Superbowl Halftime Show

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We were stunned to find that we could still rent a car on Superbowl weekend. We got a little Ford Focus, grabbed our luggage and made our way out to the Hertz shuttle bus.

In my experience with rental cars, I've found that usually the little, cheap cars get rented first. However, at big-shot events like the Superbowl, it is the nice, big cars that get rented first, and the little ones which are chosen last.

I called John to see how he was doing with the box deliveries. 

Success! The first taste! 

He and the other three crewmen, (Mike, Mike and Moses), had successfully negotiated the high-security delivery gate at Miami's Dolphin Stadium. The van, carrying a pallet-full of boxes, had been scrutinized by a 5-million dollar scanning crane (probably using active neutron interrogation). The men had also undergone Homeland Security background checks on site. Past the main checkpoint, they had continued inside, and found a suitable storage place for their ample booty.

It turned out that Dolphin Stadium is a lot like your garage at home. In the bowels of this monumental building, there is a lot of storage space, and so some things, such as surplus fencing and electrical equipment, are quietly piled up into the corners, awaiting a decision as to their fate. Unlike your garage, there is no one person who is in charge of keeping the place organized and free from old piles of crap.

They had one more load of boxes to pick up from UPS, but he and I both knew that the second load would be a piece of cake.

Personally, getting the boxes into the stadium seemed to have the greatest potential for failure. They really weren't supposed to be there.

I congratulated John and told him I would talk to him later at the hotel. 

Our hotel status was not quite as fortuitous as our rental car situation had been. Our hotel was actually outside of the city, 35 miles south of Miami.

We jumped into the task of navigating Miami and made some early mistakes. Luckily Stacy was doing a great job navigating, and got us on the right track almost immediately. We found our way to the slow and steady Highway 1, the South Dixie Highway. We were getting more and more famished, and just as I was sure we would have to eat at the Glistening Lady strip club, we found Tony Roma's. 

The hotel wasn't much further south. We checked in around 11pm and I gave John another call. He sounded exhausted. They had successfully moved the second pallet inside the stadium. They were happy, but completely flat. John let me know that they had been pretty much going since 5am, and that they we would have to meet tomorrow, Saturday morning.

In the morning I met the group. We went over some plans, talked about worst-case scenarios, and reassured one another that we could pull off this stunt.  We got a good look at John's genuine PRESS pass and decided that our current set of three phony badges were probably more risky to use than they were to leave behind. 

This was a little disappointing, knowing that I had wasted a lot of time on them, but we hatched a new plan: I would create a new style of badge that was totally original, so that no one could determine that it didn't look like other badges. We would be members of the Superbowl soda pop sponsor's "Street Team".

The lameness of the "Street Team" name makes me laugh every time. 

I marched across the street to grab a soda from the mini-mart. I used photos of this soda as the background image for our new badges.

As a group, whether we were traveling in the van or sitting around a hotel room, we were continually going over the plan, bringing up possible problems and solutions. It was fun. It was like planning a bank heist, but without breaking any laws. Eating lunch at Applebee's for example, we had to keep our voices down, because if the wrong person overheard the wrong part of our plan, we could have been found out. 

After lunch, we hunted down a high school with some bleachers. This was a brilliant step in John's plan: We needed to practice handing out the lights.

For more than an hour, we drilled on the bleachers at Homestead Senior High School. Three of us would have to distribute almost a hundred boxes, each containing 24 lights, through seven of the best sections of Dolphin Stadium.

The real boxes were already in the stadium, so we practiced with empty ones. We were depending on the spectators in the stadium to take a "Prince Party Pack" from the box which was marked with their seat number, and to pass the box along the row, 

We memorized a short script: "Your complimentary Prince Party Pack. Enjoy the show!"

We came up with some possible audience reactions, and worked to reply as smooth and businesslike as the real soda pop street team might be. In retrospect, this field exercise wasn't so much about practicing the physical motions as building teamwork and our confidence.

We practiced our stair-climbing, our box-stacking and our two-way radio communications. I was really excited, brimming with confidence. This was going to be a lot of fun. 

please continue reading page 4 of the super bowl prank.

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February 12, 2007.
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