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|| News Item: Posted 2007-02-27

Covering the Super Bowl, Indy Style
By Robert Scheer, The Indianapolis Star

Photo by Robert Scheer / The Indianapolis Star

Photo by Robert Scheer / The Indianapolis Star

A photo collage showing the chaos of Media Day.

After the Colts' meltdown to the Steelers in 2005, nobody on our Colts crew at the Indy Star held our breath when the team limped into the 2006 postseason. But there we were, drinking mojitos on South Beach, and watching the bronzed menagerie strut, jog and skate by, while our Hoosier friends and families kept the electric blankets cranked.

In Indiana, basketball and auto racing are king, but enough people had hopped on the Colts bandwagon to make everyone forget the Pacers' legal woes for a while.

Nine reporters, plus four photographers (me, Matt Kryger, Matt Detrich and Sam Riche) a video editor (Matt Dial), and Mike Fender, our DOP, made the trip, arriving at various times, starting with the Sunday before the game.

At the Indianapolis Star, we like to think that we're built for huge sporting events. Every few years, Indy hosts a Final Four, and we cover gigantic auto races as well as anybody. So, once we got the lay of the land in south Florida and the media shuttle situation figured out, it was down to business.

The main roadblock that we faced early in the week was a large Pelican case carrying much of our video gear, removable hard drives, battery chargers and audio recorders (Marantz), never made it to Miami (thanks UPS).

We did have a rental car, so we drove to Coral Gables to rent a tripod from a sleazy looking place that looked like it would have been right at home in Chatsworth, CA. We managed without the other multimedia gear, talking our editors into hacking a few things out of the budget.

A week after the game, the lost Pelican case arrived back at our offices in Indy, having sat on a loading dock somewhere in Missouri.

Every photographer did have a Macintosh laptop (either G4 or Intel Dual Core), plus we did manage to take arrival of a G5 tower that we did the bulk of our video editing on, incorporating footage from our sole Sony HD camera and Final Cut Pro software.

The daily photo/video budget, very fluid in nature, which Mike Fender described as a moving target, involved about 75 percent coverage of anything relating to the players and coaches, mostly Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy. We split up each press conference, transmitting stills back immediately for the web, and video within a few hours.

Chicago has a larger fan base than Indy does, so all the photographers had to do the "but we can see them on TV," dance with back-in-Indy editors regarding features involving Colts fans partying on South Beach earlier than Super Bowl weekend.

Photo by Robert Scheer / The Indianapolis Star

Photo by Robert Scheer / The Indianapolis Star

Kara Monaco (left) Playboy's 2006 Playmate of the Year, clowns around with Brad Blanks (right) who works for a New York radio station, outside Playboy's Eighth Annual Super Saturday Night.
I know that this would have been fodder for the Bears' locker room, but in November, our editors at the Star started compiling images for a book should the Colts win a world title. Following each game, images would get sent off to a quick-turnaround publisher who ultimately printed 10,000 copies of a hardbound, full color book for us in less than 10 days.

Apart from the pressers, and rubbernecking for anybody wearing Colts blue, several media parties were held. I didn't manage to get to any, save the Canon party (thanks for the rain gear!), but I kept hearing about a mid week media soirée involving free food, free booze, and bikini-clad women playing beach volleyball.

After the 12-plus hour days that everyone had been turning in, game day seemed routine. We'd been hoping for at least three field spots, but ended up with two. The Matts: Kryger and Detrich, were down low, Sam Riche hung out near Scott Strazzante facing the Colts bench up high, while I was in the west end zone, on the second level. Not much, save a Reggie Wayne TD, came my way, but that's the way these things go. The rain looked much worse on television, but it was tough enough to cause Mr. Detrich's cameras (both) to fail simultaneously at the end of the fourth quarter. Thankfully, he did manage to get a few frames fired to capture some fantastic trophy images.

Our multimedia work, and photo galleries, included my red carpet pix from the Playboy Party, and a stop-motion piece on the South Beach scene that I did with still cameras and a tiny Olympus audio recorder. It's called Miamistyle, and can be found on our paper's multimedia page (FYI-our videos won't play on safari):
Be sure to check out Indy-side photographer Danese Kenon's video of Colts fans partying in subfreezing temperatures. Classic.

The trip home to Indy? FUBAR would be a good description, as it was a very long day/days. Word of advice, go home Tuesday, not Monday.

Hope to see you in Arizona!

(Robert Scheer is a staff photographer with the Indianapolis Star. You can view a sampling of Robert's work at his member page:

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