Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When Detroit Was Super (And Still Is!)

It took some time, but I was able to locate a photo from the night I took field at the Super Bowl.

I'm a little small to be a lineman, my aim may be a bit off to hit a receiver and I might not have the leg to split the uprights - but maybe my pants - but I did have my moment on one of the biggest stages in the world.

For Super Bowl XL, I was part of the halftime crew that assembled the stage for the Rolling Stones. Not only did I get a front row seat for the show, but I was also on assignment
for The Detroit News.

As a reporter for the paper, I chronicled the rehearsals and experience as part of our Super Bowl coverage. It was an unforgettable experience transporting the stage into a packed Ford Field, help assemble the stage and then wait for Stones to perform.

While waiting for Mick to "Start Me Up," I took a moment to look around to soak in the moment and enjoy the moment. After the show, I worked my way into the stands to catch the second half of the game to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Seattle Seahawks.

This was a great moment for the city of Detroit. Despite being a cold-weather host city, the organizing committee embraced the weather and planned events to celebrate winter. The Winter Blast, Super Bowl activities and related events attracted crowds downtown. And those who attended even used public transportation!

(By the way, Super Bowl Boulevard in New York this year looked reminiscent of our festivities.)

After the game I walked down Woodward Ave. and was amazed at the crowds who were celebrating the game, the city and activities. One local television reporter, who is in New York now, asked me "can you believe this?" And another fan was on the phone stating that he was "Detroit's version of Michigan Ave."

This was a great time for the city, but like the fortunes of the Seattle Seahawks, the following years saw some losing seasons. The Seahawks had losing seasons while rebuilding, and Detroit had to deal with the Kilpatrick scandal, automotive bankruptcy and economic downturn challenged the city and region.

But the Seahawks rebuilt, and so did Detroit. The administration changed (full disclosure - I did work in the Bing administration as a press secretary) and brought respectability back to the office, Quicken Loans moved into the city and residences downtown are renting at a premium.

Is it time to throw a parade like they will have in Seattle? Maybe not yet. But Detroit, and the region, are moving the ball forward and driving in the right direction.

About the blog: These are occasional ramblings from the shores of St. Clair Shores. The name of the blog, XACO Communications, is a tribute to my dad's company. He called his import/export business XACO, which I always admired the name, his logo and how he traveled the world for work and to support his family.

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