Of Meat and Madden Bowl: How I Messed With Texas

Coke Zero special correspondent Larry Fitzgerald interviewed Chad Ochocinco after his team won EA Sports Madden Bowl XVII Thursday night.

I spent part of last week in Grapevine, Texas to help coordinate media and the Coke Zero black carpet at the EA Sports Madden Bowl. I’d struggle to retell my first Texas experience in any linear fashion, so here’s a few bullets from the gun-happiest state in the union:

  • The state was battered by an ice storm earlier in the week, and while it’s easy to bash people from the south for their inability to drive in wintery conditions, the roads were truly awful. Forget a plow or a salt truck — it was as if the roads had been conditioned by a Zamboni. Never seen anything like it.
  • Texans loves their meat. We ate at a place called Big Racks — imagine Hooters without the dignity — and I chose a plate which included briscuit, smoked turkey, ribs, fried okra and potato salad. This was after I balked at the grand slam platter, included the aforementioned three meats along with ham, chicken breast and steak. That’s livin’.
  • Fifteen degrees. It was 15 degrees by the time NFL players and celebrities made way down the black carpet Thursday night. Everyone attending relied on heat lamps outside, which stood about seven-feet tall and thrust warm air upwards, making them completely ineffective. Add to the fact I was wearing a button-up and a sweater. Indefensible for a guy from Minnesota.
  • At one point, I sidled over to a heat lamp near the media check-in I was monitoring. There stood a short white man with his hooded sweatshirt drawn, worn underneath a weathered canvas jacket. I thought he seemed a bit out of place, until he flipped his hood back revealed he was Drew Rosenhaus. My first instinct? Try to argue with him! Try to win a stand-off with the most powerful agent in football! I did no such thing. I feel I still came away a winner.
  • As fate would have it, we stayed at a Great Wolf Lodge, which is a Wisconsin-based hotel chain. So, unfailingly, GWL declared itself Packer Country starting Thursday by decorating the lobby in green and yellow and blasting the Packers fight song from the PA. Couldn’t wait to leave. Could. Not. Wait.
  • Biggest personal hero spotted: Marshall Faulk. (Named to the NFL Hall of Fame the next day!)
  • Scariest NFL figure at the party: DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association who could take the 2011 season hostage.
  • Most unlikely NFL figure at the party: Former San Francisco 49ers safety Merton Hanks. Or, “funky chicken guy.
  • Most disappointing no-show: Brooklyn Decker. Not that she ever RSVP’ed, but she was in town.
  • Most inaccurate pseudonym: Big Boi. He’s 5-6 on a good day.
  • Debbie Downer tweet(s) of the night: Chad Ochocinco, winner of the Madden Bowl with teammates Patrick Willis and Maria Menounos, tweeted the following:

 

 

 

 

 


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