“ I have got to admit that when I heard the Super Bowl was going to be played in Indianapolis, I thought what is that all about,” said Mike Greenberg, of “Mike and Mike in the Morning” ESPN’s popular morning radio show. “I would describe the week in Indy as magnificent and sensational.”
Many Hoosiers will have a lifetime of memories to share after the dust settles on last week’s Super Bowl XLVI. Like many of you, I made multiple trips downtown for a variety of Super Bowl activities including a Thursday lunch with Greenberg. I returned Friday night just to experience the Super Bowl village. On Sunday, I was back as NBC’s guest for hospitality at the Omni hotel, the NBC Super Bowl Pre-Game Party, the NFL Tailgate experience and finally the game.
As great as all of the week’s activities were, my personal highlight was my lunch with Greeny. You see, for over a decade I have started virtually every weekday morning of my life with Greenberg and his partner, Mike Golic.
Greenberg and Golic are the perfect odd couple. Golic is a former NFL football player who starred collegiately at Notre Dame. He is the tough, boisterous and sometimes crude definition of the man’s man. Greenberg, on the other hand, majored in journalism at Northwestern. He spent summers as a kid in the Poconos and takes pride in his Jewish heritage.
Some would say that Greenberg invented the term metrosexual- derived from metropolitan and heterosexual coined in 1994 describing a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who spends a lot of time shopping for his appearance.
Even though I am a former athlete and don’t consider myself exactly a metrosexual, I have always identified with Greenberg. He is an avid over the top fan of his favorite team- the NY Jets. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He can be passionate, brash, opinionated and relentless at times.
And “the Green Man” is an avid golfer who takes pride in the fact that he has lowered his handicap from 24 to 12 in just three years. He credits Danny Tzivanis, his PGA professional Rolling Hills CC in Connecticut for “saving his golfing life.” Golf was the topic that dominated our 90 minute lunch conversation last week. From my standpoint, what’s not to like about Mike Greenberg.
From Greenberg’s point of view, what was not to like about Indianapolis hosting the Super Bowl?
“I thought Indy was terrific. The enthusiasm of the city was infectious, and the natural friendliness of the people really shined through,” said Greenberg. “The best part was the ease and convenience. Everything is so nicely situated it made for the easiest week of the 16 Super Bowls I have covered.”
Greeny also had many great memories of the week, but he openly lamented the cocktail sauce at Indianapolis’ most famous steakhouse. “The first bite is fun, I get that,” mused Greeny. “But, every one after that is absolute torture. It’s too hot to enjoy.”
Each morning during Super Bowl week hundreds of Central Indiana fans showed up to see “Mike and Mike” do their radio show, which also airs on ESPN 2 television.
“Aside from having lunch with my friend Ted Bishop (I had to throw that in), the best part of the week was seeing the crowds that came out to see us live. Huge crowds were there to greet us every morning when we arrived at 5:30 to get started. The excitement of the fans was wonderful,” said Greenberg.
Greenberg showed up for our Noon lunch and he was famished. He purposely bypassed breakfast in anticipation of our meeting at a popular downtown eatery. Greeny ordered a salmon appetizer and upon completion of the first course, in typical Greenberg fashion, he pulled out a small bottle of hand sanitizer. He applied it to his hands and prepared for the entrée. Vintage Greenberg!
The hottest topic of Super Bowl week was the ongoing saga between Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay. Several Colts, including Reggie Wayne and Jeff Saturday, were vocal in their sentiments that the game should be the focus- not Manning. Greenberg had a different perspective.
“I don’t think it overshadowed anything at all. It is not uncommon for a major story to play out during Super Bowl week. I think it adds to the overall interest and once the game is kicked off, no one is thinking of it,” remarked Greenberg.
One of the reasons for our lunch meeting was to settle the score on a wager we had made prior to the start of the NFL season. Greeny took the Jets and I had the Colts. Best regular season record wins a round of golf with two buddies courtesy of the loser. If Greenberg lost, he entertained two of my friends and me at Rolling Hills. If I lost, he got anywhere in the U.S. short of Augusta National GC.
Obviously, I lost and last week’s lunch was the official announcement of Greeny’s course of choice. The round will be played at the famed Oakmont CC near Pittsburgh sometime this summer. His choice is rated among the top 5 in the United States. Oakmont has hosted nine U.S. Opens and number ten will come in 2016. Additionally, the club has hosted three PGA Championships, five U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Women’s Opens. Good choice and I can’t wait to see the 12 handicapper tackle Oakmont!
“If I was any kind of a man, I would give you a mulligan and call off the bet because of Manning’s injury,” laughed Greenberg. “But, I am not.” So, off to Oakmont we go.
I communicated with Greenberg on Sunday morning minutes before he and Golic went on the air for their special Super Bowl show. If you were the NFL Commissioner would you ever consider bringing the Super Bowl back to Indy?
“Absolutely, it was one of the best week’s the league has had in a long time,” he said.
How about Greenberg’s impression of Hoosiers?
“The friendliest collection of people you could ever hope to meet.”
What else can we ask for? Great job Indy. Proud to be a Hoosier.