Failing Economy Noticeable in Tampa

Chris Russo is one of the few mainstays in Tampa. (Joe Pietaro/NYSD)
Chris Russo is one of the few mainstays in Tampa. (Joe Pietaro/NYSD)

TAMPA, FL – Just like Superman’s one weakness, kryptonite, the financial situation has obviously affected the NFL. For anyone who has attended the game – and the week leading up to it – in the past, there is something definitely missing this year in Tampa.

Excuses? Let’s start with the non-juicy match-up of Arizona and Pittsburgh. Would things be different if, let’s say, Philadelphia or Dallas were representing the NFC? Maybe, but as of Friday afternoon, the game wasn’t even sold out yet. That is unfathomable in this day and age, but maybe it’s not.

Another reason? Well, the weather has not exactly been Florida-like, with heavy rain Thursday into Friday. But two years ago in Miami there were periods of heavy showers (especially during the game) and a year ago, the Arizona desert was experiencing abnormal low temperatures.

So everything points to the struggling economy. Even the so-called ‘rich’ folks have been scarce. The annual Playboy party is not happening and the familiar faces in the street and Media Center have been in hiding, as well. No Adam Sandler or Frank Caliendo, and as far as the athletes go, no Namath, Shula or Montana, either. The NFL Network’s set in the middle of the room did not have the same line-up of stars waiting for their turn to be interviewed, as did the radio tables, which included Chris “Mad Dog” Russo from Sirius/XM and Michael Kay from ESPN Radio.

No knock on Jim Kelly, Justin Tuck or Joe Theisman, but none of them are “Broadway” Joe.

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