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22 posts from December 2010


Kid Rock to headline opener of Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam

Our music critic, Preston Jones, reports that Kid Rock will be the headliner for opening night of the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam Concert Series at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie. The concert, which begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 and will be broadcast live on VH1, includes Duran Duran and Jason Derulo.  Patriots Lions Football

Tickets go on sale Friday at Ticketmaster.

Read more on the concert series in Preston's Music Blog.

(Kid Rock at the Patriots-Lions game on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by AP.)

Staubach to hand off Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl

Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, who knows a thing or two about Super Bowls, will participate in the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium, the NFL has announced.  SPORTS FBN-EAGLES-COWBOYS 1 FT

Staubach, a Hall-of-Famer who won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, will hand the trophy to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will then present it to the winning team.

Staubach is chairman of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee and was instrumental in bringing the first Super Bowl to North Texas.

(Photo of Staubach and Cowboys linebacker Bradie James, shot before the Eagles game by Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram)




Emeril Lagasse to join 'Spaghetti Western' Super Bowl event at Love Shack

Hungry, anyone?

Hang on until Feb. 4, when chefs Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Guy Fieri, Texas Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter and others gather for the "Spaghetti Western" event hosted by pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife at Tim Love's Love Shack in Fort Worth.  Spag-western

The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes a gourmet dinner prepared by Batali, music by Her & Kings County, cooking demonstrations and auctions. Proceeds will benefit The Moyer Foundation’s Camp Erin and The Mario Batali Foundation.

Tickets are available at 206-298-1217 or at MoyerFoundation.org.


Think twice before trying to rent your house in Fort Worth for Super Bowl XLV

With the economy still in the dumpster and people with jobs even making sacrifices, it's easy to see how the idea of renting your house during Super Bowl week is appealing.

For some North Texas residents who are not all that enthralled with Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium, the prospect of making about $10,000 and hightailing it out of Dodge is hard to resist.

But here's some unsolicited advice: Give this idea some serious consideration before you begin spending the rental windfall.

Brandon Bennett, Code Compliance Director for Fort Worth, said that leaving the area or taking a hands-off approach to renting a house is a prescription for disaster.

Even if you have a formal rental agreement with a property management company that protects you against damage to a physical structure or its contents, the hassle of replacing or repairing everything from a stained carpet to a favorite lamp or vase is often not worth the check you'll get.

What's more, you may cause ill will with your neighbors and who wants to go down that road?

Bennett said that Fort Worth codes are specific regarding rental properties. A homeowner is treated much the same way as any property owner who is renting his house or a second house as a means of earning income or because the housing bubble has burst.

That means that anyone renting a house for events such as the Super Bowl, Colonial golf tournament, NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway, the Stock Show or Cutting Horse competition, has to have an agreement for a minimum of 30 days, according to the letter of the law.

In reality, Bennett acknowledges that many of these events do not last for 30 days.

So, in theory, if a Fort Worth homeowner rents a house during Super Bowl week, he or she should still do a 30-day rental agreement with the understanding the renter is staying only for seven days.

The house is then supposed to be empty for the remaining three weeks. Another renter may not occupy the dwelling.

"Once the stay reaches 30 days or longer it becomes a lease," Bennett said. "Otherwise it is treated like a hotel/motel or transient occupancy and those are not allowed in single-family residential neighborhoods."

Now, the city won't come and forcibly remove homeowners who return to their house once the renter departs after a stay less than 30 days. But a lot depends on how well-behaved and considerate of the neighborhood the renters are.

If neighbors complain, the homeowner, not the occupants, will be slammed with citations, each of which is $2,000.

"It's a lot like the speed limit," Bennett said. "The limit is 60 but most people don't get a ticket until they go past 65 or 66. We don't have endless resources and I'm sure people don't want to pay more taxes for code enforcement."

Bennett said that the city code limits occupants to four people unrelated to the renter. Thus, in theory, if a homeowner rents his home to eight people splitting the cost for the Super Bowl and six of them are unrelated to the renter, the homeowner is in violation of the code and can be fined.

In practice, if the renters don't litter, make excessive noise or otherwise disturb neighbors, the likelihood is that no one will call the city's attention to the rental accommodations.

However, there is "zero tolerance" for violations that are committed and no chance of wriggling out of a fine. That's why homeowners need to be managing their rented home, Bennett said, and keeping tabs on what's going on. It's not the city's job.

Unlike the city of Arlington, Bennett said that Fort Worth does not subject homeowners to hotel/motel occupancy taxes because those venues are not allowed in residential neighborhoods, thus the minimum 30-day lease.

Fort Worth residents who want to rent their houses or are thinking about it can get more questions answered by Code Compliance Superintendent John Hancock at 817-392-1234.

