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72 posts from January 2011


NYT writer calls Arlington 'drab, featureless city'

New York Times restaurant Sam Sifton came to the Super Bowl site as part of "the advanced guard" to sample restaurants from "from White Settlement in the west to Deep Ellum in the east." His lead on the story:

"ARLINGTON, Tex. — The faithful have started to arrive in this drab, featureless city a little closer to Fort Worth than to Dallas."

What he does like: Babe's Fried Chicken.

Read the story here.

St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times columnists Gary Shelton and John Romano found the travel a bit much:

"GS: I'm not saying the teams are far apart, but John Wayne never covered as much of Texas as we did Monday. I think the teams were closer when they were in Green Bay and Pittsburgh. 

"JR: Yeah, the Steelers are in Fort Worth, the Packers are in Irving and the game will be in Arlington. The only things in Dallas are the NFL headquarters and 1,374 Tex-Mex restaurants."

— Vince Langford




Former Green Bay player who lives in Arlington recalls Packer days

When the Green Bay Packers play in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Bill Kelley will watch with special interest.

In their storied history, the Packers have played 1,224 regular-season games. Kelley, of Arlington, was on the roster for 12 of them.

It was 1949, the last of legendary coach Earl "Curly" Lambeau's 31 years with the team he had co-founded in 1919. After winning six NFL championships, the Packers were coming off a 3-9 season. Lambeau hoped to turn things around.

Kelley, then 23, had just finished a stellar athletic career at what is now Texas Tech University. The Packers drafted the 6-foot-2, 195-pound football, basketball and track star in the 23rd round.

Thus began a year that Kelley will never forget.

"It's like playing for a college team," he recalled last week. "Everybody in Green Bay comes to the game on Sundays. The whole town shuts down."

In those days, players contributed on both offense and defense. Kelley, who was listed as an end, caught 17 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. The latter came in a 39-17 loss to the Chicago Cardinals.

The Packers struggled again in 1949, finishing 2-10, Lambeau's worst record. After the season, he left to become coach of the Cardinals.

Read more about Kelley here.


Local dealer donates Mustang Shelby GT350 to auction for charity

A brand psanking new 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 will be auctioned to the highest bidder Wednesday at the 4th annual “Jordin Sparks Experience” in Arlington, part of Super Bowl XLV activities, to raise funds for charity.

Sam Pack Ford Auto group, which includesFive Star Ford in North Richland Hills, has donated the 2011 pony car for the live auction. Proceeds from the 40th Anniversary Shelby GT350 auction will be split between the Carroll Shelby Foundation, Sparks Charities and Sam Pack Auto Group’s charity, the Holy Angels.

The limited edition 420 horsepower 2011 GT350 will be auctioned live with a minimum bid of $65,000. 

The Jordin Sparks Experience will take place Feb. 2, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., at the Sheraton Arlington in Arlington.  World renowned recording artist Jordin Sparks will host the gathering, which will include performances and appearances by the brightest stars in sports and entertainment.  For bidding information, please call (888) 868-6157 ext 745.

Featured celebrities scheduled to appear at the event are Larry Fitzgerald, JoJo, Ashlyne Huff, Darren Woodson, Michael Strahan, Kerry Rhodes, Sam Moore and Devin Thomas.

- Bob Cox


Napolitano is paying attention to Super Bowl security AND weather

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is keeping one eye on Super Bowl safety precautions and another on the impending weather.

Speaking to media on Monday, Napolitano said her department has helped train 1,200 Cowboys Stadium security personnel and is screening all cargo going in and out of the facility that will host the big game.

And while the Super Bowl is a "level one" security event, North Texas isn't getting any additional help from the feds in advance of Tuesday's winter storm, said Napolitano, who also oversees FEMA.

Napolitano said she has been monitoring the weather system that is coming in and federal authorities won't know if the storm will hit with the full force until later tonight. The storm could impact over 100 million Americans, she said, including football fans flocking to the Metroplex.

"It is Green Bay and Pittsburgh," Napolitano joked. "You gotta think they are used to this kind of weather."

-Andrea Ahles

Officials urging XLV volunteers to work more shifts

The NFL Experience drew over 75,000 fans in the first four days of opening.

And since 4,500 Super Bowl XLV volunteers are largely the ones staffing the interactive theme park at the Dallas Convention Center, officials said it's imperative that they show up for their shifts.

"The one thing you will always struggle with is going to be an attrition rate," said Amanda Whitelaw, volunteers service manager for the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. "We've had a great turnout at everything, but at the NFL Experience, there have been a few no-shows. We're trying to get our volunteers who are registered to get out there and help us. "

In fact, Whitelaw emphasized that any XLV volunteers who want to work more shifts are more than welcome.

"This weekend, right before Super Bowl, the NFL Experience is going to be slammed with guests locally and also guests from all over the world,"  Whitelaw said. "...We need to put our best foot forward.' "

"Without our volunteers, these events don’t run," she added. "... Our volunteers are representing North Texas and, without them, the show stops. ... Their role is so integral.’"

