My friend got mugged at the Super Bowl.
Not Michael Crabtree ticky tack on the most important fourth down of his life, which he deserved for running a wimpy route to cap off a deer in the headlights set of play calls to end the 49ers chances.
No, I mean mugged mugged.
Confronted on his way home by two apparently friendly locals, he was cowardly jumped from behind and flattened. The trio then pummeled him with their boots in a unique Louisiana welcome. Fortunately, two rent-a-cops from a nearby party scared off the unwelcoming committee before too much damage was inflicted.
That incident is a snapshot of New Orleans to me. What a beautifully strange place. It’s everything the TV shows and movies make it out to be. The music was amazing, the food even better. The weather, highly cooperative.
It was only my third Super Bowl. Yes, I’ve already received plenty of kickback for saying only, but it was by far the best and definitely the strangest.
A kid tried to swipe my wallet in broad daylight. He grabbed it. I grabbed him. Shrieked some foreign shriek at him and it was over. TKO by Harrison. Unfortunately, another Canadian we knew wasn’t so lucky succumbing to a Bourbon Street pick pocket.
Emboldened by my pugilistic prowess, I glared down a drunk who grabbed and threatened me in the men’s room at the Superdome. Truthfully, I was backed up by six new best friends made while waiting for this weak belly to finish ralphing all over the stall we were awaiting.
But don’t let these misdemeanors dissuade you from seeing NOLA some day. Everyone needs to once. But as our pilot said when we landed, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens in New Orleans winds up on Twitter!”
On TV you saw the same magical game we did. Though I would be remiss in not telling you I was a mere ten rows from the last gasp play. But from Section 135 I experienced more than a football game. Pregame concerts, tailgate parties, live alligators, and fortunetellers surrounded the stadium. Rich, and wanting to be rich, and never going to be rich united for a single day in their entry into football heaven. Ravens fans and 49ers fans, inebriated by the Mardi Gras spirit, dancing together in the stands to the pre-game marching bands.
The emotional high evaporating when twenty-six Sandy Hook students came to the field to sing America the Beautiful. In front of me, David Arquette had brought one of the Sandy Hook first responders as his guest. His t-shirt imprinted with small footprints, a morbid reminder that life isn’t a game.
There was the eerie feeling when the blackout first struck. Immediate thoughts of Hurricane Katrina cast a spell of unease over the stadium. The tensions on the field rose, as the delay grew longer. Maybe this was a life or death game as we anxiously awaited Emperor Goodell to allow the combatants back into the arena.
In Roman Times the losers would have died. Thankfully, all the San Fran players and my buddy get to see another day. That’s sort of how you will feel after wading through Bourbon Street.