Dome sweet dome
Coming face to face with Cowboys Stadium really warmed up our man at the Super Bowl Paul Higham.
By Paul Higham @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 04/02/11 8:39pm
Today I was left speechless for a couple of reasons, one was for finally casting an eye on the Super Bowl stadium, and the other was for the deadly drive to the Arlington feature piece on roads resembling ice rinks.
Now I'm not one for complaining as everyone knows, but this is getting ridiculous now, and there's snow on the way overnight! As the local Fox News anchor told me, this is the biggest sporting week ever for North Texas and it just happens to be the same week as some of their worst weather ever.
I don't like to throw the word 'hero' around too often but even leaving the warmth of the hotel to see the stadium and report back was bordering on the heroic, although I'm starting to think I'm jinxed as not long ago I was submerged at Celtic Manor for the Ryder Cup and now I've brought a rare snowstorm to Texas.
Always a budget-conscious reporter, I've not been put up in the plush Sheraton hotel in downtown Dallas, which by the way also doubles as the media centre, meaning those journos lucky enough to have made it in there have little more than to nip downstairs to access the facilities and hop on media buses to all the events.
Yours truly is ten miles away (the closest I could get within budget) and while this is by no means a long journey, it is a tricky one on foot and now a life-threatening one in the hire car, on roads which I can hardly believe have not been treated in some way and have sheet ice covering them.
Breakfast at my budget digs comes on paper plates, always a sign of quality, and this morning some hardy fans from Florida where shivering around wondering why they had come into this freezer box of a city to see a game they normal host in their much more temperate state.
Dallas is still largely deserted downtown, but fans are starting to emerge from their temporary hibernation, and considering where they come from they will not be phased at all by the weather - unlike the locals who are still in bemusement at what has turned up during their big week.
A steady stream started to turn up at the stadium today, and plenty had been spotted in the various shopping malls around Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington to pick up some of the plethora of merchandise that has been brought out for the occasion.
Whatever the weather, Jerry Jones' magnificent Cowboys Stadium is a wonderful exhibit of a sporting arena, and this week it is every bit as much of an attraction as the game, the teams and the area itself.
The world's largest domed venue did not look at its best with a covering of ice and snow on the roof and surrounding area, and everyone working around the place were wrapped up for the extreme conditions, which are still painfully cold (see pictures of me outside stadium!).
The logistics of holding the Super Bowl are massive, and you can't overstate just what goes into staging an event of this magnitude. Tenting is going up for VIP areas and pre and post game hospitality, the fan plazas and tailgating right outside the stadium itself.
Seeing the stadium really whetted the appetite for Sunday's game, which I'm assured will be played in much warmer conditions indoors in Arlington, both sets of players have had their say on the cold so they will both be pleased to be remaining under cover.
So will I! Turn on any TV here and the game and the weather are the only people are talking about, writing about and discussing, lets just hope we can all start focusing on the action sooner rather than later!