-- Pete Alfano


Area high school stars to be honored in Super Bowl sculpture

Former Stephenville quarterback Kevin Kolb, Quentin Jammer of Angleton and the University of Texas, Seguin's Russell Erxleben and the late Darrent Williams of Wyatt are among the 58 high school players with Fort Worth-area ties whose names will be inscribed on The Gerdau Ameristeel "Cradle of Champions" sculpture.

The 7-ton, 16-foot tall sculpture, made of recycled steel from Texas Stadium and contributions from high schools around the state, honors the tradition of high school football in Texas.

It will be displayed in the Chisholm Trail parking lot in Sundance Square during Super Bowl week and then will be relocated to a permanent site that has not been determined.  

Download the full list of the Fort Worth-area players here. 

Steel yourself: World's largest belt buckle to be on display at ESPN party

In keeping with the "Everything is bigger in Texas," theme of Super Bowl XLV, ESPN has commissioned Fort Worth sculptor Kelly Graham to create the biggest belt buckle in the world. How big, you ask?

Well, not even a nose tackle is big enough to wear it. The goal is for Graham to create the belt buckle out of stainless steel and other metals.

The buckle will be 8 feet wide by 6 feet tall and weigh more than 500 pounds. The theme reflected in the design will include the state of Texas, ESPN the Magazine and "festivities taking place" on Super Bowl weekend.

In order to document the belt buckle as the largest in the world ESPN is bringing a representative from Guinness World Records to Fort Worth to confirm the ESPN/Super Bowl belt buckle as the largest of its kind.

A day and time for the unveiling have not yet been decided, but an ESPN The Magazine spokesperson said that a rendering of the belt buckle and the reveal will be made in January.

The belt buckle will then be on display at the "NEXT Ranch" at the magazine's "NEXT Big Tailgate" on Saturday, Feb. 5, at River Ranch in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

The NEXT Tailgate will feature interactive games and other activities and is open to the public at no cost.

The spokesperson said a permanent site will be chosen where the belt buckle will be on display.

This won't be the only steel structure created especially for Fort Worth and Super Bowl XLV.

Gerdau Ameristeel, a steel mill company based in Tampa with several facilities in North Texas, is making a 16-foot tall sculpture paying tribute to the popularity of football in Texas.

The sculpture is being made of recycled steel from Texas Stadium and from contributions from high schools across the state.

The sculpture will be in the shape of Texas. An oil rig will form part of the base and a football will burst through the center of the state.

It will weigh up to 7 tons and the inscription will read "Cradle of Champions."

The sculpture will be displayed in the Chisholm Trail parking lot during Super Bowl week, which will be the location of ESPN's main stage during its broadcasts from Sundance Square. It will then be relocated to a permanent site in the city that is yet to be determined. 


-- Pete Alfano


North Texas tells NFL it will bid for Super Bowl Golden Anniversary game in 2016

No rest for the ambitious. Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium hasn't been played yet but Bill Lively, president of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee, said that Jerry Jones has already informed the National Football League that the region will bid for Super Bowl L in 2016. Now, before you Google your Roman Numerals, L is 50 and North Texas would like to host the Golden Anniversary of the biggest single-day sports event in the country.

After Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, Indianapolis, New Orleans and New York-New Jersey will host Super Bowl XLVI, XLVII, and XLVIII. No site has been selected for Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. Bids to host the Golden Anniversary game will be made in the spring of 2012 and Lively is among those who hope the regional cooperation among the major North Texas cities will provide the impetus for a sports commission that will oversee bringing major sports events to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

There will be other cities bidding for Super Bowl L, of course, and one of the more intriguing possibilities is whether Los Angeles will bid. It was the site of Super Bowl I in January, 1967, and there is sentiment around the NFL to celebrate the milestone anniversary in L.A. One stipulation has been that the host city have an NFL team but an exception could be made or, even more likely, an existing team will have relocated to Los Angeles by then. Candidates include San Diego, Minnesota, Jacksonville and perhaps even a return of the Raiders. 

North Texas officials have wowed the NFL with their preparations thus far and are hoping that will influence league owners when the bids are submitted for a vote. Barring an unforeseen catastrophic event, only weather threatens the best laid plans of North Texas. In speeches and appearances around the region, Lively has issued a call for people of all denominations to offer "weather prayers," as he calls them. He may be smiling when he says it, but we have a feeling he really means it.

Pete Alfano       





A commissioner's press conference viewed through rose-colored glasses

It is amazing how selective hearing works. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference for a handful of reporters attending the NFL owners meetings at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth on Wednesday and was obviously choosing his words carefully regarding negotiations with the NFL Players Association on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Goodell is not going to negotiate in the media. He also wants to straddle the line between optimism and sounding negative. There is an ongoing dialogue with the players, he said, and talking is a good thing. But he emphasized that it is time for "significant" progress to be made. He didn't know whether a new agreement could be reached by the end of the Super Bowl on Feb. 6, but he wouldn't outright dissmiss the idea either.