OK, Super Bowl volunteers, you know what to do: Log onto the Super Bowl Host Committee website and sign up for more shifts.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been previously assigned to greet visitors at the airports and hotels, work in the office operations, direct event traffic, or work the NFL Experience, if you’ve got some extra time, they’ve got a place for you at the NFL Experience.

Being a Super Bowl volunteer is fun. I know, because I am one.

And I'll be doing my part at the NFL Experience on Wednesday.

-- Melody McDonald

Bush attending Super Bowl

Georgew So President Obama won't be attending the Super Bowl in Arlington, since his Chicago Bears didn't make it there.

But that doesn't mean the event will be presidentless.

Former President George W. Bush -- and former First Lady Laura Bush -- will be at the big game on Sunday.

When asked recently whether he'd be rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Green Bay Packers, the former president told the media: "Don't care."

A Bush spokesman said the president doesn't plan on commenting during the Super Bowl.

-- Anna M. Tinsley

Fans greet Steelers as they arrive at Omni hotel in downtown Fort Worth

The Pittsburgh Steelers arrived at their downtown hotel in Fort Worth at around 12:20 p.m. today after riding in a four-bus motorcade from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The Steelers plane landed around 11:30 a.m. to begin Super Bowl week in North Texas, which culminates in Sunday's game at Cowboys Stadium.

A throng of Steelers fans and onlookers were at the Omni hotel to greet the Steelers, as seen on KXAS/Channel 5's live coverage. The fans were kept back by barricades, but a couple of the Steelers went over to take video of the fans.

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward got off the plane wearing a black cowboy hat and a gleaming Texas-size belt buckle, possibly a reference to Green Bay Packers quarter Aaron Rodgers, who has made the "putting on the champion's belt" a signature move after touchdowns.

The Steelers offensive linemen were wearing throwback Michigan State Spartans No. 76 green jerseys, which NFL Network hosts surmised was in honor of Steelers lineman Flozell Adams, formerly No. 76 who was a longtime Cowboys starter until his release after the 2009 season.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was one of the first players off the plane and was taking cellphone video of the arrival, as was the player behind him, bushy-bearded defensive end Brett Keisel. Backup quarterback Charlie Batch was taking in the scene with a camcorder.

Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey was shown by NFL Network cameras on crutches and rode a golf cart to the buses. There are media outlets that are reporting Pouncey will not play in the Super Bowl because of an ankle sprain and possible broken bone.

The Steelers are scheduled to have a news conference with coach Mike Tomlin and some players at 1:30 p.m. today. NFL Network and ESPN are scheduled to have coverage.

The Green Bay Packers are scheduled to arrive at D/FW at around 3:30 p.m. The Packers are staying at the Omni Mandalay at Las Colinas.

Pittsburgh will practice at TCU, which has the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility if that is needed. The Packers will practice at SMU or use Highland Park High School's indoor facility, should that be needed.

-- Vince Langford

Worst-case weather scenario may be looming for Super Bowl planners

Transportation writer Gordon Dickson has the latest on Tuesday's forecast, which appears to be getting worse by the minute. As he says, a moment of truth may be arriving for Super Bowl planners who promised they could handle any winter storms during the big week.

So far, though, the forecast is expected to be considerably better by Friday afternoon and into Super Bowl weekend. Here's the latest info from the National Weather Service Fort Worth's discussion board:


Dallas columnist blames Arlington for 'limp North Texas' Super Bowl designation

Wow, interesting column by Steve Blow of The Dallas Morning News.

"I blame Arlington for this.

What a bunch of whiners they have been just because they don't get equal billing with Dallas in every mention of the Dallas Cowboys.

Announcers get berated if they don't repeatedly refer to Arlington as the stadium site.

So to appease everyone, I suppose, we end up with this limp "North Texas" name for our first Super Bowl.

Not sure where to begin. I'll just say this:

The Super Bowl Host Committee has said from the beginning that regional cooperation was the goal.

They recognized that Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, etc., all had important roles to play in such a large endeavor.  Super Bowl Football

The "North Texas" description has nothing to do with any "whining" from Arlington. (And, yes, I acknowledge that Arlington can be a bit too touchy about the stadium's location. But that's not the point.)

Just like last year, when the Super Bowl was played in "South Florida," the NFL has begun to recognize that the game has grown so big that multiple communities need to be part of a hosting effort.

Just wanted to set the facts straight. Hope that doesn't sound like whining.

-- Kathy Vetter, editor (and Arlington resident)

(Photo of the NFL Experience, which is in Dallas, by The Associated Press)

Yum Yum truck, banished for Super Bowl, returns to downtown Fort Worth

The ever-popular Yum Yum Food Truck, temporarily banished from downtown Fort Worth as part of the city's "vendor sweep" before Super Bowl week, returned Monday morning. 

Yum Yum 1o (Photo by Ben Noey Jr. / Star-Telegram)