This columnist fumbled Detroit, Super Bowl story

February 02, 2005|By SUSAN REIMER

WOW. IS MY face red?

In a column in yesterday's newspaper, I reminisced about covering Super Bowl XVI in the bitter cold of a Detroit January.

I told readers to expect to hear some belly-aching out of Jacksonville, Fla., this week as soon as the sporting press realized that they were closer to Georgia than they were to the Florida Keys. But whatever the weather this Super Bowl week, I wrote that it would not be as tough as it was in Detroit in 1982.

That year, a city decimated by unemployment in a declining auto industry tried to put a frozen smile on the faces of football fans by creating a Bourbon Street North in abandoned store fronts in the once-bustling town of Pontiac. It was supposed to be New Orleans, over ice.

I confidently predicted that the National Football League would not make that mistake again.

I woke up yesterday morning to a chorus of smarter sports fans than me, all of whom pointed out that not only is the NFL returning to Detroit -- the Super Bowl will be there next year.

(A number of fans also confidently predicted that the Ravens would be there, too.)

What a dummy.

For a journalist, a mistake like this is the moral equivalent of forgetting to pick up your child at school.

My son, who has a picture of former Steelers coach Chuck Noll where one of his mother should be, is going to lord this one over me for years.

My husband, who covers the National Football League and who happens to be in Jacksonville right now (wearing a hat and gloves), will be too embarrassed to take me along to sports department parties. Of course, he knew next year's Super Bowl is scheduled for Detroit.

"Hey, Detroit's cool with me, no pun intended," he said.

My 3-year-old nephew, who is still chanting, "Here we go Schreelers, here we go," probably knows the Super Bowl will be held in Detroit next year.

Certainly plenty of readers do.

"It is not exactly a secret that next year the Super Bowl will be in Detroit," said Bill Hilton, in an e-mail. "If you need someone to do what used to be known as proofreading, please contact me."

There is no excuse for the mistake. After 14 years covering sports I know very well that, like Olympic venues, Super Bowl cities are selected years in advance. I shoulda looked it up.

What was I thinking? Where was my head?

For the past 20 years, the teams and venues that have mattered most to me are the ones where my children played their sports.

If either of them were scheduled to play in Detroit, I'd know it.

But I didn't know the Super Bowl is returning to the Motor City, to play in its beautiful, new downtown stadium, Ford Field. Forgive me, Detroit, I've done you wrong.

That's why my face is red.

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