Monday, January 04, 2010

Scenes from (one of) The Big Game(s)

Remember the good ol' days when there were about six college football bowl games and they were all played on New Year's Day? They had funny names like Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl that brought to mind whimsical imagery like a bowl of oranges, a bowl of sugar or...okay, maybe not exactly whimsical (although I defy you to show me someone who keeps cotton in a bowl). Now they're all sponsored by big corporations. Personally, I can't wait for the day when college bowl games are sponsored by college bowl games. The Little Caesar's Bowl Konica Minolta Gator Bowl has a nice ring to it.
There are so many bowl games that it takes about two weeks to play them all, making it impossible for anyone to even care about all of them, let alone actually watch them.
Well, Tampa Bay's got one of 'em; The Outback Bowl. Yes, it's got a corporate sponsor but it is played on New Year's Day (it's always the first game of the day) and it's been around for over 20 years so it's kind of traditional. I worked the very first one (when it was known as The Hall Of Fame Bowl) way back in 1986 and I worked this year's game too. This year's spectacle featured Auburn vs. Northwestern, the Wildcats first appearance in this bowl. Because I've always been a Northwestern fan, I was excited about being part of this game. And because nobody has ever documented a football game with photography before, I decided to take some pictures. Here they are:

Here's the Tampa P.D. bomb squad van outside the stadium. Notice the lettering on the front. If you can ever read that clearly in your rearview mirror, you're going to want to change lanes immediately and execute a U-turn as soon as possible.

This is the service tunnel in the south end of the stadium. I don't know if anybody finds this interesting but most people don't get to see it, so maybe.

Former Bucs fullback Mike Alstott still has a presence in the stadium. I think the security guard is there to make sure nobody actually pays $3.50 (yes, seriously) for a Coke.

Hey guys, are you late for breakfast or early for lunch? Haw haw!
Don't tase me, bro.

Kids in colorful clothing preparing for halftime where they will entertain a bunch of plastic seats that were occupied by people who are now in line to use the bathroom or buy a hot dog.

Here's the view from the tunnel leading out to the field.

Ever wonder what one of those fluorescent end zone pylons looks like up close? Well, today is your lucky day!

I've always been a fan of the Northwestern Wildcats and sometimes people ask me why. It's not a school with a glorious athletic history. But they do have fans like these guys... well as fans who've apparently cracked a book or two in their lives...
...while other schools have their own 18 wheeler.

Here's Willie The Wildcat, the Northwestern mascot. I wanted a picture of him almost as much as I wanted one of the two girls he's standing in front of. Hey, thanks Willie!

This Guy can't hear you!

The last time I saw a band wearing that much purple, Prince was making Apollonia cry. HIYO!!

Wildcat cheerleaders

My all-access pass (see above) gets me on the field, even though I have absolutely no good reason to be there...just like more than 50% of everybody else out there. This is something unique to football that wouldn't and couldn't be allowed in any other sport. Can you imagine a bunch of jamokes in blazers standing around in foul territory at a baseball game? If you've ever watched a football game and wondered what all those people are doing there, for most of them the two-part answer is 1) nothing and 2) hoping people see them standing there on the field, even though they aren't doing anything. Now you know.