By MIKE ASHMORE
Special to Digmi
MIAMI – The beauty of the “live, dream, be” motto of Digmi is that it’s open for interpretation.
In short, it can mean whatever you want it to.
For me, it sure seems to apply to covering the Super Bowl. It’s the annual culmination of a year of hard work, and is all three of “live, dream, be.”
This is my fourth time I’ve been fortunate enough to cover the big game, and this one has felt more surreal than the others given the location. With my first three coming in Houston, Minneapolis and Atlanta, the unique setting has provided for some head-turning moments.
Whether it be strolling up and down South Beach during some rare time off, or routinely seeing cars that are worth more than my house on the streets, this particular Super Bowl week will go down as one of my most memorable.
But they’re all improbable.
I was never supposed to get this far. I did because I wanted it. Dreaming turned into living, turned into being.
I didn’t get here because or mommy or daddy has a lot of money, and certainly didn’t get here because of my name. I made my own name over nearly two decades of grinding, and working those dreams I had when I was a kid into reality. That nothing’s ever been handed to be is an incredible source of pride.
So, I don’t take an opportunity like working a Super Bowl lightly. Over the past few days, I’ve tried to make the most of the various media availabilities, starting with FOX Sports media day on Tuesday afternoon at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is serving as the media center for the event.
That was like being a kid in a candy store, just walking from podium to podium and getting to chat with the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Vick for a story I was able to get into the paper the next day on Sunday’s quarterback matchup. I followed that with a trip to American Airlines Arena, where I worked the Miami Heat game…and, oh yeah, wondered what that rumbling underneath my feet was as I was walking to the media entrance.
Just an earthquake, no big deal. My reward for choosing extra work over the annual Super Bowl media party, which was being held at the seaport.
Wednesday was a trip to both team hotels, where I was able to speak with players from both teams for stories we’d end up using over the next few days; I submitted pieces on LeSean McCoy, Jordan Matthews, Dontae Johnson and a feature on both backup quarterbacks.
Thursday was more of the same, a trip to the team hotels for some additional content, but it’s Friday where everything really starts to sink in. It’s the first day where you can pick up your gameday credentials – you use a “week of game” pass until Sunday – and I put mine on right away.
Saturday is NFL Honors day, and I’m only a few hours removed from covering that in downtown Miami. I got to speak with Adrian Peterson, Kyler Murray, Michael Thomas, Ryan Tannehill and John Harbaugh about the various awards they won, but got out of there as soon as I could to get as much rest I can before the big day on Sunday.
This is my first Super Bowl where the New England Patriots aren’t playing, and seems to also be the first where many people are expecting a close game. All I ever want is a good game regardless of what I’m working – whether it’s a camp day in indy ball on a Wednesday or the biggest sporting event of the year – and that certainly wasn’t the case at last year’s Super Bowl, so perhaps my prediction is based more on what I want than what I think will happen.
Regardless, I’ll take the 49ers over the Chiefs, 31-27.
Kansas City’s defense will have a difficult time shutting down San Francisco’s run game – especially with Jimmy Garoppolo being a weapon under center, which makes their offense far less one-dimensional than the Titans were in the AFC Championship Game — and the 49ers defense has been playing well enough to where they’ll be able to keep Patrick Mahomes semi-contained.