DALLAS – Hey, Steelers and Packers fans, come on down!
This Super Bowl weather is just like it is back home. Freezing rain, sleet, snow. C-c-cold.
One thing's for sure: The show will go on. It's already started. Both teams arrived Monday packing cowboy clothes and video gear.
"I think that all the dreams that you dream about have come true. So, I'm very excited. This is a great moment for me," receiver Donald Driver said, referring to his first Super Bowl trip in his 12th season with Green Bay.
Living in the moment early in Super Bowl week is critical. The Steelers, in their third NFL championship game in six years, not only tell everyone that, they act the part. Even if it means going "True Grit" the way veteran wideout and team leader Hines Ward did, decked out in black cowboy hat, black shirt, Texas-sized belt buckle and jeans.
"I'm in Dallas, Texas," Ward said, smiling as if he'd just won the Super Bowl MVP trophy, something he did in the 2006 game. "I wanted to put on my whole cowboy outfit and enjoy it. No nerves."
That comes later. For now, the Packers and Steelers can get down in Big D, even as the temperatures plummet. Neither team begins practicing before Wednesday, with Tuesday saved for interviews with the mass of international reporters already here to cover the event.
"We are excited about media day," Packers receiver Greg Jennings said. "I myself personally am ready to embrace it. We always, as players, want to get to this point. We want to get to the big game, but at the same time you can over-prepare and focus too much on the game and not embrace the actual experience. But understanding that the game is the ultimate thing and that we want to win, at the same time, I think guys have to embrace the experience so we can take something away from it."
With dozens of fans chanting "Go Pack Go," the Packers witnessed Super Bowl frenzy for the first time in 13 years Monday. Many of the players carried video cameras or aimed their cell phones at the crowd to take pictures before heading to news conferences.
Clay Matthews, the runner-up to Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu for Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Pro linebacker this season, was one of the Packers wearing a cowboy hat. He said it felt like being back home — wait until the mercury really drops — with all the Cheeseheads cheering.
But there will be no straying from the common goal.
"The hardest part is really understanding everything that goes along with it, like the media sessions we have, or being in a different environment," Matthews said. "But we have a good group of professionals, who, despite being young have helped us get to this point to be where we're at. We wouldn't be on this stage if we were immature or didn't understand or had too much pressure on us. We're here.
"Two teams out of 32 have made it here with hard work, dedication and perseverance, and now there's just one game left to determine who's the champion."
While the Packers work toward winning a fourth Super Bowl and the Steelers try to add to their record with a seventh, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and players union executive director DeMaurice Smith met in New York and set a schedule for further negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement. The sides will meet in Dallas on Saturday, just less than a month before the CBA expires.
Don't expect the Packers or Steelers to pay much attention to those talks right now. Or anything tangential to Sunday's big game.
"Answering the questions and doing the media stuff, it's all good for a couple of days, but guys get tired of it after a while and just want to play football," said cornerback Charles Woodson, one of three Packers who have been to a Super Bowl. "That's the feeling for the guys on the team. They finally got on the plane and finally got to Dallas. Guys are just ready to play."