I used to be the biggest sports fan. I gave it up a couple of years ago to divert my funds and fun to something more satisfying. Of course, right after I do that, my city hosts the College Football National Championship, the MLS All-Star game and Championship Cup, and our team wins the Cup. Now, the Super Bowl descends on Atlanta.
I look out my living room window and see Peachtree Street closed from 5th Street to North Ave.
I see Pepsi billboards and signage in the shadow of Coca-Cola headquarters and the World of Coke museum. Hyundai signage right in front of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. From a professional perspective, it’s a marketing juxtaposition.
The city of Atlanta and our nearly 6 million residents feared the worst — impending threats of winter weather and the government shutdown affecting traffic at the world’s busiest airport with TSA and FAA shortages — right in time for hundreds of thousands of fans, celebrities and VIPs to descend on our vibrant city. Jokes about a repeat Ice Jam or Snowpocalypse, bridge collapse and escapee livestock are running rampant. Memes were created and the City of Atlanta spoof Facebook account rejoiced in the opportunities.
Now let’s add in the factor that I am very disgruntled New Orleans Saints fan. Yes, I gave up sports, but I can’t give up being a fan. They can take me out of New Orleans and the University of Georgia, but I will always be a Saint and a Dawg. Admittedly, the Who Dats were looking forward to taking over our NFC South rival’s city and stadium. Winning a championship in enemy territory is rare. I guess we can settle for a repeat victory in Miami next year, or winning one on our homefield in 2024? In the meantime, I’ll settle for laughing at the billboards appearing around Atlanta.
So far, all is calm… but it’s just Saturday. At least the weather is cooperating, so far. Let’s wait and see what happens Super Bowl Sunday.