Miami It happens today: The supreme axis of excess. It's Media Day at Dolphin Stadium! This is the event at which thousands of bleary journalists arrive in a slow, mooing herd and interview one team of players who would rather be sleeping, and then the next. Annually, it's a close call to determine whether it's the writers or the players who are more bored and want less to be there.
This also is the occasion at which an estimated 253 sports columnists from coast to coast bemoan and rail against Super Bowl excess by actively taking part and writing about it.
The good news? I hit it big in Monday's media lottery draw. I win top prize - a nonstop, direct flight to Sunday, avoiding every scintilla of mindless preamble, such as Brian Urlacher calling his team the "stepchild" in this game because evidently his major-market Bears with the 15-3 record have not gotten enough credit - if the Media Day circus includes either a precocious kid from Nickelodeon asking adorable questions, a journalist from Mexico dressed like a superhero or Joe Theismann availing himself for interviews with casual desperation.
Loving my chances.
¢ By the way, we apologize to out-of-town visitors for the chillier-than-usual weather. Local meteorologists are blaming the coldness on the aftereffect of Nick Saban.
¢ This is a place where I might mention, amid the Lovie Smith/Tony Dungy-first-African-American-coaches backdrop, that Bears founder George Halas was among the old-guard owners initially opposed to the NFL integrating. Except I'd feel like the Jesus guy who walks down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras revelry carrying the "World Is Ending" sign.
¢ Today is the first day both teams will practice locally, with the Colts and Bears putting a premium on not getting anybody hurt. Cannot confirm the only exception is that Chicago is quietly encouraging a Rex Grossman injury by having him practice in bare feet.
¢ NFL officials have come out with a list of prohibited items that cannot be brought into the stadium Sunday. The list includes umbrellas, coolers, beach balls, banners, weapons and O.J. Simpson.
¢ An NFL-sponsored event at Johnson & Wales culinary school Tuesday night will feature local chef Michelle Bernstein showing children how to eat healthier. Not sure the name of the program. They rejected my suggestion: "Kids! Don't Grow Up To Be Fat Like An Offensive Lineman!"
¢ Super Bowl-related proposition bet actually available, too stupid for even us to make up: What's the greater number - Peyton Manning touchdown passes or James Blunt Grammy awards?
¢ A commercial for the NFL Network to air during the Super Bowl was shot Sunday in North Miami Beach, starring Bengals receiver and Miamian Chad Johnson. The ad depicts an eclectic array of guests attending Chad's Super Bowl party, including footballers Edgerrin James, Reggie Bush and Warren Sapp, soccer star David Beckham, child actor Angus T. Jones (from Two and a Half Men), LL Cool J, Jimmy Fallon, Rascal Flatts and - no lie - former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and domestic diva Martha Stewart.
The spot does not feature any of Johnson's Bengals teammates, who all are in jail.