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Super Bowl XLVII: Humpday Notes

Ray Lewis, Refs and Security in Focus as Build Up to Big Game Rolls On



As Super Bowl week wears on, officials and competitors alike are starting to feel the pressure ratcheting up as the Big Game gets closer. As the parties go on, New Orleans is getting closer to its weekend security lockdown, and the NFL officially named the game's referees, bringing back accusations that the league cheated them to the top.

 

While the controversies may be unwelcome reminders of the potential for grim results, we're fine with taking the approach of Ray Lewis, who is "too blessed to be stressed."

 

Lewis Locks Horns

One media swarm of the Ravens' living legend linebacker apparently wasn't enough yesterday, as Lewis held another press conference today. The press had unfinished business with Lewis from Tuesday's media festivities, as the retiring leader skirted addressing reports that surfaced in Sports Illustrated on Tuesday indicating that he may have been taking performance enhancing drugs. According to the report, a company known as Sports With Alternatives to Steroids got a call from Lewis for a substance known as deer antler spray soon after the linebacker injured his triceps earlier this season.

 

Lewis was dismissive of the accusations when asked on Wednesday, calling the accusations "sad," and, later "a joke."

 

"Our world is a very secret society, and we try to protect our world as much as we can. But, when you let cowards come in and do things like that, to try to disturb something," Lewis said. "I’ve said it before, I’ve said a million times - The reason why I am smiling is because it is so funny of a story - because I never, ever, took what he says...whatever I was supposed to."

 

Lewis called the accusations "an attack from the outside," and lamented that the accuser could get "this much attention on a stage this big where dreams are really real."

 

Lewis was asked if he was angry about the accusations.

 

“Me? Never angry. I’m too blessed to be stressed. No, you’re not angry, you can use a different word. You can use the word agitated, because I am here to win the Super Bowl. I am not here to entertain somebody that does not affect that one way or another.

 

When asked if it was a distraction for the Ravens, Lewis gave reporters a taste of what he tells his teammates: "Don’t let people from the outside ever come and disturb what’s inside. That is the trick of the devil. The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy."

 

 

Refs Named Amid Cheating Accusations

In addition to deer, zebras have also been attracting controversy in the run-up to the Big Game. On Wednesday, the league announced that Jerome Boger will lead the crew of referees, joined by Umpire Darrell Jenkins, head linesman Steve Stelljes, line judge Bryan Boston, field judge Craig Wrolstad, side judge Joe Larrew and back judge Dino Paganelli.

 

The NFL evaluates Super Bowl refs based on a rating system, but the NFL was accused of changing the results of some of Boger's work because he is favored by the league. Sources told FootballZebras that eight of Boger's calls were downgraded by the league over the course of the season, but someone reversed the status to allow the nine-year veteran ref.

 

While he may not be the people's ref like Ed Hochuli, the league stood by Boger.

 

“Just like the two competing teams, every member of this officiating crew has had an outstanding season and earned this honor.  We are confident that they will have a great game on Sunday," NFL VP of Officiating Carl Johnson said in a statement.

 

Under the NFL officiating program's evaluation system, the highest-rated eligible officials at each position earn the right to work the Super Bowl. Super Bowl officials must have at least five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments.

 

Super Bowl Security Briefing

Amid the bevy of VIPs in town this week is U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Instead of partying, though, Napolitano is in town to oversee the massive national security effort involved in the Big Game. Napolitano is in her fourth Super Bowl as Secretary. Plus, she hosted one in Arizona when she was governor.

 

The city is on full lockdown, as the Coast Guard is securing waterways, customs agents are checking all cargo into the city and cracking down on counterfeiting. In addition, a no-fly zone will be in place around the city during the game on Sunday, even preventing blimps from getting a view of Da Dome.

 

"I can stand here and tell you without a doubt that this week there is no safer place to be than New Orleans," federal security coordinator Ray Parmer said.

 

NOPD is the lead security agency for the event, and Superintendent Ronal Serpas got a chance to tell the national media that his Department "handles large crowds better than any other police department."

 

State Police head Col. Mike Edmonson reminded everyone that, "In order for Louisiana to be successful, New Orleans needs to be successful."

 

The statement exposes the old tensions between the rest of Louisiana and New Orleans, but that was likely lost on the national media, who just looked a little confused.

 

Fans who felt like the stepped-up the security at the Superdome over the past year was a huge hassle haven't seen anything compared to this game. Simple big stadium items like binoculars are prohibited, and fans will be subject to full metal detector tests. Doors to the stadium open at 1 p.m., ensuring everyone can get in by the time the giant American flag is unfurled.

 

Lombardi Arrives

The Vince Lombardi trophy is back in New Orleans. Although it's not going to the Saints this time, the NFL championship trophy got a hero's welcome at the Morial Convention Center. The St. Aug band played and Saints hero Deuce McAllister was on hand to welcome the icon, adding some pomp to the late-afternoon delivery by FedEx.

 

The Tiffany & Co. trophy depicts a regulation-sized football, and arrived at the Convention Center after completing an 1,100-mile journey from New York City. Extra security and hands were on hand for each transfer, according to the company. While the scrum around the trophy as it arrived was fierce, fans will be able to get a little quality time in at the NFL Experience, which is taking place at the Convention Center through Sunday afternoon's kickoff.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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Michael Weber, B.A.

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Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

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