INDIANAPOLIS – Cris Collinsworth is one of approximately 5,000 reporters credentialed for Super Bowl XLVI this Sunday in Indianapolis.
Whittled down, he is one of approximately 175 NBC personnel on hand to get the game on the air to an audience that should number north of 160 million viewers.
Distilled even further, he is one of two men in the broadcast booth, sharing the game call with veteran Al Michaels. It will be the eighth Super Bowl call for the golden-voiced Michaels. Collinsworth will be making his second Super Bowl broadcast appearance.
The pair has visited Indianapolis frequently through the years because of Colts games. Collinsworth views Super Bowl XLVI differently even more. He is a resident of Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, a Cincinnati suburb. Indianapolis is a short commute, and one Collinsworth sees as a great opportunity for a non-normal Super Bowl site.
"I'm thrilled it's in Indianapolis," said Collinsworth. "It was a two-hour drive for me. I don't have to battle the airport on Monday morning. Even if you're in Los Angeles or Miami, it's an absolute zoo the day after the Super Bowl. I will get in the car and drive home.
"We've talked that Indianapolis (leaders) really intelligently designed this place to host big events. I came here for the Final Four when Butler lost to Duke on the last-second miss. It's probably a good thing (the ball didn't go in). That probably would have torn down the new stadium (Lucas Oil Stadium) if the ball had gone in from mid-court. Now, coming back for the Super Bowl, the city does a great job with big events. I love seeing a Midwestern city getting the chance to host a Super Bowl. I'm sure they will do an outstanding job."
Collinsworth is enamored of the atmosphere Indianapolis provides, as well as for the amenities that has made this the 14th different site to hold a Super Bowl.
"The compact nature will add to the atmosphere," said Collinsworth. "I know the Patriots are (practicing) at the Colts' facility. The Giants are (somewhere else). It's pretty amazing the city has so many world-class venues for these teams to practice within such a small area.
"We went through our stadium deal in Cincinnati and they decided on an open air stadium. I always kind of looked over here (Indianapolis) and said, 'Look at the possibilities.' I think if Cincinnati had built a domed stadium, they probably with a new stadium would have hosted a Super Bowl like Indianapolis did, too. Indianapolis took advantage of the opportunity and really knocked it out of the ballpark."
Collinsworth had the chance to broadcast Super Bowl XXIX with FOX Sports. This being his second chance, he is aware of how special the opportunity is to man the booth this Sunday.
"I got to do one other one with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman when Philadelphia played New England in Jacksonville. It's a thrill," said Collinsworth. "You try not to think about how many people you are talking to at the end of the day. Is it 120 million, a 140 million, who knows how many people will watch this one? For all of us, the players, coaches, even the broadcasters, it's a lifetime achievement award. There aren't many people who have had a chance to call one of these things. It's going to be exciting."
Sunday's will be a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, when the Giants defeated unbeaten New England. Collinsworth finds no shortage of angles for the game.
"I went to both teams' practices last week in their respective towns and have studied but even off the top of my head, I made two full pages of notes (beforehand)," said Collinsworth. "I've never seen a Super Bowl or a regular season game that I thought had more storylines going into it as this one does. The potential legacies of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady (are involved). Turn it over, if Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning win this thing, the whole world feels like it's flipped upside down. You're talking about Eli as a Hall-of-Fame player with two Super Bowl wins. It's (the Super Bowl) in Indianapolis, he's probably over at Peyton's house right now enjoying the sauna or whatever. There are so many different aspects to this game – Belichick and Coughlin used to scheme against each other (with the Giants). One was the (defensive coordinator) and one was the receivers coach. They used to go at it in practice every day designing things against each other. There's so much history, there's so much of a story that goes along with this game. I hope I don't get caught up in just the history, because we'll be watching history on Sunday."
NFL SUPER BOWL NOTES
*Designated "home" teams for Super Bowls are 20-25. No Super Bowl has been played on the home field of a participant. The 1979 Rams played at Pasadena. The 1984 49ers played at Stanford. Those are the two closest participants in location to the game sites.
*Super Bowl XLIV was the first one pitting teams (Colts and Saints) that played home games in domed stadiums.
*Super Bowl XV between Oakland and Philadelphia at the Louisiana Superdome was played five days after the release of American hostages from Iran. On game day, a huge yellow ribbon hung on the stadium and Raiders and Eagles players had yellow tape on their helmets.
A 2010 Rasmussen Report indicated 33 percent of respondents rated the Super Bowl as the favorite championship event to watch. The World Series was a distant second at 12 percent.
SUPER BOWL – Quote/Unquote
"The (Super Bowl) ring is the single most important thing in sports. It's the best of all the world championship rings." – Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins
"Forget about being the MVP, forget about being in the Pro Bowl. Those things are nice consolation prizes if you don't get a Super Bowl ring." – Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers