Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

The New Super Bowl

This is the 26th year I’ve been going to the Super Bowl. On one front that seems like a lot of games, but on another it seems like a drop in the bucket. I’m on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee and some of the guys on that committee have been to every Super Bowl.

But I have seen change at the game and for the week.

The Super Bowl has always been a celebration of pro football, a gathering of the greats of the game and kind of a convention for everybody associated with pro football. That used to be a fairly small group involving, players, coaches, administrators, media and a few associated businesses.

It’s not that anymore.

The game played on Sunday between the two top teams in the league is the common ground that holds the week together but the “party” is what the “game” has become. Corporations, the NFL and the Players Association have numerous events to promote different things. The league marches from one day to the next with a very regimented, scripted agenda, promoting one thing or another whether it’s a charity, neighborhood improvement project or something the league has cooked up overseas.

The NFLPA is involved in promoting themselves as a separate entity, a place where current and retired players can celebrate their “fraternity.” They have their projects, but they’ve put together a brand that promotes partying at the highest level. Those are the tickets that are coveted during Super Bowl week, the tickets to the “Players Parties” where stars from all kinds of sports are around and you might get a glimpse of Michael or Tiger, or Shaq or somebody who gives that party some kind of legitimacy.

Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Maxim Magazine and other nationally known businesses and publications have always sponsored the big parties. But because of the economy Playboy and SI have cancelled their parties. Maxim is still on the schedule but I’ve never been impressed with that party anyway. Lots of hype, not a lot of substance but maybe I’m looking for something else.

“See and be seen” is the mantra of the Super Bowl. If you’ve played in the league, you pretty much can’t go anywhere without getting mobbed, either for an autograph, a picture or some kind of interview.

Radio Row is one of the big changes at the game. It used to be that a few radio stations were broadcasting from different locations in the Super Bowl city. Now, the Super Bowl headquarters hosts a huge room full of broadcast entitles. From the NFL Network to every syndicated and local radio station in the country, everybody’s set up in the same room.

Imagine what happens when somebody like Joe Namath walks through that room! It’s bedlam with everybody trying to get a minute with a legend on the air. Of course, the legend is selling something: a book, a product, an appearance somewhere. It’s a big show, and it can be very entertaining.

All kinds of announcements are made at the Super bowl as well. Never heard of any? Of course not. They’re just being made there so the corporation or whomever can say they put it together at the Super Bowl.

Practices are closed except to one reporter and one photographer. Press conferences are everyday, even after the celebrated “media day” with select players and coaches available. Media day is truly a circus. This year the key to getting an interview was to wear a dress. Especially if you’re a man. Women garner all of the attention at this testosterone convention so if you wear a dress, and you’re a guy, you’ll stand out. If that’s what you’re looking for.

They’ll get around to playing the game. Eventually. Outside of the press conferences the players are generally sequestered but they can find their way around the Super Bowl city. There’s trouble to be had if that’s what they’re looking for.

Wonder why Tampa is hosting the game again? Strip Clubs, Nightclubs and Casinos. That’s the key as a Super Bowl host.

Warm weather helps, but not necessary.

Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Tim Tebow: Stay Or Go?

I think he’ll stay.

What he should do is up to him. Outside of his parents, everybody else should stay out of it. One thing I’m sure of: Tim Tebow will do the right thing.

Speculation as to whether Tim would spend four years at the University of Florida started the day he announced he was going to be a Gator. And the rumors have been rampant since then. “His Dad has a plan,” or “Tim promised he’d stay four years,” got going right away. Honestly, I don’t think the Tebow’s know at this point.

“We haven’t talked about it,” his father, Bob, told me on Thursday. “Right now we have a game to play (the BCS title game against Oklahoma) but we’ll sit down next week.”

I believe that.

The only time Tim talks about it is when the media asks, and then he doesn’t say much. “I can’t imagine going there (to the Florida campus) and telling them I’m not coming back,” Tebow admitted after the game on Thursday. “I love Florida, I love being a Gator.” All that aside, it’ll be a very thorough process, figuring out what will be best for Tim, not only in his career but in his life.

“I promise Tim will be very well informed,” Urban Meyer said in his press conference on Friday when asked about the decision making process when it comes to professional football. “I’ll put him on the phone with people I trust so he’ll know where he stands,” Meyer allowed.

He included Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio among those he’ll get an opinion from. “I have great respect for him and he’s opened up his program to us, so I’ll get Tim on the phone with him.”

Everybody who reports on the NFL has an opinion about Tebow’s ability or where he’ll be drafted. Better footwork, stronger arm, better decision making, whatever. All of those things have been said about Tim’s quarterbacking skills. Some parts of those might even be true. But historically, Tebow has accomplished everything asked of him.

If some team didn’t like his arm or footwork or whatever, all they’d have to do is ask, and he’d fix it, right away. Better footwork, stronger arm? No problem. Decision-making? He’ll spend hours in the film room. One thing that can’t be quantified is his leadership. He did it in high school and again in college, dragging his team, and the fans along with him to an emotional peak. Not everybody can do that.

So where will he be drafted?

Most list him as a late second, early third rounder. That would be the bargain of the century, and if that’s what the Tebow’s hear, he’s definitely coming back for his senior year. There’s only one reason Tim would come out early and that’s money. No doubt his salary will go to his father’s ministry but it’d be silly to come out as a third round pick with limited up front money available. If that’s the case, he’ll stick around and try to win another National Championship and another Heisman.


Florida loses nobody on defense and four starters on offense. “I’m not as worried as I was two years ago,” Meyer admitted when he was asked about guys turning pro. “We’re better and have built a program.” The only irreplaceable guy is Percy Harvin and of course, Tim Tebow.

When I talked with Bob Tebow in Thursday, we were semi-joking about Tim’s “star power” when it comes to selling tickets. If the Jaguars drafted him would they sell more tickets? Absolutely. Even not as the starter.

I was also talking the Suns owner Peter Bragan Jr. on Thursday and he wondered if Tim might want to play baseball for the summer. “He can wear a Suns uniform all season,” Pedro noted. “Hitting a baseball is Tim’s best athletic talent,” his Dad noted with a smile when I told him about the Suns offer.

Think that would sell tickets?