By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns
The Media Center was open for business on Monday. Radio stations from around the country gathered on radio row with many other print and electronic journalists as they found a spot to call home in the working press area. Not many of the thousands of reporters have arrived yet, so I had my pick of many available seats.
CBS has its own little area in radio row, including spots for WFAN, CBS Sports Radio and CBS-owned stations from around the country. The likes of John Feinstein, Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb, Mike Francesa and many others all broadcast from the gated community that houses CBS.
The Media Center is decorated with large banners of the Super Bowl programs. Here's a favorite of mine, for obvious reasons.
As you all know, next year's Super Bowl will be at MetLife Stadium, so the NY/NJ Host Committee is here in New Orleans to promote the game. They made me feel right at home by handing out black and white cookies!
Business will certainly be picking up here in New Orleans as the week goes on!
THE RAVENS ARRIVE!
After the 49ers arrived on Sunday, it was the Ravens' turn to touch down in New Orleans on Monday. They held their first media session at their hotel, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was up first, and he addressed a wide array of topics during his press conference. He said that the team was excited to have a huge send-off by Ravens fans at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore before the team departed for New Orleans. He also talked about his gutsy move to change offensive coordinators late in the season, replacing Cam Cameron with Jim Caldwell. Harbaugh said he thought that the offense needed a spark, but also said that Cameron is a close friend of his, and he's part of the reason why the Ravens are in the Super Bowl.
Here are some other tidbits from the player's availability…
Ray Lewis, of course, drew the biggest media gathering, and he talked about how he went from being a "follower" when the Ravens went to the Super Bowl in 2001 to being a "leader" in this his final NFL season. He also said that he is in awe of the respect that he has received, a far cry from his public perception after the Atlanta Super Bowl incident in 2000.
Ray Rice was very engaging in talking about his rise from playing high school ball in New Rochelle to playing college football at Rutgers to being drafted by the Ravens. He's happy that everything has been so close to his family.
Joe Flacco was pretty vanilla in his remarks, but he did say that the Ravens and 49ers are very similar in that they both got hot at the right time.
CAPS FOR KIDS
This is a wonderful organization that is here in New Orleans this week for the Super Bowl. Caps For Kids is a nonprofit organization that distributes autographed hats to children, adolescents and young adults who have lost their hair from medical treatment due to cancer.
The organization was founded in 1993 in order to improve the spirits of young cancer patients nationwide. They utilize a network of volunteers that work to obtain hats that are autographed by athletes, entertainers and other notable personalities. The list of celebrities that have autographed hats in the past includes Adam Sandler, Drew Brees, Mario Lemieux, Peyton Manning and Faith Hill.
The caps are sent to patients at more than 115 hospitals. including the following in the NY/NJ area:
Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Maimonides Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, NY Presbyterian Hospital, Schenectady Regional Orthopedic Association, Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital, Women and Children's Hospital-Buffalo, Camp Open Arms and Cohen Children's Medical Center.
For more information on Caps For Kids, please visit their website at www.capsforkids.org.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Tuesday is Media Day at the Superdome, and thousands of reporters are gathering on the field to speak to all of the players and coaches on the 49ers and Ravens. As I mentioned on Monday, not every reporter is here based on pure football journalism. I'm not saying that they aren't reporters, but it's clear that they will not be hosting "The NFL Today" anytime soon.
Of course you also have the usual collection of super heroes, models, comedians and other characters posing as reporters. There should be one "reporter" in particular that will create quite the scene, as Miss Alabama Katherine Webb is covering the Super Bowl for Inside Edition.
I wonder if Brent Musburger will be around...
That's all for now! Check back on Wednesday for a recap of Media Day, the Media Party and other goings on here in New Orleans.
Super Bowl XLVII will be broadcast on CBS, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Offer your thoughts and comments in the section below...
for more features.