‘Houston we have landed’

Or more to the point the worlds media have descended in Texas as we build up to Super Bowl LI. And that’s certainly a phrase that’s been heard around the media circles this week.

Our Managing Director Gur Samuel is out in Houston reporting on the Super Bowl for Real Sport 101. We caught up with him in the frenzy of media week to get the inside story.

  • How many journalists would you say are currently in Houston?

Hundreds without a doubt, I was trying to do a count up when I was at Roger Goodell’s press conference but there are certainly a lot here!


  • How media mental was media day?

Crazy would be the best way to describe it. There was media from all over the world and everyone jostling for position to get as close as possible to the more in demand stars. It was pretty intense!

  • What events have you been to?

I haven’t been to many events outside of the media ones (as there are a lot of those too!) but I had a stroll through the exhibits at the NFL Experience and it was pretty impressive seeing everything on display.

  • Which NFL star are you most looking forward to seeing?

I’m lucky that I’ve had access to the Patriots and Falcons before when they’ve come over to play in London so I’ve been able to interview or ask questions of the likes of Tom Brady or Matt Ryan. However one player I was really looking forward to seeing, who I got to see up close on Monday was one of the league’s top defensive players for the past decade Dwight Freeney.

  • What is the craziest question you’ve heard so far?

The craziest question was asked to Dont’a Hightower and he refused to answer it. Well I mean what would you say if someone said ‘What does Tom Brady smell like?’

  • What’s the craziest outfit you’ve seen?

Some might not think it so much as crazy but certainly the best outfit I’ve seen is Kel Mitchell’s (from Kenan & Kel fame) dressed up in his full Good Burger outfit!

One man with a very Good Burger

  • Tell us about the souvenirs and merchandise?

Nothing too crazy or off the wall – well apart from the price for some!

  • What sort of special Super Bowl meals have people created for the event in Houston?

I haven’t had something as yet but I have seen a number of places advertising special Super Bowl burgers. Don’t worry I fully intend to sample one before the big day!

  • Who do you think deserves to be MVP?

This is going to be a tough one this year as there are a few worthy contenders. For me though, in terms of the true sense of ‘valuable’ rather than just output I would say the leadership that Derek Carr has shown in driving forward the Raiders to their first playoff spot in 15 years makes him the one for me. I realise many will disagree though!

  • Who do you think will be MVP?

I think the conventional wisdom is that Matt Ryan is going to win the award, and while I might be picking Carr, you can’t really disagree with Ryan either!

  • Do you think Lady Gaga will experience any wardrobe malfunctions?

After the Janet Jackson debacle in the last Houston hosted Super Bowl I don’t think the NFL would risk another wardrobe malfunction!

Just before Janet had the unfortunate wardrobe malfunction…

  • Who’s your pick to be Super Bowl LI champions?

I have been going back and forth over this one. I really have been torn as to whether it’ll be the Pats or the Falcons as it’s a really close one. Right now I’m saying the Falcons, but I may have changed my mind by Sunday!

  • Who would be your dream interview – current or former player?

That’s a tough one. In terms of players I think I’d say Ronde Barber as he is my all time favourite player. But if I could pick anyone in the sport to interview I would say Bill Walsh. I would love to spend a day picking the brain of arguably the greatest offensive mind in football history.

Ronde Barber