The big freeze
Media Day's red-hot frenzy helped warm up our Paul Higham as he shivers through his Dallas Diary.
By Paul Higham @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 02/02/11 1:30pm
Super Bowl week has kicked off in earnest; the teams have arrived and have been put through their paces at the famous 'Media Day' at the stadium, but the NFL whirlwind is not the only storm approaching Dallas with an icy blast gripping the country and affecting preparations to a certain degree.
Luckily, Pittsburgh and Green Bay managed to fly out of their respective cities before the snow storm hit, but even upon arriving in the Dallas-Forth Worth area they have been greeted by some snow and plunging temperatures.
I, for one, am not welcoming this turn of meteorological events, having sampled some wonderfully pleasant sunshine en route to Dallas, where even though not warm it could be a lot better than this - remember when this game always used to be staged in Florida?!
Seriously though, this is a sign of things to come for NFL officials, as next year Indianapolis, provided the season goes ahead, will stage another cold Super Bowl before the game heads to New Orleans, and then onto New York in 2014, when the first cold weather outdoor Super Bowl will be held.
Given that the Big Apple currently has temperatures way below freezing with icy rain and borderline blizzard conditions, that perhaps is something to think about.
The early arrivals of Packers and Steelers fans don't seem to be too perturbed by the conditions, but given the weather in both their cities this is still like a sunshine holiday for these two hardy bunches, who will not blink and are used to far worse at Lambeau or Heinz Field.
An early decision to close the roof for the Super Bowl now looks an excellent one, and the weather will at least not affect the big game itself, but it has forced the teams to retreat indoors to practise. Pittsburgh are using the facilities at their TCU camp, while the Packers are at Highland Park High School - where none other than Lions quarterback Matt Stafford started out.
The fans and outdoor events surrounding Super Bowl week may be the worst affected should the cold snap worsen, and both are being advised to travel after Wednesday when the worst of the storm should have passed - but weather will in no way stop the Cheeseheads and Terrible Towels from flooding into Dallas and Fort Worth.
With the two teams being based in different cities, the events are stretched far and wide but I'll be doing my level best to brave the cold and get to some of the best ones and bring back the usual fans' flavour of the Super Bowl.
Media Day was just the start, and it will be interesting to see how the inexperienced Packers handle the continuing attention throughout the week, while most of the Steelers roster dealt with it all only two years ago and for some it will be a third experience of the big game.
Troy Polamalu struck an early blow for Pittsburgh as he beat Green Bay's Clay Matthews to the Defensive Player of the Year award, in a real battle of two not only superb defenders but also two of the most flamboyant hairstyles in the NFL - the jury is still out on who has the best barnet!
There are a staggering 5,082 accredited media in Texas this week, this is no doubt helped by the increased capacity of Cowboys Stadium, which is expected to hold a record 105,000 for Sunday's game.
Apparently though, this total will include around 5,000 people who are so desperate to be involved they will pay $200 to watch on huge TV screens from a special fans' zone just outside the stadium in Arlington, which is situated in between Dallas and Forth Worth.
The previous record was 103,985 set at the Rose Bowl in 1980, when Pittsburgh beat the LA Rams, so again the Steelers are making more history - you just can't keep them out of the record books!
So then, there's plenty to look out for this week, how the players handle the media, how the media handles the vastness of Texas, and how the fans handle the biting cold that is engulfing the area.
Of the multitude of press conferences, few will be as eagerly anticipated as those of commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith, who have both been at a bargaining session in Dallas already.
With talks over a new CBA still at loggerheads, we all want a deal to be sorted out so we know a 2011 season will take place. Making an announcement on that during Super Bowl week would give everyone a huge lift, so let's hope for good news!
One thing is for sure, it would certainly go some way to warming us all up as we battle through the Texas cold!