Mike Keegan’s Super Bowl diary: 49ers star hangs NFL ‘hypocrites’ out to dry, fans are told a London franchise is NO closer… and Homeland Security’s sniffer dogs keep reporters in check!
- The city of Miami is gearing up to host the 54th edition of the Super Bowl
- Security has been ramped up for the biggest date in America’s sporting calendar
- San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman hits back over players’ welfare
- And London is no closer to getting his own NFL team despite continued interest
The 54th edition of the Super Bowl is just around the corner as the city of Miami prepares to host the NFL showpiece for a record 11th time.
In what is being dubbed the most evenly-matched Super Bowl in recent history, the Kansas City Chiefs take on San Francisco 49ers as both are aim to end their long wait to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
But what’s going on in the build up to the big day? Sportsmail sent Mike Keegan to Florida to take us behind the scenes each day as America gears up for the biggest date on its sporting calendar.
The city of Miami is gearing up to host the 54th edition of Super Bowl on Sunday
49ERS STAR PULLS NO PUNCHES
A slightly surreal day. First, we had commissioner Roger Goodell banging the drum for player-safety measures at Miami’s Downtown Hilton.
Then that afternoon, just down the road at the Grand Hyatt, the searingly honest 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman was singing from a very different hymn sheet.
Sherman pretty much hung the NFL out to dry, accusing owners of being ‘hypocrites’ when it came to looking after the health of its stars.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell talked about the importance of player safety
However, 49ers’ Richard Sherman accused owners of being ‘hypocrites’ over players’ health
The 31-year-old Stanford graduate is tremendous value and a fascinating talker who has no issues whatsoever with speaking his mind – and he often talks sense.
Here, he claimed the NFL was two-faced for saying they were safety conscious while trying to up the number of regular season games from 16 to 17.
He also turned on the media (in a room full of reporters) for not banging the drum loud enough for fear of being unable to keep owners onside. Fair play.
AMERICA MOURNS KOBE
The death of Kobe Bryant has shattered America. Sherman spoke eloquently about the LA Lakers legend, who perished last weekend in a helicopter crash.
‘Don’t meet your heroes because they disappoint you – that’s what they tell you,’ he explained.
‘Kobe more than exceeded my expectations when I met him on a Nike shoot. One of the most genuine guys he knew of me and liked my approach to the game. I ended up having him play in my charity softball game.
‘He said he had never played and then he hit a home run on his first bat. We formed a close relationship. I know he wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad and to mourn. He was a great man, a great father a great player.’
Like the rest of America, the city of Miami paid tribute to Kobe Bryant who died this week
LONDON MADE TO WAIT FOR NFL TEAM
Don’t hold your breath for a London franchise any time soon.
I asked Goodell for the latest and whether there was a timeline. He immediately said no (at least he is honest) and then went on to wax lyrical about the sold out matches at both Wembley and last season’s games at Tottenham’s new stadium.
However, the commissioner vowed that there are questions which still need to be answered. Given London has now hosted matches for 12 years, it is to be wondered if sufficient answers – at least to host a franchise – will ever be found.
London is no closer to getting it’s own team despite the success of games hosted in the city
SUPER SECURITY NEEDED FOR SUPER BOWL
To say the NFL takes security seriously is an understatement. To even get into a press conference on the operation for the Super Bowl reporters had to pass sniffer dogs, underneath an arch and have their bags scanned.
Once there, the league’s head of security was joined by the FBI, Homeland Security, three local police constabularies, the whole nine yards.
They are leaving nothing to chance and have already detected 53 drones which they say have flown illegally close to the stadium. While there is no credible intelligence that indicates a terror threat, zero chances are being taken.
Homeland Security itself has more than 1,500 people involved in an operation that has been 18 months in the making.
Security has been ramped up for the Super Bowl with nothing being left to chance
NFL’s head of security was joined by FBI, Homeland Security and police at a press conference
Security has already detected 53 drones that have flown illegally close to the stadium