Irsay finally gets chance to talk Super Bowl

MICHAEL MAROT AP Sports Writer Published:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jim Irsay is finally talking about something in addition to Peyton Manning -- the Super Bowl.

After telling reporters Wednesday he could wait until the last moment before deciding whether to pay a $28 million roster bonus to his franchise quarterback, Irsay got a chance to change the subject.

"It's been outstanding in terms of the preparation and the way things have been going," he said. "The central thing, having everything right downtown, is really critical."

Organizers have been so happy with everything from the attendance at the NFL Experience to the unseasonably warm weather that some are already lobbying for a second Super Bowl. On Monday, Mayor Greg Ballard even suggested the city could be put into the NFL's regular rotation of host cities, which could give Indy a chance to host the big game every eight to 10 years.

But, of course, Manning remains the feature attraction in a week his brother's Giants will be playing Indy's most despised rival, the Patriots, for the league title.

Irsay said he would monitor Manning's recovery from Sept. 8 neck surgery over the next month and may wait until the March 8 deadline to decide whether to pay up, redo the contract or risk losing Manning as a free agent.

"Look, anything is possible if the two parties choose to get together," he said when asked about redoing Manning's $90 million contract.

Manning missed the entire season after having his third neck surgery in 19 months.

Irsay's biggest concerns are the obvious ones.

"There's the medical aspect, as to whether he can play at a really high level, and that's the only place he wants to be. Can he drill it in Foxborough, Mass., in 10 degrees, 50 yards, that sort of thing?" Irsay said. "The second issue has always been his health and the risks of going back onto the field. When the Super Bowl ends, he and I will continue to talk about it."

Instead, Irsay would rather talk about football and the rave reviews the city has gotten.

"I think on the face of it, if you looked at Indianapolis, Indiana, and you said would it be a place you'd want to return to, your first reaction would probably be no," Irsay said. "But when everyone leaves after this week, I think they'll be saying that Indianapolis has a special way of handling a big event and they'll want to come back."


SUPER BOWLING IN PARADISE: Charlie Weis has his spot picked out to watch the Super Bowl.

The former Notre Dame coach, who won four Super Bowl rings as an assistant coach for the Patriots and Giants, is heading to Puerto Rico on vacation this weekend.

"I can picture my seat, where I'll be, overlooking the ocean," he said after securing his first recruiting class at Kansas on Wednesday. "Drinking a couple Diet Cokes, maybe an ice water."

Weis got his start in the NFL under Bill Parcells in New York, and won his first Super Bowl ring with the Giants. He later served as offensive coordinator for Bill Belichick from 2000-04, helping the franchise to three Super Bowl victories.

"I have a lot of friends with both organizations," Weis said. "I have a lot of close, personal friends with the Patriots, OK? So I'm just going to watch the game and whatever happens, happens. I'll always be a Patriots fan, but you know, the Giants was my first NFL job."

Weis also grew up in New Jersey rooting for the Giants.

"I always pull for the Mara family, too," he said. "Pulling for the Kraft family and pulling for the Mara family, it's kind of hard to separate the two."


46 FOR CRISMAN: Don Crisman plans to attend the Super Bowl for the 46th time. And why not? He's one of four charter members of the Never Miss a Super Bowl Club.

The 75-year-old from Kennebunk, Maine, made it to Indianapolis for Sunday's game between the New York Giants and his favorite team, the New England Patriots.

"My Patriots this year, of course, I can't miss," he said when asked who he's picking to win.

Crisman had no idea his Super streak would last so long.

"I thought about quitting at 30 (Super Bowls) and then they (the Patriots) got in 31, so I said 'I'll go another 10 years, and here I'm going," Crisman said.

Crisman was among four men who had never missed the Super Bowl that appeared in a Visa commercial last year promoting the credit card company's "Super Bowl Trip for Life" sweepstakes.

Crisman said Robert Cook of Brown Deer, Wis., a Packers fan who was in the commercial, died four days after missing the Super Bowl the Packers won after the 2010 season. His widow, Sarah, is expected to attend this year in his place.

The other surviving members of the club, Larry Jacobean of San Francisco and Tom Henschel, a Steelers fan, plan to join Crisman in Indianapolis.

Jacobean, a 49ers season-ticket holder, nearly got to watch his team match up with the Patriots, but they lost to the Giants in the NFC title game.

"He's kind of depressed that they're not here," Crisman said.


SUPER REF: John Parry is back at the Super Bowl, this time as the referee.

A 12-year veteran in his fifth season as a referee, Parry worked the 2007 championship game as a side judge. He was promoted to referee later that year.

Parry has officiated nine playoff games, including one conference championship. He refereed the Saints-49ers playoff game last month. Parry did not work any games involving the Giants or Patriots this season.

Joining him on Sunday's crew are umpire Carl Paganelli, head linesman Tom Stabile, line judge Gary Arthur, field judge Gary Cavaletto, side judge Laird Hayes, and back judge Tony Steratore.

The replay assistant is Larry Nemmers, a former NFL referee, and the video operator is Lou Nazzaro.

Overall, the crew has 94 years of NFL officiating experience and has worked 69 postseason games.

The highest-rated eligible officials at each position are selected to work the Super Bowl. They must have at least five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments.


AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., and Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis contributed to this report.