednesday to Sunday. Your crew should find a good base camp and stay local. Driving and the Super Bowl don’t mix.
The media center is a great draw for athletes and celebrities with something to promote, and they ALL have something to promote, namely themselves. You must be a member of the media to gain access to the center, but the entrance areas are fair game, and you are guaranteed to see a ton of athletes and celebs filing in and out all day. Last year in Dallas, they included supermodel Marisa Miller, Jamie Foxx, Brooklyn Decker and Jay Mohr.
Visiting the host city also provides a great opportunity to experience local cuisine. From the BBQ in Dallas to the Mofongo in Miami, local food flavor is present on virtually every street corner in a host city. If you aren't adventurous, there will also be plenty of familiar options. Chances are good that a TGI Fridays will be located in or near any city hosting the Super Bowl.
If you have a group of six guys and want to hit up a steakhouse in Indy for the Super Bowl next year, plan in advance. Don’t be the guy walking the streets for two hours with his friends looking for a place with a short wait. Once you pick a place, don’t try to secure reservations. They’re too hard to get. Instead, look for a seat at the bar.
Anyone who has been to a Super Bowl knows that its appeal is more about the week leading up to the game than the game itself. By Wednesday of game week, planeloads of celebrities pile into town, and along with them come parties. Finding the parties is easy. Getting into them is another story.
Most of us aren't graced with VIP status, but that shouldn't be a deterrent at the Super Bowl. I have a 'friend’ who once got into a party as a ‘member’ of the 'photo crew' doing a 'piece' that night. Just be creative - you'd be shocked what people will believe. If you are feeling a little more low key and the VIP/Celeb scene isn’t your thing, no worries. Every bar in a 10-mile square radius is happy to have your business, and will have specials and live music most nights.
What you won’t accomplish on your Super Bowl mancation is obtaining autographs and pictures from those playing in the game. You will see current and former NFL players around town, but players on the teams playing in the game are hard to find. You have a better chance running into Snoop Dogg or Paris Hilton than you do Tom Brady.
The number one reason to attend the Super Bowl in person - the commercials, or the lack there of. That’s right, when you go to the Super Bowl, you don’t have to worry about making small talk about the commercials and you can watch the other things going on that night, like the game. If for some reason you can’t get a ticket to the game, you can still have fun at a local pub.
Every man should experience a super mancation at a Super Bowl at least once in his life. His true manhood just might depend on it.
Patrick O’Connor, the Director of Operations for the Dan Patrick Radio Show