Super Bowl: NFL Star Calais Campbell Reporting From the Big Game for The Hollywood Reporter
If you aren't lucky enough to be playing in the Super Bowl, the next best thing for an NFL player is to be there as a fan!
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell is acting as The Hollywood Reporter's eye on the ground at Super Bowl XLVIII, sharing all the excitement of the biggest day in sport.
"I am so excited, it is a good time. It is great to be here!" Campbell tells THR in a call from New York City.
"It is really good to come to New York and do all the festivities. It is fun to be around all the people; it’s like a reunion because you see all the guys that you’ve played with back in the day. It’s a good time to meet up with old friends," reveals the former University of Miami star.
"I am giving tickets to my brother and sister who are huge Broncos fans and grew up in Denver. I’m not so much of a Broncos fan anymore because once you play against them you kind of lose it!" he adds.
When asked who he thinks is going to win, the 6'8" DE reveals that he thinks his hometown is going to take home the rings.
"I think the Broncos are going to win but it’s going to be a close game. It is going to be a high-scoring game and it is going to be a good one."
Tips for rookie football fans to look out for?
"A key factor is going to be Denver’s defense, if they can shut down Marshawn Lynch from running the ball and control Russell Wilson in the pocket, then I think they will win the game pretty easily.
"Personally I wish I was playing! These are two of the best teams in the game and you have to respect that. It is exciting to see Peyton play too; his legacy has always been that it is hard for him to play in the cold. So it is good to see the young guys coming up with Russell Wilson being on the big stage, and the older guys like Peyton Manning solidifying his legacy."
Having done the media rounds for the past few days, Campbell has soaked up all the atmosphere of the Big Apple.
"The energy in New York this week is amazing! There are so many people here, so many fans -- when you walk down the street, everyone is just in football gear having a good time. All the TV stations are doing interviews on Broadway, so its really cool to see all the festivities, it's awesome.
"It is interesting to be here as a player because people get so excited to see you -- it is nice job to have but they forget that we’re just normal people. It is still fun to get that; I don’t [normally] feel like a celebrity, but you really do here when you get that kind of reaction from fans. That’s one of the cool things about Super Bowl weekend, especially in New York.
"I've bumped into a lot of teammates and a lot of ex-teammates who I played college ball with. It is kind of like a fraternity.
"Any time you see players that you go against all the time it's funny, because most of the time they want to talk about how they beat you or you beat them. There's definitely still a rivalry, but most of the time that stays on the field and once you're off it is all a good time and lots of jokes."
Of course, with the glamour of the Super Bowl comes the nonstop parties, and Campbell has been to some of the best this weekend!
"The parties have been a blast. The big one last night was the Maxim party, and the ESPN party was a very cool time -- a lot of good performers."
As for the weather, it has not been as cold as expected -- but is still a lot chillier than Arizona where he is used to playing.
"I have tried to stay indoors as much as I can. At the beginning of the week it was a lot colder; now it is warming up or I've gotten used to it, one of the two, so its not so bad!
Campbell's final prediction for the game:
"Seattle is a rival so it is hard to cheer for them, all my family is from Denver so I'm going to root for them."
But he's already looking forward to next year, when the big game comes to Arizona, "and I hope to be playing in it!"