Well, go take a look at various sports websites today and you will see headlines like, and I am paraphrasing, "Goodell says labor agreement can be reached by the Super Bowl." Really? I didn't hear that. I heard a commissioner who said that a new CBA is the league's highest priority. I heard him say that uncertainty about whether there will be a delayed start to the 2011 season or no season at all is not good for fans and the NFL's business partners. He said negotiators for the league will work night and day to get it done. And he said that negotiations will be more difficult after March 4, when the current agreement expires.

Imagine not knowing what the new salary cap will be? Imagine drafting players and not knowing whether there will be a rookie pay scale in place? Imagine free agents sitting and wondering what the market will look like after the CBA is reached -- whenever that is. And how would you like to be the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee planning for the biggest single day sports event in the country and wondering if it will even happen?

There are so many issues to resolve, from the players take of the NFL pie, to an expanded 18-game season with salaries and rosters adjusted for the increase, and concern about player injuries. Maybe the typical labor-management negotiations mold will be broken and both sides will decide not to kill the golden goose, or even wound it. Perhaps all of this can be resolved after the holidays in the six weeks that will remain before the Super Bowl. Wouldn't that make for a great state of the NFL talk that the commissioner traditionally gives on the Friday before the Super Bowl.

But I wouldn't count on it no matter what the headlines say.

Pete Alfano







ESPN has big plans for Fort Worth when Super Bowl arrives

ESPN, as it turns out, is moving to Fort Worth -- well, for a week or so, sort of, in early February.

The network, as everyone knows, will anchor its coverage from downtown's Sundance Square during Super Bowl week. It all starts with Mike & Mike in the Morning at 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31, and runs through Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6.

With kickoff only 52 days away, ESPN is now finalizing logistics for the massive move south. Espn-demo

The network plans to use a "skycam" suspended about 50 feet above its entire downtown footprint, according to Chris Gavras , a spokesman for Touchdown Fort Worth, who spoke to a Star-Telegram advertising group Wednesday.

In addition, ESPN plans to place a camera on the fifth floor of the Burk Burnett Building, overlooking the main set in the Chisholm Trail parking lot. 

And a secondary studio will be built on the west side of the Jett Building at Third and Main (home to 95.9 The Ranch radio) for The Scott Van Pelt (radio) Show, which airs at noon CST weekdays.

The live broadcasts, however, are only part of ESPN's plans for the city. 

Gavras said the network will bring dozens of employees down from Bristol, Conn., for the game, including ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer.

Major advertisers will follow the network's corporate hospitality operation into town, and crews will be in Fort Worth a couple of weeks before Super Bowl week shooting "B" roll at the Fort Worth Stock Show and in other areas.

Oh, and about 100 of the Yanks from Bristol will be wearing custom boots courtesy of Justin Boots; the boots will be delivered when the ESPN crew hits town, just in time to take in a performance of the Stock Show Rodeo.

Gavras also revealed details about local media outlets that are planning to anchor their newscasts in Sundance Square.

Channel 11 had already signed on, but Gavras said Wednesday that Channel 8 will also build a set -- elevated -- in downtown Fort Worth. (Forsaking its glitzy set in downtown Dallas' Victory Plaza. Interesting ...)

So, at any one time, seven or eight live broadcasts could be originating from the site.

Jay Leno's crew --although not Jay himself -- is also scheduled to be in Fort Worth that week, Gavras said.

Where the West begins? How about where the Super Bowl begins?

-- Kathy Vetter

(Photo of ESPN's demonstration field in downtown Phoenix before the 2008 Super Bowl. The demo field in Fort Worth will be on Main Street, with a view of the Tarrant County Courthouse in the background.)

'The Flavors of North Texas' added to Taste of the NFL charity food event in Fort Worth

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Taste of the NFL -- the foodie's Super Bowl -- is adding a North Texas component to the charity event with Flavors of North Texas. In addition to the 32 chefs representing each National Football League City, eight chefs from the region will also prepare a signature dish for guests to sample.

They include Blaine Staniford (Grace), Grady Spears (Grady's), Don Agate (Eddie V's), Dean Fearing (Fearing's), Brian Olenjack (Olenjack's Grille), David Holben (Del Frisco's), Michael Thomson (Michael's) and Jon Bonnell (Bonnell's). Among the signature dishes will be Fearing's chili pie and Staniford's chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon with charred pepper sauce. That's a mouthful.

Taste of the NFL, which will be held on Saturday evening Feb. 5, at the Fort Worth Convention Center, has raised $20 million since its inception to help fight hunger in the U.S. The goal this year is to raise $1 million more with proceeds distributed to the fort Worth and Dallas Food Banks and food banks in NFL cities. For more info, visit www.tasteofthenfl.com.

Pete Alfano