Earlier this week the NFL announced Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLIII.
Now you can join Bruce and company on the field.
Producers are looking for about 600 "roadies" to help run the stages onto the field and perform other tasks during the pregame show and in the hectic minutes leading up to Bruce's performance. If you've ever seen the buildup to an on-the-field halftime performance, you know it's an insanely hectic 10 minutes, so the NFL and the Boss need all the help they can get.
The details: Volunteers must be at least 18, and no experience is necessary. You can volunteer for the pregame show or the halftime show, but not both. You won't get a ticket to the game, and you'll end up standing in the tunnel during the performance itself — the NFL will post an announcement looking for "fans" to run on the field during the show in the coming weeks — but you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the halftime show. And hey, if you ever meet Springsteen at a bar, this'll make for a good icebreaker.
Log on to superbowlproductions.com to fill out an application form.
ESPN's bash in a vacant lot?
ESPN the Magazine has joined the ranks of the elite Super Bowl party-throwers in recent years, but they've always had a taste for curious venues: a historic church (2005), multiple floors of an empty warehouse (2007), a lawn outside a performing arts center (2008).
They've got another odd venue lined up for the game in Tampa. ESPN the Magazine's NEXT Party for celebs and VIPs will take place Jan. 30 at a parking lot in downtown Tampa — 788 E Whiting St., at the corner of Jefferson and E Whiting, to be precise. That's near Club Underground.
This is an exclusive VIP party, so public admission is likely to be minimal. But there will be a red carpet and a party beneath a big tent.
The party coincides with The Mag's NEXT issue, showcasing up-and-coming players, technology and trends in the sports world. Ludacris and Ciara performed last year, and LL Cool J the year before that. Guests last year included Josh Duhamel, LaDanian Tomlinson and Spike Lee.
Honey Pot gets Madden Bowl
For gamers, it's the real Big Game: The Madden Bowl, the annual competition pitting NFL stars against one another in the latest Madden NFL game.
The 2009 Madden Bowl will be held Jan. 29 at the Honey Pot in Ybor City, according to EA Sports spokesman David Tinson. The finer details are still being worked out (which makes sense, considering players are no doubt focused on trying to reach some other game that week).
At the moment, there is one way to get a ticket to the Madden Bowl. EA is in the midst of a nationwide Madden Challenge tour, in which gamers can compete for a spot in the Madden Challenge finals Jan. 11-14 in the Turks and Caicos Islands. At stake is more than $85,000 in prizes, including a trip to, um, Tampa for the Madden Bowl. The nearest stop of the tour is at 8 a.m. Oct. 12 at the Florida Mall, 8001 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando. Register at maddenchallenge.com.
A Tampa Bay Buccaneer has claimed the Madden Bowl crown four times — Jacquez Green in 2001 and 2002, and Alex Smith in 2006 and 2007. And Reggie Brooks won it as a Redskin in 1995 and 1996 before joining the Bucs.
No Saturday Night special
Earlier this summer, the NFL announced plans for a free "Super Bowl Saturday Night" on the night before the big game at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. It was to be the second annual such event; last year's in Arizona featured fireworks, performances by Counting Crows and Boys Like Girls, and appearances by Jerry O'Connell and Derrick Brooks. More than 30,000 people showed up.
Now it appears the party is off. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has decided to focus its attention elsewhere.
"It was a success last year, but we've got some other events in store that will be fun for people of the area, state and the rest of the country," McCarthy said. "We're focusing on other events, and making those even better. And by the way," he added with a laugh, "there's a game."
The NFL will still hold the NFL Experience during the week leading up to the game, and the Pepsi Smash Concert Series at the Ford Amphitheatre on Jan. 28 and 29.
— Jay Cridlin, Susan Thurston