Greetings to everyone about to experience the Land of 10,000 Lakes and home of Super Bowl LII. I’m a native of Chicago, Illinois born and raised. I moved to the Twin Cities in 1978 to begin my journalism career. I jumped on the Minnesota Vikings and hitched my career to the National Football League.
I have never regretted it.
The NFL has obviously blown past major league baseball as the most popular and highest revenue generating sports league. I’ve covered every Super Bowl game since Super Bowl XV in New Orleans, Louisiana — the Raiders vs. Eagles. What a great city for the Super Bowl — the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, the Super Dome. I’m a Super Bowl expert. This is my 37th Super Bowl and fourth in a cold-weather city.
You might say I’m the host this week for my many national media friends and associates who come to the Twin Cities to work hard and play harder. You are in for quite a treat with so much to do inside and out — ice fishing or skiing anyone?
Visitors can view some of the sites, such as the University of Minnesota, home of the BIG Gophers and 45,000 students on campuses on both sides of the Mississippi River; the newly renovated Minnesota State Capital in St. Paul; Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild Hockey team; the River Center downtown along the Mississippi River.
Paisley Park studio is in the western suburbs, in Chanhassen, the home and studio of the late Prince. On First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis is the newly renovated Target Center, home of the NBA Timberwolves and WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx.
Across the street is world-famous First Avenue, where Prince filmed his the iconic film Purple Rain. First Avenue is the site for hundreds of concerts. Right behind Target Center and up Seventh Street is Target Field, home of the MLB Minnesota Twins.
The Minneapolis Convention Center is where over 100,000 visitors will enjoy the NFL experience. There is the live NFL-themed park with many NFL-themed video games and activities for the entire family. Super Bowl Live, presented by Verizon, is the site of the epic 10-day fan festival, concerts free and open to the public featuring something for everyone.
There are many great restaurants in downtown Minneapolis: historic Murray’s and Manny’s Steakhouses, Monte Carlo, J D Hoyt’s, the Smack Shack for Lobster, and Runyon’s for Buffalo wings on Washington, just to name a few. There is the famous Mall of America, in Bloomington, with the indoor amusement park and four levels of world-class shopping. People come from all over the world just to shop.
The impact of Super Bowl LII on the Minneapolis/St. Paul region could exceed $150 million. There are 120 official events or functions and parties related to the business of the Super Bowl LII. The New England Patriots (15-3) are in their record 10th Super Bowl. Head Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady are in their eighth together. If the Patriots repeat as Super Bowl champions, they can tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for number one with six Super Bowl titles.
The Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) are in their third Super Bowl. They are in a rematch with the Patriots who they met in Super Bowl XXXIX, back in 2004 — Patriots 24, Eagles 21.This time around the Patriots are -5 favorites in Super Bowl LII at U.S Bank Stadium Sunday, February 4.
I have been a columnist and former editor with the Minnesota-Spokesman-Recorder newspaper for 35 years. I hosted former Vikings head coach Dennis Green’s radio show for eight years and started my radio syndicate, the National Programming Network.
Locally, I’m on KMOJ Radio, the People’s Station 89.9 FM and KMOJ fm.com at 8.25am Monday through Friday-WDGY AM-740 Monday and Friday mornings at 9:10 am. I co-host Gameday Gold with Eric Nelson, a one-hour pod-cast aired on GamedayGold.com Saturdays and frequently on WCCO-AM 830.
My website is www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com, where bi-weekly I commentate on sports on the Emmy Award-winning Almanac Fridays on TPT-Twin Cities Public Television.
I was the first sportswriter in history to cover his own son in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida, Arizona vs. Pittsburgh. My son, Larry Jr., is a 14-year veteran and potential future Hall of Famer and the 2016 Co-NFL “Man of the Year.”
See more Fitzgerald Super Bowl analysis on this week’s FitzBeat column.