After a fabulous regular season and scintillating playoff season, the road has finally led us to North Texas. Of course, at Super Bowl XLV Media Day, we were sliding off that road on some black ice, but that’s beside the point. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are ready to do battle in front of what’s expected to be the largest crowd to watch the Big Game in person and the largest national television audience in the history of the medium.
In other words, this whole deal is Texas-sized. No pressure.
Of course, your humble podcaster tried to put together a collection of guests worthy of the very first official podcast of the NFL from a Super Bowl. I had to get actual players actually playing in the game: NFC Championship Game defensive hero B.J. Raji and the champion’s belt he borrowed from Aaron Rodgers phoned in to the podcast as did Pittsburgh’s beloved tight end Heath Miller, getting set for his third Super Bowl appearance in seven years. Good times.
Plus, for the first time in this podcast’s history, we reach into our archives — I assume the collection of shows we’ve built up over the last 20 weeks could be legitmately called an “archive” — and re-visit a large portion of the chat we had with Rodgers back in Week 3, just before the Packers took on the Bears in the first of three eventual matchups. Back in September, Rodgers spoke a lot about his long journey to self-made football excellence and I figured it would be an interesting listen, especially since we know now what Aaron didn’t know then — the journey would take him to the Super Bowl by season’s end.
I’m pleased to say Joe Buck returns to the podcast. We last spoke with the lead play-by-play voice of the NFL on Fox back around Thanksgiving and I dialed him up mere days before he will call the action of Super Bowl XLV on Fox. Joe has become a defacto Packers expert, having called their last five games, including the largest audience to ever watch an NFC Championship Game. Of course, we raise the subject of Jay Cutler and how Joe and Troy Aikman handled MCL-Gate in real-time. Always fun chatting with Joe and this conversation didn’t disappoint.
Then, one of the best champions this country has ever produced called into the podcast: Seven-time Grand Slam champion and die-hard New York Jets fan John McEnroe. One of the best television analysts in any sport, McEnroe is full of opinions so we touch on several subjects: his beloved Jets, Rex Ryan’s coaching style, Cutler and his colleagues’ Twitter criticism of him, Super Bowl XLV and his surprising cameo in an Oreo commercial during Championship Weekend.
Last and certainly not least, we phoned up NFL Films president Steve Sabol. One of the few men walking the planet to have attended every Super Bowl ever played, who better to lend perspective on this history-laden matchup between the Steelers and Packers? It’s also possibly one huge week for the Sabol family: Steve’s dad, Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films, is a finalist for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, unbelievably, for the first time. We ask Steve about it all. He also tells a fabulous Howard Cosell story and recounts how his dad hired the legendary voice of NFL Films, John Facenda.
So, as always, be sure to listen to the last drop goodness.
Happy Super Bowl everybody. Hope you enjoy the final podcast of the playing season. A whole offseason awaits.