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It's more than a game; it's business at the Super Bowl

eBay item of the day

A Seahawks fan who wrote to the NFL complaining about the officiating in Super Bowl XL is now selling the original copy of the "angry" letter he got in response from Steelers chairman Dan Rooney. Bidding, somehow, is up to $355.

TAMPA — Okay, so let me get this straight …

Matt Ryan quarterbacked some impressive drives in his rookie season with the Falcons. Wednesday, he led another, handlers and stylist in tow, pitching Axe hair products in a series of no-huddle interviews.

Ryan was working Radio Row, the cavernous room inside the convention center that serves as home base for the 50-plus radio stations COMING TO YOU LIVE FROM THE SUPER BOWL!!

It's where assorted athletes and celebrities, and their handlers, parade through in the days leading up to the Super Bowl to push their causes and pitch their products, and sometimes you have wonder if there really are that many hours of air time to fill.

"It's the nexus of programming need with promotional opportunity," said sports marketing guru Chris Visser, the "godfather" of the Radio Row concept, which started at Super Bowl XXI with three stations in a hotel lobby. "You can spend four hours in this room and reach millions of sports fans, and there literally is no other opportunity like this."

So they troop in, names big and small.

Wednesday, there were legends such as Franco Harris (and his new Immaculate Collection furniture line), Deacon Jones (Hall of Fame Assistance Fund) and Joe Montana (Sprint). There were current stars such as DeAngelo Williams (FedEx), Brandon Jacobs and Chad Pennington (Gatorade), and Ryan.

And there were some others. There was former NFLer Shannon Sharpe, sharing his Smokin' Hot Guacamole recipe in support of the Hass Avocado Board. There was broadcaster Lesley Visser touting Blimpie sandwiches (and their PR reps seen eating lunch somewhere else). There was retired Desmond Howard, delivering Papa John's Pizza's special kickoff return offer.

There was boxer Floyd Mayweather sparring about his Saturday night party. There was Phillies slugger Ryan Howard pitching Subway, along with the guy from the commercials, Jared Fogle. Rays star Evan Longoria is scheduled today, talking up the Sportys kids video.

Over a couple of days Ryan will do more than 25 radio and TV interviews about now having "girl-approved hair," chosen, spokeswoman Heather Mitchell said, because "he had his game sorted out on the field and we were able to help his game off the field."

Sitting in a makeup chair, having his hands massaged and (of course!) his hair done, Ryan said he has enjoyed all that comes with being a Super Bowl pitchman: "As long as their product is going to get me the girl-approved hair, I'm cool with it."

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Your Super Bowl menu planning can now be complete. Area Dunkin' Donuts today will start selling two new "XLIII" donuts — plain with white icing and red sprinkles, and chocolate with yellow sprinkles.

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For some, today is the highlight of the week — the news conference by halftime entertainer Bruce Springsteen. He is expected to take questions. Two years ago Prince opted instead to sing.

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For many old Steelers this is a week to renew acquaintances. Thomas Everett, a former Steeler, Cowboy and Buc, is hoping it's one of recovery. His Cowboys Super Bowl rings from the '92 and '93 seasons were stolen three years ago, police have no leads and, in an attempt to get them back, he has enlisted the help of Sarasota private investigator Bill Warner (phone, 941-926-1926; email: wbi@comcast.net).

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Was there someone who actually thought it would be a good idea to have both the airport and the downtown I-275 exits under construction this week?

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At the NFL Experience Kids Day, Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer touted the importance of staying active: "When I was young, every day after school, my brothers and sisters and I would go outside and get a ton of exercise and had a great time." Who knew it was so strenuous stacking dollars?

It's more than a game; it's business at the Super Bowl 01/28/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 9:52pm]

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