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Meet Spike and the Governor

So it's day one, and I've already covered the media mohawks and Host Committee mascots.

I've spent a long time now asking potentially stupid questions to athletes, but still, I felt a tinge of shame when I asked the governor of Arizona whether she was particularly looking forward to seeing 50 Cent. There are some lines maybe it's better not to cross. Oh well.

Anyhow, some political types just held a press conference to tell everyone how excited they were to have us here, and how the next week would blow our collective minds and leave the purest strain of fun trailing out the back of our collective skulls.

"You're going to be amazed that all you have to do is cross one street and you're going to be in the middle of two and a half million square feet of pure entertainment," Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs said.

"As enjoyable and memorable a stay as you've ever had, anywhere," promised Host Committee Chair Mike Kennedy.

But the most enjoyable part of the press conference was clearly the appearance of Spike, the "Official Team Captain" of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, also known as a giant stuffed football mascot with genuine eyeblack stripes.

"Our newest born is almost a year old," Kennedy said as he introduced the brown oblong mass with twig arms and thumbes that just can't stop pointing upward. " Would you all welcome Spike? Spike needs reinforcement," he added, calling for applause as Spike flexed his arms and raised them in triumph and flashed his trademark thumbs-up.

Spike, we were then told, has made 41 stops around the state, traveled 5,000 miles, reached up to 160,000 folks, attracted a crew of 8,000 volunteers.

"Spike has earned his or her keep," Kennedy said, "we're never quite sure," as Spike feigned laughter, which I'd imagine isn't all that easy when you're a giant plush football.

(And since you're wondering, here's the transcript of my interview with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano:

Are there any celebrities you're kind of looking forward to meeting here?

You know, I haven't really thought about it all that much. We welcome everybody to our town and to our city and hope they have a great time.

Fitty Cent, no? Fifty cent. 50 cent? You know, the rapper?

Uh, no, I hadn't written that one down.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 28, 2008; 4:59 PM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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