MIAMI -- Already, there’s an NFC South flavor to the Super Bowl and we’re not even talking about the New Orleans Saints yet.
One thing I’ve tried to do this week is give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how things work at the biggest show in sports. The Saints may be the only NFC South team playing in this game, but the other three franchises have people working the game.
Just a few minutes ago, I had the opportunity to run into Charlie Dayton, the dean of NFC South public relations directors, and several branches of his version of the Bill Walsh coaching tree. Dayton, who has been with the Carolina Panthers since before they played their first time, spent a little time catching up with me and Ted Crews, who, as best anyone can figure, is the only P.R. director to endure two 1-15 seasons.
Crews joined the St. Louis Rams as the main man last season after spending his career with the Panthers and Falcons. Crews said the Rams’ season wasn’t nearly as miserable as the 1-15 season the Panthers endured under George Seifert in 2001. In that season, there was no hope for Carolina fans and a coaching legend fell apart. At least the Rams are young and have room to grow.
Also in the media room is DeeDee Mills, who has worked for the Panthers since the start. She, Dayton and Crews will be helping the media throughout the day and night. The Atlanta Falcons also have Brian Cearns here and I’ve seen an intern from the Buccaneers helping out.
There’s another behind-the-scenes NFL connection to this game: That’s Carolina’s Brandon Beane, who basically handles all travel and logistical issues for the Panthers. Beane was brought in by the league to help out with logistics throughout the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.
Some other NFC South dignitaries I've run into throughout the week include Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer, current ESPN broadcaster and former Carolina and Tampa Bay receiver Keyshawn Johnson and current ESPN broadcaster and former Tampa Bay quarterback Trent Dilfer. Atlanta coach and Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff also have been making the rounds.