TAMPA -- I'm on my way to my second day of acting as pool reporter for the Steelers' practice session at the University of South Florida. It's a fun gig, watching practice in the middle of all the non-football activities here in Tampa. I just wish I didn't need a helicopter to get there (more on that in a moment).
Let me explain what the Pro Football Writers of America pool reporter does. The PFWA assigns one of its members to each team to cover the four practices during the week. The Steelers and Cardinals are following their normal practice schedule on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and then have a shorter walk-through practice on Saturday morning.
The Steelers are at the University of South Florida football practice facility a few miles north of town. Arizona, being the NFC team in an NFC town, got lucky in a sense. The Cards are at the new Buccaneers' practice facility and office complex near the airport. The difference between the two, in essence, is that the Steelers are using a Marriott Courtyard while the Cardinals have the Four Seasons at their disposal.
But I got the sense at practice yesterday that Mike Tomlin almost prefers it this way. He will accept no whining about the Cardinals having a better facility to work out in than his team, and his attitude is the correct one. You're in the Super Bowl. Can you actually complain about anything? "We're not finicky," Tomlin told me.
Speaking of Super Bowl conditions, for many of us its not the facilities, it's getting to them that's the problem. There ought to be a law for Super Bowl cities about traffic. It's midday Thursday. The real crush hasn't hit yet, and I swear you can walk the distance from the airport to downtown on I-275 (the main thoroughfare between Super Bowl-related venues) faster than you can drive it.
I realize none of you care about our traffic, particularly when many of you are sitting in traffic right now, stopped or going 5 mph, so bored you're reading this on your Blackberry.
But I've found in this town during Spring Training coverage and normal days when it's beautiful out, this traffic rivals the Cross-Bronx Expressway at 4 on Friday on a summer afternoon.
I'm sure that's going to jet right to the top of Roger Goodell's to-do list for future Super Bowl planning.
Check SI.com's Super Blog regularly for more dispatches from Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.