Super Bowl festivities kicked off in Indianapolis this past weekend and the juice generated around the city with the opening of the Super Bowl Village and NFL Experience which includes free concerts and other entertainment every day has been incredible.
And it was only just beginning. By the end of the week this place is going to be bananas.
With the teams and media arriving over the past couple of days it is really starting to feel like there will be actually be a game to go along with the 10-day party downtown. Since hotels require four night stays for Super Bowl weekend, from Thursday night on the insanity will be at a fever pitch.
So the Pacers have to deal with this unique set of circumstances because their office is right in the middle of the madness. The Verizon Stage used for concerts literally backs up to the Fieldhouse at Georgia St. and Pennsylvania Ave. on the east end of the Super Bowl Village.
None of this is to suggest the Pacers are at a disadvantage, but things are different this week. The Pacers will have to handle the distractions and take care of business because try as they might, there is no way to avoid the madness.
I guarantee Frank Vogel will down play the impact and the players will talk about keeping their normal routine for game day, but I'm telling you that it just isn't possible downtown this week. I'm sure most of the players know people coming to town who will be hitting them up if for nothing else than to say, hi. There will be more party invites than they can count and ten times that number of people hoping a player can get them into a certain party. Nothing that is a major problem, but definitely not the norm.
The schedule should help since the Pacers are on the road at Minnesota on Wednesday and then Friday at Dallas. The game at the Fieldhouse on Saturday against the Magic will be a different story, though. I know Orlando thinks they are getting hosed by not being able to fly into Indy on Friday night for their game on Super Bowl Eve, but believe me Stan Van should enjoy the quiet Cincinnati hotel ballroom he'll have to get his team ready to play.
The Pacers have played like a mature team for much of the season and that maturity will need to rise up for the home games this week starting tomorrow against the New Jersey Nets. On the positive side, they can get a boost out of Super Bowl with a strong week considering so much attention is focused on the city. There are tons of media folks in town who will know how the Pacers did in their four games this week.
Plus, the game on Saturday should be filled with a fun crowd using it as an appetizer for the big parties in town later that night. Hopefully the Pacers are capping off a great week after the game, as well, then they can really enjoy the festivities with the following two days off at home.