The NFL Experience Lands In New Orleans
On Wednesday, the The Super Bowl 47 NFL Experience opened to fans at the Morial Convention Center. Featuring a mind-boggling amount of merchandise, GMC automobiles, and chances to exercise your crazed fandom, the 850,000-square-foot fan fest is a feast for the eyes and a strain on the muscles.
Seriously though, I think I messed up my ankle trying to run a 40-yard dash against a fifth-grader, but I did kick a sad field goal at the kicking exhibit. It was good.
Tickets run $25 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under, so it's not such a bad deal for families. It's worth the price of admission.
The event is a major component of the Super Bowl apparatus that comes to every host city. There are punt, pass, and kick challenges, retired players signing autographs, Hall Of Fame busts, and you can even get an up close look at the Vince Lombardi Trophy, inside a guarded display case. It was literally paraded in on Wednesday afternoon by a local high school marching band, and New Orleans Saints mascot Sir Saint
The NFL opened up a giant fan store on one of the Experience for folks to plunk down cash on Ravens and 49ers gear, jerseys, hats, commemorative footballs, and they even had room for merch from all the other teams in the league.
Star players from each team were represented at a locker room exhibit, with J.J. Watt's locker display featuring game-used cleats and pads, and a bunch of Gatorade products. He'll be here on Friday with the sports drink company for some press. Andrew Luck's locker had two bottle of Head & Shoulders in it. Weirdo.
Especially cool for older fans was the sports memorabilia auctions and mini expo going on in tandem, presented by the Topps sports card people. Fans can bid on high-end collectibles, like Bear Bryant's sports coat and game-worn Joe Namath gear, plus what looked like a Gene Simmons Kiss mask signed by the band.
With New Orleans being the host city, nearly everyone was in Saints gear, and Drew Brees was one hall over in the media center doing live TV. It was a decidedly "Who Dat?" experience on Wednesday, and their cheerleaders aren't too shabby either.