HOUSTON - Costumes, silly questions, and tens of thousands of people. You'll find it all at Super Bowl Media Night. What else did fans find this year? Baseball.
Super Bowl Opening Night.
What used to be known as Super Bowl Media Day has, for the second year in a row, become a primetime event. Players and coaches from both teams met the media for the first time since arriving in Houston, in front of roughly 10,000 fans who paid to be there.
Patrick DiMarco, Falcons fullback, was enjoying the event. “Opening Night, this is super cool. Couple thousand fans here just to watch us walk around.”
CJ Goodwin, also of the Falcons, said, “I've never been in a dome, baseball field. This is pretty cool.”
You may notice something a little different about the site of this year's Super Bowl Opening Night. It's not a football facility. It's Minute Maid Park, home of Major League Baseball's Houston Astros.
Peter O'Reilly, NFL Senior Vice President of Events, explains, “For us, we're usually oil and water. We don't mix. But for us, it's a great facility...lays out really well. We've done it in arenas, we've done it in basketball and hockey arenas."
In fact, a hockey arena hosted last year's event. It was the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Minute Maid is a much bigger venue, more than twice the size, which means more fans.
O’Reilly says, "We've tried to design it in a way where you forget you're in a baseball stadium, you know you're in a football event. Two football teams walking out on stage. But it's a good marriage, the Astros have been good partners."
And it certainly helps that they don't exactly need to use the park themselves for a while.