Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart addresses questions during media availability at the San Jose Marriott Hotel prior to Super Bowl 50 between the Panthers and Denver Broncos. (Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)
by Curtis Crabtree
SAN FRANCISCO - One of the best things about the Super Bowl experience is that the entire football world converges on the same place at the same time.
It gives you an opportunity to run into many of the people that make Sundays such an entertaining experience throughout the fall each year.
This week has been a slightly different experience for me personally. Because the Seattle Seahawks are not playing on Sunday, I haven't had to cover every move made by one of the participating teams. So it's given me the chance to take in more of the proceedings.
After making the drive from Seattle to San Francisco (with a stop in Portland Monday night), I went to the media opportunities for both the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos on Wednesday.
I sought out some of the players with Seattle connections in some way or another. Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart is from Lacey. Broncos safety Shiloh Keo is from Bothell. Broncos offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus played two seasons with the Seahawks under Pete Carroll.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times wrote a great story on Keo and how he found himself with the Broncos late in the season.
Richard Sherman and Tyler Lockett were both on Radio Row this week. Former Seahawks lineman Chester Pitts was also making the rounds. Atlanta Falcons head coach and former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was also making the rounds on Thursday.
Of course, it was great to run into Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. when they stopped by the Dave "Softy" Mahler show on Thursday.
Griffey had posted a picture on his instagram of his new set of Nike Vapor Pro Combo golf irons sent to him by Nike owner Phil Knight. So being the golf nut I am as well, I asked him if he had a chance to hit the new sticks yet.
He said he's playing golf 12 of the next 14 days in Tampa, Las Vegas and San Francisco, as well as making a 140-hole trip to Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Ah, retirement.
Softy, Kevin Shockey and myself went out to dinner with Mike Holmgren and his wife Kathy on Wednesday night. As we were having dinner, Jim Gray of Westwood One came over with Tom Brady Sr. to introduce him to Holmgren. When you're hanging around Mike Holmgren, everyone wants to say hello.
The Broncos and Panthers wrapped up their media obligations on Thursday morning and now can fully concentrate on the game on Sunday. From covering the Seahawks the last two seasons in the Super Bowl, it's an exhausting experience for the players. There are only so many different ways to answer the same questions. And with two weeks to discuss the matchup, both players and football media alike are more than ready for the game to kickoff by about Wednesday afternoon.
Both teams will conclude their final full practices on Friday afternoon before having one final walkthrough on Saturday. Then the ball flies in the air at 3:30 p.m. from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon.
I've said all week I think the Panthers are the better team and will win the game on Sunday. On Saturday, we'll take one final look at the matchup before kickoff.