Super Bowl 45: A running Dallas diary

191543.jpg

Super Bowl 45: A running Dallas diary

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
SUNDAY 9:30 PMI don't floss often. Not that I don't want to. I love thatjust-flossed feeling. Blowing air throughthe formerly plaque-filled spaces between my teeth. Mmmmm. Tidy. I just never get to it. I'm a late-to-bed kind of guy and by the time I get upstairs,I'm groggy from having fallen asleep downstairs in my big, brown comfy chair. And I never have time in the morning because I suffer from CLD (Chronic Lateness Disorder). But this week, I plan to floss hell out of my teeth.See, trapped in a hotel room on the 23rd floor of theSheraton Dallas ("1,840 rooms -- the biggest Sheraton in the world," boastedCory, who checked me in),I'll havethe opportunity to take care of all hygiene with abandon. Why am I telling you this? Because you know the storylines forSuper Bowl 45.Packers. Steelers. Storied franchises. Franchise quarterbacks. Both have yellowin their color schemes. And we'll get to all that. Butwhat happens when you cover a Super Bowl? What's the week like? What do you doooo? I find people are just as intrigued -- ifnot more -- by that.
Sothis week, I'm going to give you the skinny on what goes on. Every day. Most of the minutes. How itall goes down. I'll do my stories on the team arrivalsMonday, do my TVhits for SportsNet Central near the stadium every afternoon, work on a variety of story ideas I fleshed out on the plane, update the blog with as much Patriots-related info as I can. But I'll also keep you up on my hygiene. And so much more. My flight this morning was at 11 a.m. US Airways through Washington and into Dallas at 3:45 Central time. (I know I will screw up the time between Eastern and Central this week. Inevitable. I just hope it's showing up an hour early rather than an hour late.) My nephew Chris drove me in, picked me up at 8:15 a.m. and had me dropped off by 9. Two eggs, sausage, homefries at Sbarro in Terminal B, post-breakfast nap and on the plane at 10:30 sitting in first class (I fly a lot, so I get bumped sometimes). Read the end of a Jack Reacher novel ("61 Hours" . . . I like his books) and . . . napped again. During my little layover in Washington, I drafted a budget of stories for the week for my boss, the estimable Art Martone. There are big picture stories (Rodgers, Roethlisberger and our insistence on lists, lists, and lists, the 18-game season, how teams combat Twitter info flow) and Pats-related stories.It's an aggressive list.We'll see how many Icross off by week's end. On the Washington-to-Dallas flight,we'd barely gotten airborne when the 6-foot-2 woman in front of me reclined. With verve. That erased the chance of me getting my laptop out and working on . . . anything. So I napped. When I woke up, I could feel in my throat I'd been snoring. The lady next to me confirmed that, yes, I'd been snoring. Awesome. By the time we landed, I'd learned that the woman next to me, Angela, was representing a PR firm doing work for Visa on a video game that helps kids get the basics of financial management down. She was doing a seminar Monday with Matt Forte and Lance Briggs of the Bears and Tashard Choice and Felix Jones of the Cowboys. I said I'd try to get to it, but I think the Steelers' arrival over in Fort Worth is going to keep me from getting to both. She'll never find me. After getting to Dallas, I scuttled to my rented Altima and drove the 25 minutes to the city. I've never been to Dallas. Whenever I covered Cowboys games, I stayed in Irving near the stadium. So far, all I've seen is the highway, an off-ramp and the street leading to my hotel. This is my eighth Super Bowl and I usually arrive on Sunday when the volunteers, service staff and everyone elseare giddy to assist folks after months of planning for our arrival. Four guys made a moveto hold the front door of the Sheraton when I approached it. By next Monday, they'll be kicking us in the ass to get us out. Eventually I got into my room. The front desk guy wrote the wrong room number on my room key slip so I spent two minutes trying to get into the room next to mine before going 23 floors down to find out I was actually one room over. But, hey, I'm at the Super Bowl. What's a minor inconvenience? I got the lay of the hotel, found the fitness center, the taverns, checked out the media room and then went down to have some wings in the bar and watch the start of the Pro Bowl. Even for a Pro Bowl, the game was light-hitting.I sat down at the bar next to former Patriots backup quarterback Jim Miller, who now works for SIRIUS. We talked a little about the hasty end to the Patriots' season, the 18-game schedule and what he thinks will happen with the lockout (he thinks it's coming). Monday starts quietly. I'll spend the early morning going over my plan for the week with my boss and trolling the media center for nuggets, tidbits and blog fodder.I'm on with Jim Rome around noon. The Steelers get to town at 1:30; the Packers at 3:30. There is access to the head coaches and a few select players at the Omni in Fort Worth.I'll get in the Altima after the Jim Rome hit to get to that, then go over to the Arlington Convention Center near the stadium for TV at 4 p.m. It's amazing how different this event is when the team you directly cover isn't in it. Had the Patriots made it, CSNNE may have had more than 30 people here on the TV and digital sides to cover it -- a crew that would dwarf the numbers of anyone else in our area. Now? It's just me. Me and my floss.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

a-j-green.jpg

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.