The outcome of the game was the only thing that kept me from having a complete deja vu AFC Championship week this year. Pretty much everything else was the same.
I headed out of Penn Station for Providence last Monday morning. The train ride was smooth. It was great to see much of the same AFC crew from last year. We were all excited for the week, but a little disappointed we weren't in a new location. No one likes to go to the same place every year, right?
|Our hotel was just across the street from the capitol building.|
We made the best of it though. We all knew what to expect and repeated a few of our favorite restaurants from last year. We got some mid-week treats from the hotel. These amazing cupcakes are from Sweet Indulgence. So good!!
|Last year, I had Pink Champagne - pink one on the bottom row.|
This year, I tried the Apple Pie cupcake. It was a vanilla cake with bits of baked apple inside. The icing was buttercream with cinnamon and sugar mixed in along with a caramel drizzle. DELICIOUS!
The week was pretty uneventful for the most part. We did have a co-worker that got sick enough to need to be hospitalized, but otherwise everything was like clockwork. On Friday night, we had our big staff dinner at Siena in Federal Hill. It was amazing! Lots of delicious appetizers, one of the most amazing dishes of penne alla vodka (with three jumbo shrimp, too!) I have ever tasted, and lemon creme brulee. So yummy!!
We were expecting it to be super cold on game day. And it was. I was dressed like an Eskimo straight out of her igloo, but you better believe I stayed warm!
|About three hours before kickoff...|
My responsibilities on game day revolved around the pre and post game events. It really is hard to explain just how detailed and precise everything involved with these two aspects of the game can become, but essentially we are assisting in the production of a TV show at these times. We are all wearing ear pieces and everyone has their role in getting the right people to the right places within a 15-30 second window. It can be very high stress. This year, I was wrangling the Patriots honorary captains for the pre-game coin toss. Once I finally located them, everything went very smoothly. They were beyond amenable (which is NOT always the case) and very easy going guys. Definitely seemed like classy fellows.
|Matt Light and Kevin Faulk. Photo via Google Images.|
After a successful coin toss excursion which may or may not have put me smack dab in the middle of the New England bench area, I chatted with Matt and Kevin to find out their anticipated location near the end of the game should the Patriots be the victor. We decided to meet up at the 20 on the Pats sideline with five minutes left in the game. With that bit of knowledge, I headed off to the press box area where I watched the game. It was a good one. Back and forth...
|At some point in the third quarter...right before things turned for the Ravens.|
Up until the fourth quarter, I really wasn't sure how it would all end. Around that time some breaks in the game went the Ravens' way and they took about as commanding of a lead as one can take in Foxboro. My colleague and I headed down to the field to secure the honorary captain and owner for what was anticipated to be a Ravens win. We quickly spotted and secured the honorary captain, OJ Brigance. My colleague stayed with him while I tried to round up the owner. Much easier said than done. After searching and inquiring for quite some time, I was directed to the Ravens bench area where I was finally able to put eyes on Mr. Bisciotti. It was my job to make sure he was in the locker room for the post-game trophy presentation within six minutes after the game ended. I had never worked a championship game where the visiting team won so I had no idea what kind of ride I was about to endure. I was communicating with Mr. Bisciotti's security personnel, but neither of us were having too much luck getting him off that field once the final whistle blew.
|I am literally two feet away on the near side of him at this point. Photo via Google Images.|
I can't say I blame him. It was pretty electric out on the field. And of course it is a pretty big deal to be headed to the Super Bowl!! Needless to say, it was stressful for me. He would head toward the locker room and then turn and embrace a player or coach...then head toward the locker room before being pulled away by another player...then head toward the locker room....well, you get the point. At about the one minute to presentation time, I had him headed into the tunnel. I lost him to the insanity happening underneath the stadium with way too many players, coaches, personnel, and media in one congested area, but was pretty certain he made it into the locker room just as I heard the 30 second call come through my ear piece. I was just relieved we weren't still standing on the field!
|Looks like he made it in time! Whew! Photo via Google Images.|
Needless to say, I was exhausted when I got back to the hotel. We had a little post-game celebration of our own before I called it a night. The train ride back to the city on Monday was relaxing, but caused me to miss the Inauguration. That was a bit of a bummer, but at least I was able to get organized and relax before a dinner date with Christopher. Super lovely way to end a crazy week on the road.
Hope you all enjoyed your long weekend!!