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Hoosiers throw a hootenanny

Indianapolis does it up right with a down-home, week-long party

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INDIANAPOLIS -- It's over but for the game -- nearing the end of the biggest week on the North American sporting calendar -- as the hype and beer cans are swept out of downtown Indy to make way for the Giants and Patriots on centre stage.

The city and citizens of Indianapolis have been the stars this week, putting on a down-home Super Bowl with lots of Hoosier hospitality.


Indy threw out the template and kept everything in a tight circle around Lucas Oil Stadium. Media, the NFL and both teams took up four huge downtown hotel complexes. Other cities spread it out from downtown to the suburbs and it's too hard to take it all in.

This Super Bowl was easy to touch, smell and taste. In a word, super. Here's a little from the seen and heard file after a week at the Super Bowl.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? Indy has done an incredible job of hosting the Super Bowl and on Friday more than 200,000 people attended the NFL Experience in the city's downtown. The entire Super Bowl has felt like a Grey Cup on steroids. Far less corporate and more about the fans. It's been incredible and if Indy wants it back the NFL will return.

BUFFALO BLUES: The usually perfect Tom Brady dropped a bomb on the city of Buffalo during Tuesday's media day, saying, "My dad even came to games in Buffalo where the hotels aren't very nice." Brady apologized the next day.

PASS THE GREY CUP: NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young said he would have loved to have played a few years in the CFL.

"I would have loved the game. I would have taken (Doug) Flutie down," he said with a laugh. "I would have liked to win a couple Grey Cups. I love the Canadian game."

STILL UGLY: Comedian and Fox Sports contributor Frank Caliendo on Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw's weight-loss commercial: "Have you seen the ad? Terry talks about how he used to be fat and ugly until he lost all this weight. I have news for him. Ugly doesn't go away with the pounds."

STILL SMOKING: Indianapolis still allows smoking in its bars. Novel at first for an ex-smoker. Yes, I sucked in deeply when I first whiffed that old, familiar stale scent, but by the end of the night my throat was sore and eyes red. Many drunk people in an enclosed room smoking just isn't a good idea.

HOOD PASS: Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock invited folks to sample his dad's BBQ with this tweet and hashtag: "Also, don't forget everyone invited 2 Masterpiece Lounge Saturday noon to 6 pm. Free BBQ! #hoodpassrequired #whitefolkswelcome #dontbescared."

COLDER THAN COLD: Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Dan Pastorini was forced to spend 16 years in court to get money owed to him by late Raiders owner Al Davis.

"It's in the book (Taking Flak) how I feel about Al Davis and I don't pull punches," said Pastorini. "I don't pull punches in the book. Yes I inhaled and yes I had sex with that girl. Al Davis? I can tell you this. I guarantee the devil was holding his hand when he died."

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU: Legendary NFL placekicker Morten Andersen talking about the big personalities like Ken Stabler of the old NFL. "Those guys, they believed you can't attach a U-Haul to a hearse," he said. "It's not about collecting stuff but making memories for them. You can't take it with you."

MOVE OVER, CHIPMAN: Comedian Jay Mohr, who may or may not have suggested a year ago that the Atlanta Thrashers should move to Winnipeg on Winnipeg radio.

"I don't want to take credit for you guys getting the Jets but really, it was me," he said.

"I told you guys last year you would get the Thrashers. I'm coming up there. Get me a gig at Rumor's and I'll drop the puck at a Jets game."

FINAL SAY: Giants coach Tom Coughlin on how tough it is to get to this point in the season.

"Anyone who goes through this experience and doesn't grab a hold of it or grasp the significance of it doesn't understand that there are great, outstanding coaches and players who haven't been to a Super Bowl game, and get to this point," he said.

"You thank God for the opportunity and you never, ever tire or even possibly think this happens on a normal basis. It doesn't. It's tough to be in this position and get to this point. You have to constantly be aware of that. The way I look at it, there are many outstanding players and coaches who never get to this point." Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 5, 2012 B7

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


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